Grief (n): A Deep Sorrow
I wrote the post below in 2020, 1 year after my Mama passed away. It was the beginning of the COVID pandemic and life was in an upheaval, something I had felt over the last year all too much. Much of it is still true, because I am certain I will never stop missing my Mama. I am reposting it today, because so many are facing their own grief. I hope that my unfiltered experience with it will help someone else. If you are new to my blog, there are a lot of posts about the journey down the road of grief and healing over the last couple of years. They are linked in this post and you are welcome to read and seek the peace and healing in the words. I wrote the posts for me more than anything. Writing my thoughts and memories is something that helped me process things. And I have I great record of so many things that I never want to forget.
A lot has happened in my own personal life and in the world over the last 12 months. So many times I would give anything to be able to hug my Mama, cry on her shoulder, and talk to her. I referenced the stages of grief last year and couldn’t really tell you where I was at in the journey. I can say that I am now in acceptance. It doesn’t mean I don’t have hard days, but I know that life has to go on and that she would want me to be happy. It is possible to miss someone and never forget them, while accepting the reality that they are gone. But it takes everyone their own time to find that peace in their own life. So as I think about Mama today and celebrate the wonderful woman that she was, I am going to create a recipe that she would love, probably do some shopping and just do my best to turn the day into a day that honors her.
Thank you all for your support through my struggle.
No Luck Of The Irish
When I was a little girl, I remember a lot of distinct things. For example, when the Shania Twain song, “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”, came out, my Daddy would always wake my sister and me up in the morning with the opening line: “Let’s go, girls!”. And every St. Patrick’s Day, my Mama would have a green outfit picked out for us or say, “You better find something green to wear so you don’t get pinched!” Isn’t it funny how you remember and associate certain days, songs, tv shows, clothes and random things with memories?
I know that St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a fun day full of luck and all things green. However, it will forever be a day that I hate. Really, I don’t like the whole month of March; with the exception of my daughter’s (and a few other loved ones) birthday’s, I could skip the whole thing.
Why I Hate March
March is a month full of grief and memories that have shaped me. Most dramatically over the last 12 months, but my dislike of March began 13 years ago. On March 13, 2007 my Papaw, who I loved dearly, had a heart attack and passed away on March 14th. Then, on March 13, 2015, my precious Granny passed away.
Both of them were influential in my life. And while I grieved for them and had a hard time with their death, I felt like I was able to process and go through the stages of grief normally.
St. Patrick’s Day 2019
If you know me personally, or have read any of my posts, you know that I lost my Mama a year ago today, on St. Patrick’s Day. (Read about it here and here.) See why I say there is no luck of the Irish? It still feels like a punch to the gut. And to be honest, I don’t think I will ever be the same. I struggle every single day with my grief. It is not that I have stopped living. It is just that things are not the same without my Mama.
I have sat and replayed that day in my mind more times than I can count. I remember every moment vividly. From the time I got a phone call from my sweet Daddy that morning to come help him, until the time the doctor came out 3 hours later and told us that my Mama didn’t make it. None of it is a blur.
Stages of Grief
They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I am not really sure where I am at in that process. I know I operated with denial for a while. And I have most definitely been angry. But, I am not going to lie, sometimes I still get angry about it. Usually, that is when someone tells me that I need to move on or get over it. Or tries to tell me that I am not trusting God. Maybe I am stuck between depression and acceptance right now.
One thing I can say, there is no right way to grieve. And one piece of advice I would give to others, don’t try to tell anyone else how to go through the process. The things some people have said to me stick out in my mind and have taught me exactly what NOT to do.
Don’t tell them to move on, or preach at them about how their loved one is in Heaven. Trust me, I know where my Mama is right now. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss her. Don’t compare a loss in your life and say things like: “it is worse to lose (insert family member). Those things are NOT helpful. I know that most of the time people don’t know what to say, but if you don’t know what to say, just be there and say you are sorry and that you are there for them if they want to talk.
As I write this post, I am a mixture of emotions. A year ago I felt like my world was crumbling around me. And today, it feels like the world is struggling as COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For the first time, over the last week, I thought to myself: “My Mama would be worried sick about this pandemic. I’m glad she doesn’t have to worry and is in Heaven”. And that is probably the closest I have come to acceptance.
I am not a medical expert, nor will I ever claim to be one. It seems to me that a lot of people are one extreme or another. They are either panicking or calling this a hoax. Neither of those things are helpful. While COVID-19 might not be detrimental to some people, the facts are clear, this disease is not one to be taken lightly. Just because you are young and healthy doesn’t mean it won’t impact you. Also, from my perspective is a simple tip that would be helpful. Before you hit share on social media, check to see if what you are sharing is factual. False information that circulates harms more people.
My Mama had been released from her transplant doctor to do whatever she wanted two weeks before she contracted pneumonia and passed away. So many people have their immune system compromised, are elderly, or at risk of catching the virus. If you have ever watched someone struggle to breath, as I watched my Mama, you would take it seriously. I wouldn’t wish that on my worse enemy. So as you make decisions in the coming weeks, remember this: it isn’t about you. It is about what is best for others too.
This post feels somewhat scattered today. I think I am just burdened with things from every angle. But, I want to say thank you to those that have been a constant support for me over the last year. I will never forget the kindness that has been shown to my family and me. In times of need, you really do find out who your friends are and who you can count on without question.
If you are struggling with grief or loss, please reach out to me if you want. I am no expert, but if I can help, even if it is just to cry with you, I will do it. I am a huge music lover. It has the ability to resonate and explain things better than I can in words. The song, Breakers Roar by Sturgill Simpson is a poignant one that has a lyric that says this: “Bone breaks and heals, Oh, but heartaches can kill”, I cant tell you how many times I have felt that way, but it is getting slightly easier. Until I see you again, Mama. You are always in my heart and mind. Thank you for being the best example I could ever ask for and the rock I leaned on for years. I love you.