It’s A Process
I thought I was doing fine. As fine as fine goes when your mom has recently died. I’m learning how the grief process is truly a process. I have no experience with this for the most part. It’s new to me and I’m not sure how one can prepare for it, anyway.
I had just finished talking to a friend who’s also recently lost her mom and was saying that I thought I was doing okay, despite the lack of focus and motivation I’ve been experiencing. Then I went and spent a few hours cleaning my dad’s house. Felt good to stir the energy in there, dusting, vacuuming and sweeping. I smudged with white sage and palo santo, opened the windows and just freshened up the space. I thought I was fine. Afterwards I went home and got triggered because I wanted to do something together as a family with my husband and two sons and the kids were resisting it a bit. I ended up freaking out to my husband about my parent shortcomings, how I should do things differently and basically yelled, screamed and cried until the words of what I was feeling filled in the gaps. I made no sense. I felt crazy. My husband stood like a deer in headlights, not knowing how to react to me. My poor kids heard me and ended up crying too. My mom-drama basically blew up the whole house. I didn’t know what to think! It was so out of character. In my own mind I’m like screaming to myself “I dunno why I am upset but if I keep talking maybe the answers will come!”
In trying to mend my freak out with my sons, I said to my oldest “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I ended up hearing myself say “I just miss you and want to spend time with you and you are getting older and are spending more time behind closed doors and I just miss you! Maybe it’s because I was at Pa’s and I miss Nana! I don’t have her to reach to so I’m reaching to you guys and you guys are growing up!” Oh my gosh. Mommy meltdown. I realized then it was the 8 week anniversary of her death. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re feeling until we start reacting and then the expression comes out as a result of it.
Love can hurt so much. In a weird latent expression of feeling my mom’s loss I was struggling with losing my own kids as they are becoming more and more independent. I found myself crying over the heartbreak of motherhood—from both directions. It can all be so deeply painful and wonderful at once. To love so much you ache. To be that raw though is so therapeutic. To love and hug your kids while you both are crying can be so powerful. The last thing we want to do is hurt or damage our poor kids over our own stuff, all we can do is be our best and be honest through the process (…and ask for forgiveness, be real and own your crap when you screw up).
Everyone has their own way of dealing with their grief. It wasn’t that I was numb to it or above it—it’s all just so new and different. How am I to know how to expect I will process it? I haven’t really been through this before, except for losing my grandparents. I’ve never lost a parent before, though. Every now and then it hits you; “My mom died.”
I love all the signs she’s been delivering though, so of course that helps. Pennies, feathers and specific number combinations come very regularly. Songs, scenes in TV shows… so many little things that assure me of her regular presence. That meltdown just goes to show how unpredictable the grief process can be. I cried so much in July in anticipation of her impending death, that by the time she was first gone I hardly cried because I was just so happy for her. I felt weird and as a friend of mine put it “shellshocked”. Kind of just floating through it, witnessing life and not really truly feeling the sadness of her loss, just observing the everyday life around me, detached in a way. Apparently, however, my days of crying are far from over… something about this two-month mark has shifted things for me. I always heard people say that it can come out of nowhere and how it comes in waves. Now I know what they meant. Grief is a process. Really, I’ve kinda just begun.