The wind outside is fierce and the rain is coming down. There’s a hurricane coming tonight.
The weather is apropos for today, September 9th. The day my Mom died.
As I learned with losing my Dad, some years the “death day” hits hard.
It’s a gut punch.
It knocks the wind out of me.
In other years, it’s a slow burn.
In the days leading up to the annual reminder of her last day I notice a shift… in me…
I’m short-tempered, I’m frustrated…
And it’s hard.
Sometimes, it’s a VOLCANO of emotion covering anything [and anyone] in my path.
I can’t control it.
The tears just come.
(And in years past, the tears were mixed with anger.)
This year, it just is.
And that’s ok.
In fact, ALL of the reactions are ok.
It could be the fact that we’re prepping for a hurricane tonight and I’m typing this as I listen to the rain come in waves of heavy and light. Just like my grief over the years.
Or, it could be that this week the girls have gone back to in-classroom school part-time for the first time in 18 months and the mental gymnastics and logistics of school pickup and meetings and tutoring and work and lunch packing and the school pickup line and google meets are depleting my bandwidth…
It feels like my brain has been otherwise occupied.
Grief, my forever companion, isn’t driving the car. She’s simply staring out the window of the backseat while I drive.
But I know me.
I know my brain.
I can delay, delay, delay the feelings, but inevitably, assuredly… they will be right there waiting for me when I’m ready.
So, today, I breathe in.
I breathe out.
I acknowledge my conflicting feelings about remembering or paying tribute to the day that she took her last breath.
Why would I want to remember that car accident? That call, the car, the glass, the conversation with the funeral director or the state trooper? Why would I want to remember my sister’s voice or what it felt like to fly home knowing that the person who ALL ROADS LEAD TO is gone? Why would I want to acknowledge this day?
I’ve learned that I can recognize the person without giving power to the day.
The truth is that this is the day that my life changed. Forever.
But I’m shifting my focus to paying tribute to who she was.
…not how she died.
And how grateful I am that she was mine.
Earlier today I read through some old text messages and I laughed. In one she told me she was watching a “British pig show” with my nephew. (Peppa Pig.) In almost every screenshot of our texts she’s either making a joke or telling me she loves me.
How grateful I am.
I looked through pictures on my phone and I smiled and I teared up.
I found the one at the top of this post. It’s the road to her house.
And then I smiled because I LOVE a good metaphor and friends, all roads lead back to her.
She’s my beginning.
She’s my heart.
She’s in me. In my girls. In my sister and her kids.
She may not be here, but she’s everywhere and she’s still mine.
So, outside the rain keeps falling like tears from the clouds and inside I sit and I remember.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye | Public Domain
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in the circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in every lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.
Read more about my story here, dear friends. And please, tell me about yours. You can always email me.
It starts on September 9th, 2013.
—The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom. And some other grief and loss posts thrown in for good measure. September 9, 2013 :: The day I found out :: Post here. September 16, 2013 :: It’s One Week today :: Post here. September 25, 2013 :: The Call :: Post here.
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.
April 26, 2016 :: Sitting Still. Post here.
December 27, 2016 :: So this was Christmas. Post here.
December 29, 2016 :: And our hearts sigh. Post here.
May 10, 2017 :: Phil Collins made me cry. Post here.
September 7, 2017 :: I guess I just miss my Mom. Four years. Post here.
March 18, 2018 :: When life gets hard, here’s how I handle it. Post here.
June 1, 2018 :: Words are magic. Post here. March 15, 2019 :: Grief as a Grown-Up. Post here. (About my Dad.) May 24, 2019 :: Grief and Loss. Post here.
September 9, 2018 :: Five years. Post here.
September 9, 2019 : Six years. Post here. September 9, 2020 :: Seven years. Post here.