It’s been a little over 7 years since my mom died. How in the world did it not consume me, you may ask? Well honestly, it did for a while. It was my whole life. She was my whole life.
There were many people in my life who were “impressed” with how I was handling it. Yet, nobody saw or heard me sobbing late at night, driving in my car, or really any time I was alone for more than 5 seconds. If there was no one to hold me, you can be sure as hell I was a mess.
There would be so many times I would be having a “good” day and be thinking I was making progress. Then one of her favorite songs would come on the radio and P!NK would send me into a tight curled up ball of tears. We had so many of her TV shows that we would watch together all cuddled up in her bed on Saturday morning. That show would have a commercial for the next season and it would hit like a bullet that she wouldn’t be there to watch it with me anymore. I had to learn to not dread the theme song to Ellen anymore but rather use it as a token of memory. I had to learn to celebrate her memories and use them to remember her by, and not have them hurt so much anymore. That was no way to cope.
It’s not like I had a choice in the matter anyways. You have to keep going because there is no other option. You don’t think you can cope until you have to. Life keeps going on whether you like it or not. The clock keeps ticking and you have to move along with it. You can’t shut the world out because you have to think the cliché “Is this what mom would want? WWJD (What would Jackie do)”
Even though it hurts, you have to force yourself to live either by making yourself go back to work, or going out with friends or family. You don’t have to do this all at once or right away; work at your own pace, but know eventually you have to move on.
Now don’t yell at me saying “how could I EVER just MOVE ON from my parent’s death!” I’m not saying put the memories and emotions into a little box and forget he/she ever existed. Instead it’s more of learning to live without them around anymore.
I don’t have some magic step-by-step program to help you cope, but I can sure give you some insight into how to make the pain less… painful.
For example, the biggest thing I did for my mom after she passed was plant a tree for her in my front yard. Actually, my dad did this as a surprise for my sister and I. In the fall, the leaves seemed to turn a shade of pink hence she died of breast cancer.
When we moved to Michigan from Illinois, it hurt moving away from her tree. The new owners of my home promised me sister and I that they would take care of our tree; knowing fully why it was planted. It still grows strong to this day.
When were in Illinois we would decorate her tree every year on Mother’s Day, her birthday, and the anniversary of her death. It helped us celebrate her life besides visiting a grave. I think also the symbolism of a tree growing helped with the grieving process of seeing how much time passed since she died, and how much me and my sister grew along with the tree.
The most recent picture of her tree, absolutely HUGE!
One of my favorite poems in the world. My mother loved roses, and even though I don’t believe in a higher power or anything, I’d like to think my mom is still around somewhere. My one wish would be to pick a bunch for her and put them in her arms from me.