It’s been a little over 2 months since Mom passed. That’s my preferred description–as in passed on to the heavenly destination in which every believer hopes. Even now I cannot bring myself to say Mom has died. It’s not only because I believe in eternal life, but because she will live in my memories and in my heart for the rest of my days. Even if my mental faculties fail me the same way they failed Mom, I believe I will always remember her, just as she always remembered her mother.
The first month after her final afternoon, I couldn’t make it through a day without crying. I still can’t talk about her without tearing up. Well meaning friends ask how I’m doing when they see me and I find the tears springing to my eyes, the lump forming in my throat. Once or twice I’ve been able to talk about her with someone. But it has to be on my terms, when I bring it up.
The sorrow swells and abates. As time goes on the swells will become ripples, spreading further apart. I can sense it already, the distancing of the crests, but they are still very much present. One friend who lost her mother several years ago told me the grief would overwhelm her months later at the most inopportune times. I have found that to be true.
Recently I took a necklace of my mother’s to get a repair so I could wear it. The discussion on the repair was an emotionless transaction until I mentioned it had been my mother’s and held a lot of meaning for me. At that point my voice failed, swamped by one of those swells of grief. The jeweler understood and told me how he had taken care of his mother until her death 6 years ago. He still grieved.
One Day at a Time
Within days after Mom’s home going, I cleared out her dresser and closet, bagged her clothes and carted them along with her wheelchair, walker and other equipment to Goodwill. My daughter and I rearranged her bedroom–moving every piece of furniture to a different location. I took down her photos and displayed my own favorites including one of her. I laid down a favorite rug, placed the 2 chairs that had flanked her hospital bed into a conversational arrangement and thus converted the area to a comfortable sitting room.
Those changes made all the difference in the world. The room has become a peaceful retreat rather than the place where my mother suffered. It’s filled with reminders of Mom, but it brings comfort instead of grief. My daughter and I often sit there and chat as we drink a cup of tea. Recently we sat there and took turns reading children’s poetry to one another. Both of us find ourselves drawn to the room we once dreaded entering.
Since Mom’s passing I have struggled with depression. It started during her time in hospice when I felt helpless to halt her decline. Watching her shrink away was nearly unbearable. I prayed and entrusted her to God, but even so, the heaviness lay upon me. It’s different now, but no less debilitating. Some days the best I can do is remind myself it won’t always be this way, that my life still has purpose and meaning. I just don’t know what it is yet.
The inner voice says, Give yourself time, give God time to reveal His will for the next chapter in your life. Let Grief have its full release. Don’t try to put it behind too quickly. Let the healing and restoration come at its own pace. And so, that is what I am trying to do . . . one day at a time.