Grief is a subject a lot of people ignore in hopes it goes away, or don't even acknowledge that life ends with death. My biggest fear was not my own death, but the death of my mom. I'm living through it and it's awful, but many don't want to share openly what happens or how it feels. You know me, I've always been open about myself and this is no different. In fact, I need to talk, it helps me feel like I'm not alone and that if I can help one person even if it's myself, my rambling matters.
You learn a great many things when you are grieving, things that you wish you knew before or that someone had taught you to be on the look out for in advance. It's one thing to say live your life with no regrets and to the fullest, but it's an entirely different situation to live through the death of your mom and keep those concepts in motion.
I've learned a lot about myself, my friends and my family since I lost my mom. I learned that I had a ton more real friends then I thought, especially in the blogger and author communities. The day after my mom died, my apartment was filled with flowers, the funeral home was filled with flowers...all from people I haven't met in person. There were so many flowers that we ended up donating them to the funeral after my mothers as the poor person barely had any. That same week my great uncle passed away, so the remaining flowers went to his funeral. We played it forward. I asked that mom be cremated, so we didn't want to just throw the flowers away. Anyways, I'm digressing. I was really touched by the outpouring from the author and blogger community, you made my days a little lighter. I'm still receiving cards and daily emails asking how I'm doing, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. It's like you haven't forgotten me.
I've noticed a lot of people don't know what to say to me, so they say nothing at all. I'm not broken, just broken hearted. I'm still 85% the same person but I'm in mourning. That doesn't mean I don't want to laugh, or hear about your day. I want some normalcy. It's okay to ask me how I am, just be prepared for the answer cause some days are better then others. What I have noticed most in reading grief books and joining grief communities is we just want to talk, it helps us to talk about our loss and about whatever else is going on in the world with our friends and family.
My biggest thing now is no regrets. I was lucky enough to live with my mother right up until the day I found her, so I spent a ton of time with her. We never ever went anywhere, be it to sleep, a nap or to the store without saying I love you. That has given me so much peace, knowing that before I laid down for my nap I told her I loved her. With sudden death, it's rare you get that chance so that has brought me unbelievable comfort. Not everyone is as lucky, so please always tell your loved ones how much they mean to you never leave anything open that you could regret if they passed. Long life is granted to everyone, you could be joking around in the morning like we were and a few hours later that person is gone forever.
For me, it's been really rough because not only was she my mom, she was my bestfriend and champion. She was helping me though my anxiety and agoraphobia and well now she's not. It was hard for her to understand the full extent of my agoraphobia, never mind my family now. But I'm trying to keep going, I hired a therapist who I see once a week and we've had our sessions outside and went for walks and drives. My neighbour has been my rock and just this past Sunday took me for an almost 3 hour drive that ended with us at my bestfriends house where we all sat outside and chatted. I haven't been to my bestfriends place in a very very long time, so it was a huge thing to be there. And this week, I have slept in my own bed in the apartment alone for two days back to back for the first time since before mom passed. She apparently left me with the legacy of her strength. It's been hard because I am used to always having someone in the apartment to talk too, but there's the phone and online friends to keep me from feeling so alone.
Grief isn't fluid and it doesn't run a straight line, so I journal every single day. I also read every single grief book I can get my hands on, just so I know I'm not crazy because your body does some funky things when you are grieving. I couldn't eat much the first 3 weeks and to be honest I hardly remember anything of the days after my mom passed. I kept it together for the police, firemen and emergency responders by basically turning into a zombie. I was in shock for a good 2 weeks, and no one had told me this was what happens when you have a sudden death. It was a minor miracle when I took a shower, or got out of my pjs.
September hasn't been too bad, I mean its been better then August. I have my days where I cry until I can't believe it's possible to still have anything to cry out. Then I have my days where I cry because I hear Neil Young, Al Greene or Marvin Gaye and it reminds me of her. There's been an entire week that I redid the entire apartment, I tossed out all the old couches and bought new used furniture because it's MY apartment now and there were just way too many memories related to a lot of stuff in this apartment. I've donated stuff to charity, I've boxed stuff up for my sisters and family friends. I tossed out a ton of stuff that just held me back and didn't seem useful to me. I took 30 odd pictures and framed them all of Mom and the family, and hung it in the hallway so I am not confronted by it unless I WANT to see it.
October will be rough, the 11th was moms birthday which is also the week of Thanksgiving, then the 17th is my birthday followed by my oldest sisters on the 21st. But I can't think that far in advance right now, I'm living day to day. I'll worry when it's closer, because I can't handle any more worrying right now.
Grief really is a journey, you learn a lot about yourself. I am stronger then I ever imagined, because my biggest fear was finding my mom dead and I did. What's left to fear? Well, a shit ton of stuff but shut up and let me ignore that for awhile.
I've also gotten closer to family, cousins of moms, my godmother, my sisters and my nieces. One of my nieces told me she was proud of me last week and I cried, because I've never heard that before from my nieces. A lot of us never say I love you when we get off the phone, now it's a constant. I've even gotten closer to my biological father, I think mom would be pleased.
So in my darkest hours, I rely on the fact that mom will help get me through this. She's still around me, and always will be. I just won't hear her voice again or her laugh, or her yelling at me for not cleaning the cat litter. But I've already gotten through a ton of "firsts" without her, as much as it pains me to admit. But she really is still around me, I find pennies EVERYWHERE. And last week I realized there had been a cricket outside my bedroom window since mom passed away. I live in the middle of downtown and have NEVER heard a cricket down here. Then I realized, my nickname as a child was always Kric or Kricket. So mom must have sent me that cricket to let me know shes okay, because when I realized what it was it stopped.
I love you mom and I miss you more then words can say. I will continue to live how you lived, strong, kind and full of dignity. Most of all, I will make you proud. Miss you little buddy, hope you're meeting celebrities and gossiping with all the family that passed before you.