I’ve been anticipating this day for weeks. I think I’ve had more anxiety in the moments leading up to it rather than the actual day.
You see, today is the ONE Year Anniversary of my Mother’s passing. This time last year we said our goodbyes, and watched her slip away. Never in my life have I experienced such intense pain, anxiety and numbness in my life.
The struggle has been real.
For months after, I replayed that final week of her life in my mind. The regret and grief was intense. Mostly I was angry with myself. I was completely naive to the fact that she was so close to the end of her life. Even as I watched my mom decline, I truly thought that this couldn’t be it. I wasn’t ready.
Slowly the months passed and life began to brighten again. Not completely, but there were good days, easy days. Some exciting moments were happening for me and my family. While I experienced small bursts of happiness, there was always a perpetual sadness about the moments my Mom was missing out on. I would have traded anything to have her beside our family as we started to move forward with life in the months ahead.
And in those same moments we watched our Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) reach the end of life. Again those waves of guilt came on, but for different reasons. Grandma had a good life, she was 92 years old. I felt as if my Mom had been robbed of her time.
Within 6 months we had lost the two most amazing women in our lives, but the grief I felt for each passing could not compare with the other. Add that to my current roller coaster of emotions.
So answer me this: Why are we not talking?
I am not the first person to suffer a great loss, nor will I be the last. In fact we incur multiple losses throughout our lives and somehow we manage to go on.
So tell me again, WHY ARE WE NOT TALKING?
The stages of grief are excruciating. In the first year the days that I thought would be terrible, were OK, and other days I couldn’t seem to get out of bed.
GRIEF is a roller coaster.
So let me say this to those who have lost; I am sorry I did not understand. I truly did not have the capacity until now to really empathize your journey. I was completely humbled with the number of people that gave their condolences, but what really shocked me were the people who reached out on a whole new level due to their own personal experiences.
People who were just acquaintances, became friends, and friends became….family.
And then there were those who stayed quiet. And I don’t blame you. When you don’t know what to say…well, we’ve all been there.
My Grandfather (My Mom’s Dad) passed suddenly when she was my age. Mom never talked much about him and I wish she did. I’m sure she thought of him as the Grandpa who never got to be, and that broke her heart. I get it.
It breaks my heart thinking about the people around me suffering in silence. Grief is a nasty bitch, and I think we are far to nice to her.
SO LET’S START TALKING
I’ll be the first to say IT IS OK TO ASK FOR HELP. I did. It took awhile, but I did. And while it didn’t fix the pain overnight, it helped me work through some emotions a lot quicker. Whether it is talking to a friend, a professional, or just getting someone to walk the dog on the days you can’t, IT IS OK.
I MISS MY MOM. God, I miss her.
And I know that you miss your person to, whoever that might be. But don’t forget the people that are still here for you. I’m working on that. It’s easy to push people away and get lost down the rabbit hole that is grief. There is light at the top, sometimes it just takes a little longer to get out for some of us.
Some of us prefer to stay silent, while other feel better talking about the people we lost. And some of us just don’t know where to start. Do not be afraid. Acknowledge the struggle. And keep the people you love close.
If you or someone you know is struggling with grief. START HERE.
Sarah – I feel for you and your family. I too, have buried both my Father and later my Mother. My Dad was a year or so younger than your Mom and my Mom was only 7 years older than your Mom.I miss your Mom dearly and she often talked with me about your Grandfather and how he treated your Grandma in making sure she was well provided for and had a new fur coat every 2-3 years. I loved these conversations because your Mom just beamed with pride. She was thankful for all the other people that came along in her Mom’s life because of her loneliness.
Karen, thank you for the memories. Grandma loved those fur coats, and we still have some of them! I don’t think it honestly matters the circumstance, the loss is never easy. I’m so sorry to hear about your parents, I hope you find comfort in the thoughts that they are together and in a happier place. I think it’s important we share our stories. We all lose at some point in our lives. Much love to you.
I had to pause many times while reading this; the tears started coming and they wouldn’t stop. I cry for many reasons: I know how much your Mom and Dad loved each, I see the sadness in your Dad’s eyes – that certain spark is gone, you girls were much too young to lose your Mom – there was so much more she had to share with you. I cry for my own selfish reasons: I didn’t realize today marks a whole year she’s been gone and when I saw you this morning I didn’t give you a comforting hug, and because this brings back a flood of memories from when I lost my Dad. Raw, unbearable pain. A void so huge, so dark that you wonder how you will ever survive. Moments of unbelievably reality that he is gone – forever! Never again will I hear his gentle voice. Never again will I enjoy his familiar scent. Never again will I feel his comforting hug. Never. Never is grossly final when you lose someone who means so much to you. Never gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that is so deep that you feel yourself sucked into it’s black hole of infinity. It hurts so f#$king much! Then out-of-the-blue one day when a memory pops up in my mind and rather than bursting into tears, a smile curls a corner of my mouth upward – ever so slightly. Then the time I cry myself to sleep. But after a while the memories make the smiles become wider, and the smiles are more frequent than the tears. After 11 years I still have those dark moments of unbearable loss, but they are fewer and farther between. I’m a talker so I talk about my Dad, my knight in shining armour, my first true love. I share stories about him to anyone who will listen. I tell my nieces, who were so young when he passed, everything I possibly can about their Grandpa. Daddy’s spirit lives on. I know this because sometimes I sense his presence in the room or I catch a whiff of his cologne, and when I’m struggling I feel his hand on my shoulder telling me to press on. Press on dear Sara. Your Moma is right beside you ❤️❤️❤️
Marla, your words are absolutely beautiful. I realized that some of us are talkers, and some of us are not. And that is ok. As long as we talk when the moments are needed, and silent when it is right. I resonate with you on those moments that make your lips curl into a smile. Those are the best moments, and the greatest thing is that no one knows they are happening except for you. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I know he is watching over you, because I feel those moments with my Mom. Hopefully there are more of those moments to come. Lots of love in your journey.
Oh Sarah. I just want to hug you right now. I know. That first year after my Dad died was tough but I felt I had to be strong for Mom, my siblings, my children, especially Kathy because Dad passed on her birthday. Year 2 I allowed myself to grieve. Year 2 sucked!! And you’re right, it would have been so much easier to talk to someone. Anyone. That person crying on the side of the road looking at a wheat field was me. The woman crying outside the Community Centre (a special place for Dad) was me. The basket case in the grocery store was me. Most days are good now and you will have and have had good days too, but there are still days that the loss takes your breath away. And that’s okay. Especially today.
Wendy. You are the second person to say year two is harder! I’m anticipating many more hard days of course. I feel for you and your family. Even years later, I’m sure it still aches. Much love.