good grief

Every day is a new day living in the world after my mom died. I am 795 days into this life. My grief is just as big as the first moment, but it changes shape. Time doesn’t make it better, but it makes it different.

Some days I float and roll through my new life, feeling okay, feeling happy, and then it will hit me that the central human in my life is not here. She’s not part of this, she’s not here to tell me her thoughts, or to laugh, or to just exist. I still don’t know how to reconcile that. I almost don’t believe it. How can the world exist if she is not noticing it, painting it, coloring it with her opinions and cooking smells? I dream that she comes back, that it was all a trick, or that she is a zombie. I get really upset about dumb little things, because while I may be actually upset about those things, behind it is my sadness and anger about my mom being dead. UGH I’m so hungry and my clothes don’t fit right and my mom is dead. That person is chewing so loudly it’s driving me nuts and my mom is dead. I got on the wrong bus and my mom is dead. 

I hate when people tell me that my mom is “with me.” She’s not with me. She’s dead, and her spirit is off doing other things. She exists in my genetic code, for sure, and I wear her clothes. I’m trying so hard to let her be dead, to let her be Ghost Viola or whatever and fly around painting the sky and exploring other dimensions and to not wish her here so hard. I don’t know how to feel her with me in this new form. I want her in an Earthly way, nothing else will do. I’m stubborn, a quality I inherited from her (and my dad, too, we’re a stubborn bunch).

I wish people said I looked like her. My sister really is the one who resembles our mom as a young woman, it’s striking and everyone notices. Sometimes people say I have her laugh. Mostly they say I look like my dad. But I’ve always felt a similarity in our expressions, me and my mom, smiling, or talking with our hands, our style, the way we listen to people by looking right in their eyes. I’ll catch myself teasing Greg (my fiance) in the same way my mom would tease my dad– a fake angry comment, a smirk, an open-mouthed laugh accompanied by a little dance.

She won’t be at my wedding. This fact gets bigger as the date gets closer. I wonder what my wedding would be like if she was here to plan it with me, how it would differ from the real thing. Would I have picked the same dress? Would her ideas have been better? What would we have argued about?

What would I be like if my mom hadn’t died? This grief is my defining feature, her death the defining moment of my life so far– the line dividing everything into Before and After.

This is where I’m at today.

4 thoughts on “good grief

  1. To say the “after” is difficult is a huge understatement. That much I know. Grief sucks (also an understatement) and it will never go away. Sure, some days it’s more in the background than others. But it’s always there. Remember to always be kind to yourself. I didn’t know your mom, but I bet that’s what she’d want.

  2. I just realized my “grief sucks” comment maybe didn’t sound the way I wanted it too. It is hard. And it’s a reminder that our loved ones are gone. But it is also a reminder of how much we love them. And that part of it is beautiful. Always thinking about you. xoxo

  3. I agree with Lori. You have to listen to yourself and be good to yourself. I, too, wish I had known her– she sounds like a strong, brilliant person. She helped make you so you ARE like her, even if the physical resemblance isn’t as defining. But the physical doesn’t last; it is all those other emotional and spiritual qualities that live on, and you DO sound very much like your mom, I am sorry she won’t be there physically for your wedding, but in my world view, she will know that you have found your partner and will rejoice.

  4. Thanks for sharring Anna, I do know how you feel, the person your mom was named after is my mother and although I do not have any memories of her ( she died when I was 4) I looked for her most of my adult life and when I really felt her presence was when my 3 daughters were born,still think of her everyday You do remind me of your mom, when we talked on Sunday several times I loved hearing you laugh and how you even gave me a l little advise about Eric, like I know you mom would have done so feel very blessed to have you in my life. I love you. Gramma


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