The Unexpected Cycles of Grief
Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mother’s death. 17 years to be exact. For the past several years I have posted pictures and written tales celebrating her life. I don’t think I have it in me this year to be celebratory.
I wrote a blog before Christmas about surviving the holidays through grief and said, “Grief doesn’t have an expiration.” How very true that statement feels right now.
This week has been hard but the truth is that it starts in February right after my birthday. “It” is the underlying feeling of discomfort, sadness, the undeniable void that I have learned to live with. Those closest to me have come to understand that during this time I come up with outlandish schemes which seem so very plausible at the time but in hindsight I am desperately trying to fill the gaping hole her absence has left in my life. Last year I wanted to have a baby. This year I wanted to be on medication for my ADD. It is outlandish because I don’t want to have children at this point in my life and because I refuse to go on medication for anything. I am ready for next year though; I am going on vacation.
Grief doesn’t end after a year or two or ten. It’s a cycle that sometimes comes out of nowhere, smacks you in the face and drags you down. I think the hardest part is the loneliness that I feel because I don’t have many friends that actually get it and I’m so grateful that they don’t.
I am grieving the adult relationship I never got to have with her. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by her loss that I don’t know how I have ever managed to live without her. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by jealousy when hearing friends talk about their moms. I think, “what must that feel like?” to be able to call your mom and ask a question, to have your mother support you in your business, or come visit you, plan your wedding, or even get on your nerves.
When the sarcoidosis came back, I was 17. Our lives as we knew it stopped right there and changed very rapidly as her health deteriorated. The trauma of her illness was so great the only way I could see to get through it was to drink myself into oblivion. After she died the pain was horrific, drugs were the only way I could see to cope.
As Noel was holding me last night while I sobbed into his arms, there was this moment when the pain felt so heavy that it reminded me of how I felt right after she died. Except it was followed by a moment of clarity where I could acknowledge that is was okay to feel. What being sober has brought me is the ability to feel and hold space in the knowledge that as bad as I feel my feelings won’t kill me. You know what is else is amazing? I didn’t think about getting high or drinking or having a baby or taking medication or anything else to avoid feeling my feelings. I just allowed myself to feel that shit and cry because it absolutley sucks losing your beloved mother.