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Posts Tagged ‘mourning’

Someday I’ll wish upon a star and
wake up where the clouds are far behind me ~~~ E.Y. Harburg

Step 1

Stay away, no… come closer.

I can’t decide.

I’ll wake up soon,

The world will be still,

I’ll breathe again.

Step 2

Left out here on my own,

To piss off the world.

I’d love to throw these stones,

But they’ll come hurling back,

Bruising me deeper with each collision.

Step 3

I’ll take the blame,

Whatever you need.

No more words drowning out the music,

No more impulses that can’t be controlled,

Just… stay.

Step 4

Just leave, go away,

I should always be alone.

The waves are so high,

They’ll crash on me soon,

Over and over and over.

Step 5 

It’s not brave to accept the inevitable,

There’s nothing poetic in letting go.

Giving up isn’t acceptance,

Caving in isn’t relief,

I’m not so… delicate. 

…  and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. ~~~ E.Y. Harburg

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This is one of those posts… I hesitate, I pause, I take a breath.

What should I say?

What can I possibly say?

Why should I say it?

Two years have passed since my mother died from cancer. Two years that I looked at her bedroom and bathroom daily, knowing she would never walk those floors again. Two years since I started sifting through her belongings, deciding what to keep and what to toss and what to give away. Two years filled with new adventures and broken hearts and losses and finds and blogs and poems and learning to feel and learning to pause and learning… two years of learning. And still… here I am, lost in the depths of my own thoughts. Numb. Disengaged. Trying to breathe.

Last year, I seemed to be able to write exactly what I wanted to write about the anniversary. This year, I’m not sure about my words.

There is no time limit for grief, that’s a well established fact.

I sat down to write about my grandmother and how she talked with tears in her eyes about her father until she passed away at the age of 87, seems she grieved his death until her death made it impossible to grieve any longer.

I sat down to write about how my best friend and I can reminisce about our friend who died 23 years ago and we still get tears in our eyes thinking of her laugh and how she sang so off-key it hurt.

I sat down to write about the three dogs I have loved at various points in my life and who have died and how the absence of each leaves me wishing to hear their bark one more time.

I sat down to write about my father and how he was this gentle and kind man whose illness and death left us all drained and has surely still affected those of us who loved him.

I sat down to write about my mother whose battle with cancer was swift and fierce and untimely — her death was too soon.

There is no time limit for grief.

I sat down to write about how I’ve been left in an emotional well — digging and clawing my way, with my hand stretched out as far as I can manage, always reaching for the light that seems to be trickling in over the sides of the darkness.

But I don’t know what to write.

I have no words to describe loss.

I have no words to describe cancer.

I have no words to describe empty.

How do you describe empty?

How do you describe numb?

I have no words to describe a feeling that I’m not sure even exists — do I liken it to a color? If so, what color describes messy? What adjective describes vacant?

Two years since my mother passed away.

Two years of reaching out and pulling back and being stuck and moving on and begging and hating and loving and forgiving and wishing and mending… two years of learning to put all the pieces together. Two years of hoping I had all the pieces I need.

It’s been two years since my mother died. Three years since my father died. Fourteen years since my grandmother died. Six months since I acted completely irrationally…

One minute since I hugged my youngest daughter. Ten minutes since I laughed with my son. Five minutes since my oldest daughter asked me for fashion advice. One day since I read an amazing book. A few hours since I contemplated booking the vacation I’ve dreamt of for years. Two days since I emailed my best friend — one second since I smiled.

Maybe I am learning. Maybe I do have all the pieces. Maybe sadness and mourning and grief are just pieces to this puzzle. Maybe they are just a part of what makes me whole. Maybe denying their existence is like denying a piece of the puzzle that is me. Maybe.

It’s been a while since I gave you a visual — I love visuals.

I am completely in love with everything Jen Lemen has to offer. Check out her etsy shop and her amazing web page.

My son walked into my room and put one of his ear buds in my ear and had one in his ear, he said “mom, you have to listen to this song.”  I think sharing ear buds is a perfect way to be present in a moment with someone. Let’s pretend we’re sharing ear buds… you have to listen to this song.

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Next Wednesday, March 31st, will mark the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I’ve thought about it a lot these past couple of weeks. I’ve thought about the mourning process and how long it lasts and what exactly it is — really. I think mourning is different from grieving — I have my own thoughts on grieving. But mourning, it’s different… I think mourning might, at some point, settle in to relief.

I had a great-aunt, Aunt Dot. I loved her, we all did. She was crude and funny and bossy and rough around the edges and caring and nosey — she was wonderful. Long before I was born, she was badly injured in a car wreck. It left her paralyzed from the hips down. Her husband worshipped her — worshipped her. He lifted her in and out of her wheelchair and in and out of the bed. He drove her everywhere. He put her leg braces on her and propped her at the sink so she could do dishes or cook. He cleaned. He cooked. He did everything for her — he worshipped her. When she passed away, I remember my uncle and the lost look in his eyes. I remember seeing him get into the car at the funeral home as we all were leaving to go to the cemetary — he collapsed in the back seat. He was inconsolable. He had lived his life for her — and now she was gone.

A few months later, he took a trip. It was the first time he had been away from his home in about 30 years. I would never have asked him if the feeling he had was relief — but I’m sure that’s what he was experiencing.

I think when you go through a health struggle with a loved one — cancer, injury, prolonged illness — and then they pass away, the mourning period looks different. I think at some point you have to admit that the feeling you have is relief. It’s a little scary — relief. It’s hard to get a handle on it.

We battled cancer with my father for 2 years from diagnosis until he died. Six weeks later my mother was diagnosed with cancer — in between my father’s death and my mothers diagnosis, my oldest sister’s husband died from colon cancer. Cancer sucks. That month and a half was so not a good time in my world. We battled cancer for 14 months with my mother from diagnosis until she died. Thirty-eight months straight of a long hard battle for my father and my mother — that I lost. It took its toll.

I wrote some things for my mother’s funeral that I had her minister read (I was, of course, unable to speak). One of the things I mentioned was how I felt like I hadn’t had a chance to mourn my father’s death because the battle never ceased long enough to breathe — 38 months.

So, I mourned — for both of them — when my mother died. But then the mourning gave way to relief. And the relief gave way to guilt. The guilt is leaving — slowly.

So, next week will be the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing. I’ll wait to see what the day will bring. I’ll let you know.

And now, enjoy this song by Anthony Skinner. We were fortunate to have Anthony and his wife sing this song at my father’s funeral.

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