I’m sitting outside on my patio. My daughters are 3 and 4 years old. They’ve created a conscious and meticulously-placed mess of papers, crayons, cardboard building blocks, bicycles and stuffed animals all over. The Little Tikes jumper was just turned to “off” and the quiet, but constant “hummmm” that the fan makes has stopped.
I can hear the birds.
I can hear my brain.
And my heart.
My life, for the past five months, has been a lot like my patio. Filled with stuff. Filled with meetings and meticulously-made appointments and lunch-packing and living. But then… when the fan turns off, and I can hear my brain… and my heart… I remember.
Well, to be honest, I always remember.
It’s gone from a searing, paralyzing pain to what I would imagine amputee victims feel. Phantom limb syndrome is when the brain perceives that the amputated limb is still there, actively moving along with the body… even though it’s not.
I feel like she’s still here, but she’s not.
Today my Mom has been dead for five months.
“What’s the hardest part about this?”
Everything is the hardest part.
Not talking to her is the hardest. I miss her voice. I miss her laugh. I miss her advice. I miss our relationship.
Hearing my sister mourn her is the hardest part. It would be one thing if it were just me crying for her; I want to shield her from this. But I can’t.
Everything is the hardest part.
I fear the strain of remembering.
I fear the tilting of the head, the leaning in, the eyes-closed focus as I try to remember what her voice sounded like… or how she smelled… or what her hair felt like as I’d curl the parts with the curling iron that were beyond her reach.
I’ve lost the other parent before I lost her. I know that the familiarity leaves us. I know the strain.
I grieve the past and I grieve the future.
I don’t cry everyday anymore.
In fact, there are some days that I don’t cry at all.
The truth of the matter is that I am no longer obsessed with how she died, or that she has died… I’m merely reminded of her loss at least 5 times a day.
It’s like when you first fall in love and all you think about is him… or her… You wake up thinking about him. You can’t eat. You can’t concentrate. All roads lead back to your love.
Right now, all roads lead back to my loss.
I smile a lot, though.
Vivi will say something ridiculously funny and I will smile and believe that her Nana, her angel, just heard that and is smiling, too.
Lila talks about her a lot. She asks me if I miss her. I confirm that I do.
She asked me the other day if Nana had wings.
I look at her picture and I smile.
And I can even SEE her picture sometimes because the tears that once blinded my vision have lessened to just one or two tears; not an eye-full.
I miss her.
OH, how I miss her.
One of my routines, just a little over five months ago, was that I called my Mom on my way to work, sometimes at work, on the way to picking up the girls from school, on my way home from work and usually when I packed lunches at night.
Each phone call during the day was no longer than 5 or 10 minutes; simply a check in. An, “Are you ok?”
I now realize that those check-ins were as much for me as they were for her.
Now I get in my car and I think to myself, “There’s no one to check in with.” You can bother your Mom all day long if you want to, because she’s your Mom. With others, it’s different.
Kite with no handler.
These anniversaries, these reminders of her death, are dumb.
They make me sad.
I wish they didn’t matter to me. I know that one day they won’t.
But for right now they do. I can’t explain it.
My Mom was so cool.
September 30, 2013 :: Slivers of Sunlight :: Post here.
October 6, 2013 :: That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013 :: 14 days after :: Post here.
October 20, 2013 :: I found a treasure :: Post here.
November 4, 2013 :: She’s been gone for 4 weeks :: Post here.
November 13, 2013 :: I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry :: Post here.
November 17, 2013 :: Weekends aren’t easy :: Post here.
November 26, 2013 :: The holidays, the firsts :: Post here.
December 1, 2013 :: 8 weeks :: Post here.
December 10, 2013 :: The Dream :: Post here.
December 19, 2013 :: Vulnerability and Moving Forward :: Post here.
December 22, 2013 :: The reminders. They’re everywhere :: Post here.
December 29, 2013 :: 2013 :: Post here.
January 1, 2014 :: The New Year :: Post here.
January 7, 2014 :: 2 days from 4 months :: Post here.
January 17, 2014 :: Another Gift :: Post here.
January 25, 2014 :: She would have been 60 today :: Post here.
February 9, 2014 :: Five months :: Post here.