One Year Later. Mom’s Still Dead.

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Grief. It’s a funny thing. I don’t understand it and I don’t want to, I just wish it would go away. One year and a half later and I still find myself crying mid-day because I can’t call my Mom to remind me that everything is going to be okay. Sure, the impact of losing her has changed — the first year I spent many nights dreaming about her, re-living the events leading up to her death, and wishing that I would awaken and somehow she would be there, here, with me. I cried and prayed that I would awaken and find out that this was all unreal, that she somehow miraculously came back to life! That she is still here, still alive, and still with me. Day after day, I waited, hoped, listened, for her return. Wishful thinking…and emotional exhaustion is all that I have been left with.

Distracting myself has also taken its course. At first, I found comfort going through all of her things, unearthing stuff from the house I grew up in, looking at old pictures and reminiscing on memories. All of these activities somehow made me think that she was still alive, still vibrant, still with me. When those feelings rendered themselves useless, I found myself absorbing my life in work, in love, in alcohol — in anything to stop me from feeling, really feeling, and embracing the reality that she is gone.

One foot wants to live in denial because denial means that my life is still the same and I still have her to fall back on and to make things better. One foot wants to move on, to see a life full and complete without a mother to depend on, to see that I am going to be okay. Welcome to Purgatory. 

The triggers are random and come at me with an unfaltering, intangible, unforgivable force. It’s as simple as a friend complaining about her overbearing mother who won’t stop calling, seeing a bald woman who is obviously going through chemo, hearing a song on the radio, a stupid holiday weekend, not knowing how to clean a wood floor that I would have asked her advice on, a voice in my head that sounds like her. These small, simple things send me into a loop of despair and tears.

There is no way to see it coming, to prepare, to know. It just hits me like a bolt of energy, energy so encompassing I have to stop whatever it was I was doing. It’s unnerving, inevitable, and on some level comforting, for in that moment, I am reminded of what I have lost, and I know that her memory will always live in me. She is never really gone; I am never really without her. Years may go by, feelings may fade, but her memory lives on. Her legacy lives on in us.

As I’m still, STILL! working through the grief of losing her, I am no longer seething with anger at the doctors or the unfairness of the situation, and in its place, I just feel sad. Lost. Scared.

As every sun sets, as every new wrinkle sets in, as every moment of self-pity renders itself useless, as every action or mannerism I find myself displaying that she used to do. For every one of these moments, I am reminded of my Mother. These small occurrences make me crave her, my beautiful Mother, even more. I find some days are really really hard to be without my Mom, others remind me that I was lucky to have her as long as I did, that others are far worse off than I am, than I was. I suppose it may always be this way.

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