My Little Mommy - one year later
Today is Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. My dear little mother, Beatrice passed away one year ago, tomorrow, Nov. 19, 2012 at around 2:30pm. Last year Nov. 19th was a Monday. This morning I woke up suddenly after dreaming of my mother - it was strange, in the dream she was suffering and close to death, but not at all as it actually happened a year ago. However, waking from this dream plummeted me into deep sadness and a hollow, emptiness. I tried to go back to sleep, but it would not come. Instead, my thoughts got stuck in a spiral of real memories of my Mom's final hours. In utter, impossible grief, I screamed and wailed and sobbed. None of my coping techniques could soften the reality, no calendar date could undo the truth of today. Though the actual date of my mother's death is tomorrow, energetically I am feeling it today. Because she died on a Monday, it seems likely that I will forever "feel" it on a Monday, regardless of the actual calendar date.
As the years go by and the calendar date moves ever so slowly away from Monday and toward Friday, I wonder WHICH Monday will have this weight of feeling - the Monday before or after Nov. 19 - hmm? What a strange thing to be thinking now! Time will tell.
What a terrible, authentic, and valuable lesson I've learned in this last hellish year of grief and loss, filled with dread as one impossibly difficult anniversary after another approaches (ie, the first holiday, birthday, family vacation without Mom, etc.), is somehow survived, then followed by relief - a mere wisp of breathing space - only to have to brace for the next awful anniversary. The lesson learned (among many cruel lessons) is that nothing is strange when it comes to the unfolding of grief, anything and everything is possible, and even the strangest thought/experience is all truth for the individual in the process of grieving.
This past Saturday I purchased a slow cooker, telling myself and others that it was needed to prepare meals for this nutritional program I would start soon, and besides, it would come in handy on busy days when there was no time to cook. All true. But not the fundamental truth. I've always been busy, and yet I haven't used or needed a slow cooker in 15+ years. The truth of the slow cooker is that Mom used one frequently, especially when she went back to school to become a nurse when I was in my teens, and later when she worked as a nurse. She made many delicious, hot meals for her family with the slow cooker, and she taught me and my sisters how to do the same. So yesterday I unveiled the awkward, space-hogging machine, cleaned it, made room for it on my limited kitchen counter, prepared the vegetables and placed them in the pot with chicken and water and spices - just like Mom used to do - and thinking of her every minute during this process. I would be gone all day, visiting my Dad, and the meal would cook for 8 hours. All I could think of all day was the blasted slow cooker! All I wanted to do was get "home" to the slow cooker to check on it, not realizing then, as I do now, that it was about Mom, and the desperate need to be close to her. I get it, as I attempt to type between sobs and runny nose. The meal turned out great, we'll have it for dinner tonight. Thanks Mom.
Ok, that takes me to another "strange" aspect of grieving, that could only occur in our modern computer age. I have this occasional urge, no, a truly pressing need, to send Mom messages on the internet. Sites like this and others present the opportunity to say "thanks Mom", "I miss you, Mom", "I love you, Mom", projecting the thought into cyberspace, the internet "cloud". After all, that's something like where many imagine our lost loved ones are now. I suppose in times before computers and internet, people used paper & pen in the same way, writing letters to lost loved ones, hoping they would somehow get the message. Sending a message into cyberspace seems strangely closer. There are a multitude of sites that let you send a prayer request, or light a virtual candle, or hang a star in the sky. I'm grateful for them all.
So it seems that today will be the day of sorrow and tears. When the actual anniversary comes tomorrow, I wonder what that will bring? For now, I'll be as completely present with today as possible. I miss my mother every day. I have found many small and large ways to honor her during the past year. The slow cooker will be another way, and I'm sure there will be other ways to honor her. Allow me to encourage you to find ways to remember and honor your lost loved ones, when you are ready. It's hard, the sorrow comes, but it helps, too.
I love you, Mom. And I miss you terribly. Sending you hugs and kisses. xxoo