Nine Christmas Eve’s ago, my cousin’s mom suddenly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. In the nine years since, I have paid attention to how she has navigated the loss of her beloved momma.
Although I didn’t quite understand her loss, I tried to be there for her. One thing that I noticed was that she didn’t stuff the loss down to deal with it later. In my eyes, she bravely stepped right into the loss of “holy sh*t, I’ve lost my mom, what am I going to do?”
I don’t know about you, but when a friend or relative loses their mom/ parent, I pay attention. There are lessons that live in someone else’s experiences. I hadn’t been IN her shoes, but when she talked about her days that came with her loss, I listened.
I still do.
A couple weeks ago, she said something monumental to me. It was about her view of grief. She’s nine years in, to mom loss.
I’m nine months in.
Her words were soothing and healing, instantly.
I’ve tried to write about it for two weeks. I’ve typed, backspaced, typed, backspaced. Words jumbled up. Couldn’t get them out in the way that I wanted.
Well, not everyone understands the roads we are on.
Some do. But, everyone?
No, not really.
Writing about loss and vulnerability is sooooooooooo hard. It’s somewhat edgy. Talk about it a little and it’s acceptable. Talk about it a lot and it’s ‘you’re grieving too much.’
Vulnerability is like a coat that nobody wants to put on. A hundred and fifty degrees below zero and there’s a coat of vulnerability laying there? Forget it, I’ll freeze.
With vulnerabilities come shame. Being nine months into mom/parent loss, I can see why people don’t talk about losses.
Grief isn’t discussed much. Sure, people throw out lines of “take your time”, “everyone grieves in their own way”, “deal with it however you need to’ while at the same moment, there seems to be an invisible time limit on when someone’s grief is enough and they should just move on or that there’s some particular way to get through it.
Twice this week, I’ve felt judged about my mom loss. That I’m not doing it right or I’m taking too long. If I just move on, my holidays won’t be hard.
Grief with stipulations…
Writing about the last nine months has been a gift, a privilege, and a heartache all at once. I write because I know that I am not the only one dealing with loss.
My hope is that if someone somewhere reads my words, that maybe they’ll find a smidgen of comfort or something that makes them feel a tiny bit better.
Loss with stipulations?
It does not work for someone like me, who is in it.
Stipulations only add to an already overflowing plate.
And, hey, I get it.
People mean well. Nobody wants anybody to be sad. I’ve said similar things to people myself to try to help them feel better fast.
Now I see that it really doesn’t work. It probably just pushed them away…
Yesterday, I cried most of the day over feeling like my grief is taking too long and that I’m not doing it right,
Most. Of. The. Day.
It was prompted by the phrase: ‘ohhhhhhh, you’re not doing very well, are you?’
Very well compared to what? That started kicking up self doubt like you wouldn’t believe.
What I’m getting at here, is that being open about how momma loss feels is super tricky. Do I have to talk about it? Not really. Would grieving quietly be better? Safer? Perhaps.
Hmm… trade vulnerability for quiet healing?
Maybe I should…
On the other hand, look at this space that sharing my journey has created here!!!
It includes things like:
being able to share similar stories
real honest to goodness compassion showing up
a place to talk about sad days, sudden tears, and hard moments
connecting to others who are in loss too
learning from each other
stumbling around in how to write after being so open
being transparent and being met with kindness and support
opening doors to conversations about parent loss
peeling off layers of crusted up, protective hearts (including mine) to let some things out and in
tossing old stories of time schedules in grief to the curb
opening the heart for new ideas instead
I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing. Sharing. Because if I cry for a day, I cry for a day. The best I can tell, putting myself out there is making me stronger, too.