Today marks six months since Mom died.
One of my fall classes started yesterday and the professor asked each student to email her three things that she should know about us as learners. I included this in my email:
My mom died in February after a prolonged illness. I have been dealing with bouts of brain fog since her death and depending on the severity, it can affect my memory and ability to learn. I have been working with my psychologist to minimize the effects of this brain fog and I have a good handle on it now, I just wanted to let you know.
She shared that her father died several years ago and she offered a piece of advice that was given to her then. Someone told her that the grief doesn’t get easier, but it does get more normal. Eventually you learn to carry the loss in a way that becomes less distracting and debilitating.
I also ran across this poem a couple of weeks ago:
Your Death Is Not A One Time Event
Your death was not a one time event,
like a tornado or a bad first date
that harden into memory the minute they’re over.
No, you die over and over, every day, in more ways
than I can count.
It happens when I expect it and especially when I don’t.
I lose you all over again when I eat a salad with tangy blue cheese dressing or a bowl of cold borscht, and when I notice the nubby knit of an argyle sweater vest, and when I hear the buzzing of a Cessna kissing the clouds beneath a blue sky, and when something makes me laugh and I think you would have laughed too.
I lose you again on birthdays and anniversaries, when your dependable, sweet call never comes, no matter how much I expect it.
I lose you at Passover, when your bowls and bowls of charoset from around the world are missing from the table, and now there will never be enough charoset on the table ever again.
I will lose you again and again, when your children get married, and my children become bar and bat mitzvah, and your grandchildren are born and you can’t hold them, and love them, and make them laugh.
You are so absent now where you were always present,
and your death isn’t in the past.
It happens over and over again, every day, in ways both tiny and enormous.
You keep dying, and I keep grieving.Rabbi Melinda Panken
Mom died again when I had to let go of Roxy. She died when I turned 36. She died on what would have been her 76th birthday. She died on Mother’s Day. She died when I unexpectedly fell in love. She died when I donated some of her belongings. And she died all over again when I moved this weekend. She keeps dying every time I want to talk to her, every time I see her perfume bottles, every time Maxine gets scared, every time I have another first that she will never see.
I tried to describe her to my boyfriend and I don’t think I did a very good job. It made me cry because how can I not know how to describe her when she had such a huge influence on my life? I hate that she will never meet one of the most important people in my life or any children I may have or any of my friends.
She’s been gone for half a year and so much has happened. It comforts me to think that maybe she had a hand in what has gone on in the past couple of months. I’m trying to carry the grief in a way that doesn’t stop me from moving forward. Sometimes I think I’m doing a terrible job. I feel like I’ve been locking away my own grief the past few weeks, only letting it escape when I’m alone and have too much time to think. But even then I know I’m doing as well as can be expected and the expansion and considerable brightening of my world and family has helped so much with that. I hope Mom would be proud.