I am sitting.
In my home.
On a Tuesday, later afternoon.
My girls are at swim class with their Daddy.
Even the dogs are quietly sleeping.
I can’t hear anything but my wind chime that my friends got me after my Mom died. And birds. (Always birds. Ironically enough for me.)
I feel like I’m reconnecting with an old friend; my blog.
Recently I’ve been so awash in the schedules and the GO! that I haven’t taken time to sit, to feel, to think, to write. My day is filled with meetings and errands and children and homework and schedules and coaching and life and, and, and…
We’re all busy, I get it.
(I repeatedly choose this life, so no pity requested…)
I think that’s why I enjoy these “quiet” moments all that much more.
These moments when I sit and I’m still I realize how much I miss my Mom.
That’s a ridiculous way to phrase it. I don’t “realize” how much I miss her. [I’m rolling my eyes at myself.] It’s when I sit that I am compelled to acknowledge just how much I miss her; just how much I miss her in my daily life.
I was listening to This American Life on NPR (I adore Ira Glass) this morning and the podcast was about individuals who have HSAM. Have you heard of it? It’s “hyperthymesia.” Basically, individuals with HSAM can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some significance to them. One interviewee on the podcast remembered the exact date of the 1989, I think, (I can’t remember…) academy awards, and then threw in the fact that Whoppi Goldberg was the host.
“Man, that would be handy,” I thought.
Another interviewee, Jill, spoke of “managing her memories” alongside her HSAM. She has to actually organize them. Jill’s memories don’t just fade away, like they do for those of us without HSAM. I mean, we move on. We forget severity and the extremity; the highs and the lows and we move on. We block out what we don’t want to handle. In most circumstances, we have the luxury of choosing to remember.
(I’ve noticed that when people die, even if they were jerks, we tend to canonize them. We choose to remember people a certain way. We hold them in far higher esteem than what they ought. It’s like the sharp edges of their personality dull in the wake of grief.)
So back to the podcast. This is the part of the interview that got me: Jill, the one with HSAM, lost her husband eleven years ago and it feels like it was just yesterday.
I let that soak in.
She feels about her husband’s passing how she felt eleven years ago because the memory is so sharp; it’s so vivid.
[This takes my breath away.]
Jill says that her husband’s death, “has paralyzed me.”
She went on to say, “I will never, ever, ever, ever forget that…”
She’ll ALWAYS remembers the pain, the inability to breathe. She said that it still feels as if it were March of 2005…
She can easily go back to that week, that time in an instance and it hurts just like it happened yesterday.
Can you even imagine?
It’s been two years and 7 months since my Mom died.
No, it doesn’t hurt like it did the day she died in that car accident.
And sitting here, thinking about her, about all of this… that saddens me. There are moments when I do want it to hurt just as badly as it did back then when the wound was so fresh and so bloody and messy.
The perspective that comes with time isn’t comforting; instead, it’s creates an insurmountable distance between here and I.
My inclination to call on the phone has vanished.
My quick-response to tell her a story, ask her a question… gone.
My wish that this was all a dream and that she’d just come home now… it’s dried up.
Instead, I know with my heart and my brain that she’s gone.
[insert heavy sigh]
Someone once told me after she died that “it’ll always hurt.” This friend told me that when you lose your Mom, it always, always hurts.
Today, I nod. I agree. Still, the pain takes different shapes even today.
I remember going away to college. I wanted NOTHING MORE than to be OUT of my house; away from my Mom. As a 17-year-old, I wanted to be AWAY from her rules; AWAY from her “prying” questions. Gone. Out. Go.
And I left. I would come back to my neighborhood to see my boyfriend (yep, Craig) and I wouldn’t even go home. (I can’t imagine how much that hurt her…) But I didn’t NEED her. (Or so I thought…) I was independent and I wanted to just do.my.thing.
And then two years after I went to college, my Mom decided to move to a different state and I stopped, frozen in my tracks and thought, “Oh no. This can’t be. I need her. She can’t go. No. I’m not ready.”
That little “independent” phase that I’d been going through… that “I’ll-talk-to-you-when-it’s convenient-for-me” thing was done. It was self-indulgent and silly and I immediately wished that I could take it back… I was working so hard to NOT include her in my life that I immediately did an about-face and wanted nothing more than for her to be in my life.
I feel that way again today.
I feel like this silly time apart – this time forced by the hand of death and not the brooding recklnessness of a silly 17-year-old – can stop at ANY time now… because I really do need her.
It would be completely ok with me if she’d just come back.
No questions asked.
But, even if she doesn’t, I’m ok.
Life goes on.
Sometimes I go so fast so I don’t feel it. It’s easier to disconnect.
Other times, I stop myself, and I feel it. Because she deserves it.
Such is grief.
Shirl is in my everyday moments. Her name is on the lips of my family on a dailiy basis. (Thanks in large part to Vivi’s Baby Shirley.) She’s more than just part of my DNA; she’s part of who I am. She’s part of who my girls are.
And I’m thankful for that.
And I’m also thankful for these quiet, distraction-free moments when I can let my fingers type,
my mind wander and…
my heart remember.
—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.
August 26, 2015 :: Perspective. Post here.
September 9, 2015 :: Two Years After. Post here.
November 1, 2015 :: Watching others go through it. Post here.
January 25, 2016 :: Happy Birthday, Mom. Post here.
March, 5, 2016 :: Air Tears. Post here.