**WARNING: This is a long ass post… brace yourselves**
I grew up in a small town. My family was an older family, so I began losing people when I was very young. Both my uncle and my aunt died within a year of our family moving to Canada. As a kid I was also in the church choir, therefore, I sang hymns at a lot of funerals in the area. So funerals and death were just a part of life. It came, it went, people mourned, but rarely spoke about their grief.
When my mother lost her mother in 2001, I saw a side of mom that I’d never seen before. She cried, unashamed, unreserved, she didn’t hold anything back from us and she spent so much time telling us stories and memories about my grandmother. She loved us and trusted us so much, she bore her soul. I knew my grandmother better because of my mom. I know that I definitely belong to the Sullivans and the Fishers. But I also learned a lot about my mom after my grandmother passed away. First off, she handled losing her mother with far more grace and strength. Although, thinking back on it, it’s very possible she held it together because we had each other. I am pretty awesome after all. At least Mom thought so 😉
My mom loved to work her hands. She had hobbies to keep her occupied during her first year after Grandma died. You should see the things she created. Cross stitch, needlepoint, quilts, clothes, knitting, crocheting, cooking, gardening, and two pretty fucking fantastic children. Shut up. I’m a delight. Many of her favourite hobbies were ones taught to her by her mother and grandmother. She and I became closer after Murial (my Grandma) passed, as mother and daughter as well as besties. I saw a lot of my grandmother in mom, and I told her so. She’d cry. I’d cry. We’d cry on each other.
I don’t have a daughter yet to grow close with and share stories about my mother. To teach and learn from. Maybe someday. I hope I see in my daughter shades of her grandmother. But what I do have is friends. Friends who love me. Some of you knew her, some of you didn’t. That’s okay. You’re all acquainted with her, because you know me. Many of you have offered to lend an ear any time I am willing to talk. About anything. They’ve let me share stories about my mother, and I think that’s helping. By sharing them, I remember them.
My grief counselor is encouraging me to talk about how I’m feeling, and the things that are going through my head. She feels that it will not only help me come to terms with everything, and start on the road to recovering and managing. She asked me this week about my habits when it comes to reducing the sadness and stress I feel at any given moment. Things I do consciously to make myself feel better, lighter, less dark and consumed. Things I do to take my mind away from how I feel. I was advised to explore some hobbies to help me clear my mind when the nagging voices start all talking at once.
Mom liked to sew. I used to like to sew. I used to be pretty good at it too. For some reason I forgot a lot of what I learned and have to start from scratch, but I’m finding that I’m able to follow Craftsy videos fairly well. I can sew straight lines, most of the time. I’m improving, and I really do find it peaceful. The clunky hum of my sewing machine becomes white noise and I can turn off my brain for a while. Sometimes I turn it too far off and fuck everything up, but hey, that’s called a learning curve. I can make a tote bag in about 2 hours now and with only minor screw ups. *smug* It’s also a way I can quietly stroll down memory lane. It makes me feel even closer to her.
Cooking too, in a way. I love cooking. I always have. I always will. I keep forgetting that. What is wrong with me? *facepalm* I’m going to do some cooking, to find out what I really like to cook, instead of what someone tells me to cook (no offense Chef, love youuuuu). I also remember that I really do like sharing my cooking experiences with my friends, so I’m looking for ways I can bring cooking to you, something we can enjoy together. We’ll see how that goes… I’m open to suggestions.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I was active and healthy. I’ve really let myself go. While it’s going to take some serious work, and I have to take baby steps, at least at first, I am really wanting to be outside more, active, healthy, and eventually… happy. Rome wasn’t built in a day… it took me a long time to get this far off course, it’ll take me a while to get back on track. I’m trying to follow the “if you fall down seven times, get up eight” mantra, I’m very well aware that I am going to fail, probably with some frequency at first. I might as well keep plugging forward… at least then my time won’t be completely wasted.
I’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do over the next few months. I think I spent a long time trying to fit into a mould, and I’ve kind of gotten distorted. I’ve lost sight of some things that mean a lot to me, and I feel like I’ve got to find those things again. I haven’t dealt with the grief that losing my mother brought to me, and it wore me down. This sucks. Plain and simple. This. Fucking. Sucks. I caught a glimpse of myself a short while ago and I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I gave too many fucks. I tried too hard. I cared too much. Fuck it. That’s obviously not working. Back to the drawing board.
This post came about today when I found our that a friend of mine was about to lose her mother, quite suddenly. It brought back the sting of some old wounds, I knew JUST how she felt. Clinging to that hope that it might be a dream, or a test, and that everything would fall back into place and everything would be alright. She said she felt delusional, but she knew… so I told her to just be there. Hold her hand. Get her heart as close as she could to her mother’s… I was able to hold Mom in my arms when she took her last breath. I know that might sound morbid to some people, and well, it just might be. Whatever. I can’t tell you what that did for me, I don’t yet have the vocabulary for such a feeling. When I was finally able to breathe again, I felt like a completely different person. You will never feel as much love as you do at that moment, and I like to think that I can feel my mother’s energy, because it bonded us in a way that can’t ever be broken.
Before I finished this post, I have learned that my friend’s mother has passed. I’m so sorry sweetheart. I truly am sorry. Nothing can be said or done that will take away the pain of knowing that you’ve lost your mother. I’m beginning to think that pain won’t ever really go away. But I’m okay with that. I wasn’t always okay with that, but I am now. You’re going to feel like shit. There’s no way around that. But I can tell you that it will get better. Easier to handle. Just don’t do what I did and bottle it up. Don’t pretend everything is okay. Your world is flipped upside down at the moment. It’s okay to not be okay. Don’t hold anything back. Cry. Scream. Get angry. And see a grief counselor. As soon as you feel able. Don’t wait as long as I did. You’re more social than I am, and that might be your saving grace. Get out there, connect. Don’t hide away.
The next few days are going to be weird for you. There are times you’ll think you just have to be dreaming. You just HAVE to be. You’ll forget things. Simple things. Scatterbrained. Quiet maybe. I recommend Kleenex Cool Touch tissues, they have lotion and coconut oil in them and your face won’t be rubbed raw. Drink water. Eat something. Anything. I don’t care if it’s chocolate or a super-food. Just eat. Be with your family. They’re going to be scatterbrained and zombie-like too. Hold their hands when you can.
I don’t know if anyone reads these blog posts. I guess they’re more for me than anything. I miss you mom.