It’s been a month since my last post. I’m trying to make sure I blog once a month to help with this soul crushing grief, but you would be surprised how even writing about everything going on drains you, though I do feel better afterwords. Often times when I’m writing what is going on in my mind, both words and tears flow freely, so I really have to be sure I am able to allow both the time they require of me. Some days this is an easier task than others.
In the past month, life has gone on. I have a two and a half month old baby girl, who is growing more and more each day. My eight year old started the third grade. I returned back to work after my maternity leave. Today I celebrate my second wedding anniversary with my husband. All of these things have happened without her. Some days the fact that life goes on and the world keeps spinning make me want to set the world on fire. I want to scream at the top of my lungs, “DON’T YOU KNOW MY MOTHER IS DEAD?! DOESN’T ANYONE CARE THAT SHE’S DEAD?!” Because how in the fuck can everyone else be going on with their lives like this never happened? Death and grief are really just the strangest things. So often I really have to stop and remind myself that my mother is dead. So often I have to remind myself that she wouldn’t want me to be so angry or so sad all the fucking time. So often I just want to go back. Before everything. Just for a little while, just to have a moment to breathe safe air.
I have given up trying to pretend things are peachy and I’m doing just fine, trying to fix everything. I am embracing that life is going to just suck for a little while. My dad’s birthday is in nine days and I’m dreading it almost as much as he is, I’m sure. So much I want to fix his world, make this go away, take away his hurt. It is the absolute worst feeling to be so powerless to help someone you love. The one thing he wants is the one thing no one can give him. Of course, no one seems to be able to give it to me either, so at least we all have each other to commiserate with.
We have figured out that we’re all being visited, which is slightly comforting. She’s leaving us pennies; in a shoe, in my hospital room, while we’re out shopping, on my first day back to work. We also have been visited by black butterflies. My mother notoriously always wore black, like ALWAYS. We all used to tease her about it, she almost never wore anything else. One day while I was visiting my grandparents, we were outside and this huge black butterfly is hovering around. I looked at my grandma and said, “Well if mom were going to be a butterfly, she would surely be a black one.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that this butterfly let me get so close to it I could almost touch it. To this day, we have all seen a black butterfly, including my father as he was driving on the freeway. I have never in my life seen a black butterfly and I believe this is her saying hello.
I finally had a dream about her. It took three months for this to happen. In my dream I was exploring a house I had never been in before, one with lots of rooms. As I open a door, leading to another empty room, I see her standing there. She is younger, how she looked when I was a young child. Her hair is long like it used to be and she is wearing a blue dress, which is quite odd now that I think about it. I see her and suddenly can’t breathe and run over to her and pull her in the tightest hug I can imagine. I just keep saying, “I can’t believe it’s really you, thank God this isn’t a dream,” over and over again, sobbing. She doesn’t speak, just hugs me back, and it’s over as quickly as it came. I wake up to the baby crying and tears on my face and I haven’t had a dream about her since. Here’s the thing though – that dream felt SO real. She felt like her when I hugged her, how I remember hugging her. She is smaller than me and I hunch over to hug her; her shoulders feel like her shoulders, her hands feel like her hands. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say she felt like my mother. I spent twenty-six years hugging this woman, holding her hands. I can recall with vivid details what her arms looked like, her hands, her fingernails. This WAS my mother. I’m taking it as a visit from her, whether it truly is or not. I’m just so glad I got to hug her. I’m just so glad it was her.
I guess my one take away from this whole shitty, earth shattering experience is that this grief, for me, will never go away. I will spend the rest of my life missing my mom, wishing she were here, wishing I could call her on the phone and hear her voice. Acknowledging that this part of my life will always be there is kind of freeing. I feel like so many people spend so much time waiting for this “thing” to be over, but it will never be over. I will never not miss her, and so this will continue as long as I continue. I guess admitting that to myself has allowed me to fully accept this grief as it is, because I’ve truly stopped waiting for it to end. So when I am doing laundry in the basement and all of a sudden find myself literally using the dryer to hold myself up as I cry a months worth of tears, I just allow it to happen and wait for it to be finished with me, instead of trying to fight it so hard. So if you’re reading this and thinking you’re losing it or not doing things that you should be, or feel like you should have moved on from a loss by now, just know that grief has no time limits; it doesn’t expire or suddenly you wake up one day and you don’t feel the affects of this loss. Sometimes the best we can do is just to take it one day at a time and put one foot in front of another.
Until next time..