It’s nine months until Christmas and two years since my little Mama left me in this foreign country by myself (inside joke).
I’ve learned a few things.
First, the second year is harder than the first. All during the first year, people are rooting for you. Everyone realizes its the “first” Christmas, “first” Mother’s Day, etc. so you get lots of support at those times. What’s more, YOU are more prepared. You see the date on the calendar and start mentally psyching yourself up to face the impending sadness.
In the second year, the sadness enters stealth mode. The initial shock has worn off and, whether you want it to or not, life keeps going so you have to start trying to adjust; you take your mind off the calendar for just a bit and when you turn back around, it’s some important date and the grief hits you in the gut like a serious sucker punch.
I’ve learned Nietzsche was wrong. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t necessarily make you stronger; it just doesn’t kill you and keeps on hurting like Hell, but the world HAS to go on. I still wake up some days wondering how in a universe ruled by a benevolent God does the Sun have the audacity to shine on an Earth that my Mama no longer walks upon? But it does. It has to; we just don’t have to like it and it can somehow seem diminished.
I don’t think I’ve cried enough for her and that bothers me because I’m one of those strange people who equates the violence of my emotions with the depth of love I have for a person. The fact I can still function like a normal human (with a very liberal definition of “normal”) instead of being reduced to a jibbering heap huddled in a corner has surprised several people closest to me . . . myself not least of all. That worries me because if I’m not actively mourning her, does it mean I didn’t love her and don’t miss her as much as I thought I did? Intellectually, I can see the falsity of the statement, but grief and emotion are seldom intellectual.
I know one reason I can keep moving is I have no regrets where Mama is concerned. I know that sounds completely unbelievable, but it’s true. Mama and I kept very short accounts where the other was concerned. If we had a fight . . . and we often did, especially in my teenage years . . . we never parted ways angry. The last words I said to her each night before bed and the first words I said to her every morning were the same, “Mama, I love you.” When the time came to preach her funeral, I didn’t have to apologize for anything. We’d cleared those accounts up long ago.
It makes it bearable, but it’s far from easy. I had too much love as a child and a young person. Mama doted on me. I had all four grandparents and four of eight great-grandparents. That’s a tremendous amount of warmth and love to pour over one person and I don’t think I took it for granted, but I never imagined what life would be without it.
Now I don’t have to imagine. All I have left is Granny Ima and I have to look after her — like I promised Mama I would — rather than she looking after me. I wasn’t prepared for the loss of so much love in such a relatively small amount of time, but I am thankful I had it while I did.
I miss Mama as much today as I did when I stood by her closed casket two years ago; I just manage most days to hide it a little better. I don’t know how I’ll spend today. I know I’ll remember her, but I do that every day. I just don’t know.
And so it goes.
Love y’all. Keep those feet clean, and hug your mothers; they get gone too soon.
Lovely post my WP friend. Our culture focuses so much on pushing people to overcome the death of a loved one, it leaves people lost when exploring grief and often shamed. I really love your post because you’re discussing your loss and talking about how emotion/loss isn’t always displayed in what someone else may think of as logical or rational. I’ve also lost close ones, and you have my greatest empathy and compassion. I’m not going to lie, for myself, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. it always stings, just a little. But maybe that’s the depth of love, never forgotten. It gets easier, but easier doesn’t mean better. I am moved by these words for you Mother…. Would it be appropriate if I wished you a Happy 2 years? For myself, my friends and I wish each other a “Happy __ years” on the note of what was a tragedy, now a celebration of life that their spirit goes on with us. A salute to soldiering on in the world after graduating from the tour and journey together. All the best.It takes formidable strength to continue.
And now you got me crying for my Mama who has been gone 4 and a half years. It does sneak up on you unexpectedly. And she had been bad off for a long time so it was in it’s own way a blessing she went without pain.
The night before she passed, I had a dream that Mama and Grandma were sitting in a living room talking. They were catching up on everything and everybody. And that is the image I keep in my mind when I think of either of them. It makes me smile and keeps me going.