In my life, there is only before I lost my Mom, and after. That is how everything is categorized in my head. Whether it is an old photo, or passing a sign to a turn off on the highway. Nothing crosses my mind without me thinking of her. Thinking about how there are so many things we still had left to do, so many things we had planned to do that all got taken away from us. We always laughed how someday, when my kids were old enough, we would sneak off and adventure through New York together. We would do all the super corny tourist attractions and adventure around the city, all while laughing about how my Dad would completely HATE it if he were there. We promised to try to take a girls’ trip, even if it was a small one, every year. We had plans to take my kids to do different things as they got older. We had so many plans, and each and every one of them was taken from us.
So when people want me to be happy, they want me to be excited about something I just can’t yet, because all I see is how my Mom won’t be there. Even if it is something she wouldn’t normally be present for, I know I can’t call and tell her about it. I can’t just think about how shes either at work, or at home, or off adventuring like she normally would be.
It’s hard because the people around me grieve differently than me. None of us are wrong, we just all handle things differently. For instance, my husband compartmentalizes his grief. So although he and my Mom were close, he has gotten to the point where he can feel happiness. I would never wish misery upon him, I truly want him to feel only happiness. Although, it makes it hard for him to understand what I am going through because when he gets excited about something, I am just not there yet, and I may never be. He tries to understand but it’s also hard for him because the wife he once knew is gone. My reactions and everything about me has changed.
When all of this first happened I honestly did not know how I would survive. I knew I would because I had too, there were people counting on me, but I didn’t know how it was supposed to happen. I didn’t see any possible way we could ever be happy again. The funny not so funny thing about grief is everyone handles it so differently. As long as it isn’t harmful to yourself or anyone else then there is no wrong way to grieve. The problem is since we don’t all grieve the same, it can make relationships that were once so easy, hard. Since I can’t even comprehend what I am feeling, it’s hard for me to explain why I am numb, or sad, or mad, or anything..because I don’t even know. Even my husband who normally we are so in tune with each other, can’t fully grasp what I am going through, because we grieve differently. I used to want to go everywhere, meet new people, talk to strangers, do fun things, take my kids on adventures, and now it takes everything in me to leave the house or especially to have small talk. The problem is the stuff that seemed so important before, just simply isn’t important anymore.
I guess at the end of the day the only thing we can do is communicate as much as possible and give each other grace, especially until we figure out what our new normal is. I have been so blessed and my husband has been more than gracious with my mood swings, my confusion, my numbness, my frustration, my anger, my sadness…everything. So the best I can do is keep trying to be better than I was yesterday. My mind will probably only ever see things as before my Mom was gone, and after she was gone…but I do have hope that we can learn to live without her. We will never stop missing her or wishing things were different, but maybe someday we can get the joy back that I know she would want us to have. Love, Sarah