I wanted to have my words wrapped up in a beautiful bow, but in all honesty, I can barely form words - albeit a whole year since the death of my Mother. I wanted to write an encouraging message of how losing your mom is “something that happens!” and tell anyone reading, “you’ll get through it!" The truth is, losing your mom cuts deep. It leaves you gasping for air, trying to take one step at a time - falling, crashing with every step.
Grief is an exclusive club. It is an isolating place. I’ve never felt not only less like myself but less like a twenty-five year old woman. I’m supposed to be living out the, somewhat selfish, mid-twenties life-going out with friends and making a life for myself. Instead I drove to and from Mayo Clinic, pushed my Mom in a wheelchair, held her hand during blood draws. I wrote a eulogy. I pick up my phone to call her out of habit. I stare at photos of her and wish I had taken more during our short time together.
The emotional weight of grief is heavy and manifests in every form. For weeks I physically felt sore and my memory evaporated. The massive burden I carry is all-encompassing. The only option is to feel it, surrender to it, sit with it. I expected people to rush to my side, offering to feel the grief with me. Instead, I felt overwhelmingly alone and confused. There seems to be a misconception around what actions to take and words to say when a friend is in the throws of grief. It’s an extremely vulnerable space to be in - grieving while trying to act like a functioning adult. This vulnerability becomes more extreme when feeling like the world is walking on eggshells around you. Yet we’re not taught how to respond, we’re not taught that grief is forever and not something to “get through.” The best thing you can do is to draw close and give your most honest self.
I’ve spent a year grieving and I’ve come to wear my grief as a badge. I’m proud of the complex depth of my grief. It stands for the love I shared with my mom. It stands for the relationship we had that will never end. The suffering I’ve gone through without her has carved a deep well of sadness in me, only to be filled up with a deeper joy, a deeper appreciation for relationships. Grief has brought out the best in special people willing to dive into the depths with me. Seeing the love others carry for my mom and the grief they feel in their own ways feels like a mutual testimony to the importance relationships hold. To the best things in life.
My grief will never end, and for that I’m proud. It may become softer and more bearable. It may take up less space in my mind’s eye. My grief is as deep as my love is for my mom. It’s as important as my relationship with her was. There’s a void, a sinking depth of loss in my life that will never ever be filled. Nothing will ever do justice for the loss I have but I’m learning how to live without her. Knowing she’s all around me. She’s in my breath, in my DNA, in the world in front of me and intertwined in the love I share with others. She’s everywhere and nowhere. I’m learning how to live with this void, while watching new things grow around the hole in my life. Isn’t it great that the depth of my grief is so immense. It’s a sign of a mom I loved, a mom I am proud to miss.