A little bit of perspective reared it’s eye-opening head tonight.
With that perspective came some tears.
For a few days I’ve been caught up in the my “busy” life.
It appears that my #FirstWorldProblems (packing lunches, finding school supplies from all-Spanish school supply lists (ugh), unpacking from my vacation, my garage door only opening half-way when it feels like it, living in a resort town that is.so.hot.I.can.barely.stand.it. etc.) were situated at the very front of my consciousness, blocking the important stuff. In reality, I should have been pushing these so-called “problems” back, back, back with the same force assumedly applied by the New Kids on the Block Security Detail to the middle-aged women screaming at a cruise ship Reunion Tour concert. (<– and that is how my brain works. Yes, I just typed New Kids on the Block. Yes, I’m old. I had a vision of the screaming women on the boat, too.)
In other words, “Kylee. Just remember. Just remember that things have been far worse. Things have been the worst ever. And this, oh Kylee, this doesn’t even compare.”
I look back to two years ago at this time; I think of August 26th or so, 2013.
It was about 12 days before my Mom would unexpectedly die in a car accident.
I had no idea because I don’t have telepathy or a functioning crystal ball and yard gazing balls don’t count.
I had no idea that I would soon be rendered motionless, speechless and… empty.
I had no idea that I would experience the call that would rip feeling from every limb, from every digit, from my heart.
Oh, it hurt.
But at first it didn’t. I felt nothing.
Do you feel shock? I don’t know.
But as days went on, after she was cremated, after “life went on” the shock turned into pain. Oh, the pain. My body hurt. (I tear up as I type this because, oh. Oh. Oh. It hurt.)
I remember feeling as if my chest was burning. As if it were on fire. I felt like somehow, my heart had just burst open and had set fire to the inside of my body.
Grief is a verb. It’s an action word. You feel grief.
(Oh, I miss her.)
But then, because there’s always a “but then…”
Slowly… v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y slowly… life did go on and I went along with it.
I was carried by the momentum of prayer, of love, of support, of tears…
I didn’t fight the current; I just rolled.
I mean, what can you do?
I remember when I started singing in the car again.
After my Mom died I had nothing to say.
There were no words that I could ever speak aloud that would accurately and acutely communicate the depth of my feelings; of my loss. So I shut up.
There was nothing to say.
There was no reason to laugh.
There was no reason to communicate any more than necessary.
Sure, my kiddos helped me along and I smiled and laughed with them. But I wouldn’t say that “joy” was abundant en mi vida.
Then one day in the car, I started singing. And my heart skipped a beat and I felt simultaneous feelings of pride and guilt.
Pride because, “Yay! Look! I’m getting back to normal! I’m ME!”
And guilt because, “Hey. Wait. Be loyal. She’s gone. Don’t sing.”
So here’s where today comes in.
But before I go on, here’s my disclaimer:
I miss her with all of my heart.
I cry still.
I dial her phone number ever so often… just to see… if maybe…
I think of her every.day.of.my.life. Sometimes about 10 times. Or 20.
I wish I could show her the pictures of the girls first day at school.
I wish I could tell her about how awesome Vivi is on her scooter or how cute Lila looks in her unicorn helmet.
There’s a hole.
There’s a hole in my heart that doesn’t seem to be closing; nor do I want it to.
But there’s also something else there:
An appreciation for her life.
I am so fortunate that Shirley was my Mom.
After she died, my sister and I kept telling one another, “Something good will come from this.” We needed to hang on to something slightly emotional and optimistic, but the cool part is that sometimes our words and our actions? Well, they become our truths.
My something good is that Shirley has inspired me to take care of me.
I’ve always had a pretty strong sense of purpose and of self — but that was tied directly to my relationship with my Mom. I took care of her and her failing health for my entire life. I was a 35-year-old seven-year-old. Take away the one relationship that gave me purpose and well, my foundation was rocked.
But I’ve re-built that foundation with the tools that I’ve learned from being her daughter.
I am stronger.
I am resilient.
I am happy.
I have joy.
I am grateful.
I am optimistic.
I have hard days.
I get angry.
I get sad.
But throw anything my way and I will not respond at all like I would have prior to her death.
I won’t worry about the little conflicts and the little dramas like I used to. Even the big stuff… it will be fine.
Nope, I’ve seen horrible and bad and ugly and I’ve felt what that feels like…
…and I got through it.
So if you are going through something that is testing you beyond what you prefer to be tested…
If you hurt and you’re angry and you’re sad…
If you have no idea what to do next…
If you feel alone…
Just keep going.
Feel your feelings.
You’ll come out on the other side and you’ll be more empathetic, you’ll be a different person, and you will be stronger.
It’s that pain, heartbreak and despair that help us appreciate the joy, the happiness and the sweet moments of life.
And there will be sweet moments again.
(I’m certain Shirl would agree that.)
—The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
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.
March 6, 2014 :: Almost six months :: Post here.
March 27, 2014 :: One of the Best Gifts Ever :: Post here.
April 1, 2014 :: We’re all in this together :: Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I’m still not normal. :: Post here.
May 6, 2014 :: Mother’s Day without a Mom :: Post here.
June 1, 2014 :: Moving “forward” :: Post here.
July 6, 2014 :: Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah :: Post here.
August 20, 2014 :: So, I’m 35 :: Post here.
September 2, 2014 :: 7 days :: Post here.
September 8, 2014 :: The Day Before a Year :: Post here.
September 9, 2014 :: Hello, one year :: Post here.
October 11, 2014 :: The brain is funny :: Post here.
November 6, 2014 :: Love :: Post here.
November 30, 2014 :: Post here.
December 4, 2014 :: Another feather. Post here.
December 28, 2014 :: All was calm, all is bright. Post here.
January 18, 2015 :: They’re always with us? They’re always with us. Post here.
January 25, 2015 :: And today I remember. Post here.
March 8, 2015 :: A year and a half later. Post here.
April 16, 2015 :: And here I stand. Post here.
April 29, 2015 :: Joan & Shirley. Post here.