While my Mom’s health had been on a downward decline for four months, her death was still unexpected.
When my brother called me that Sunday morning with the news, I cried, but as the oldest sibling in Arizona, it was my responsibility to tell my two sisters and extended family.
I went into autopilot.
I’d lost Den only nine and a half weeks earlier and didn’t have the wherewithal to be a source of support for anyone.
Mom made her own final arrangements, and I knew there would be a simple cremation and no funeral service.
Not having to make immediate travel plans was a blessing and a curse.
I wasn’t in a good place mentally or physically to travel, but by not gathering with my siblings for a service, I was cushioned from the full impact of losing Mom… and it would remain that way for four and a half months, until Christmas morning.
My children all came home for a week during the holidays, our first without their dad. There was tears and sadness, but also, so much laughter and silliness, I truly felt lighter. I woke up early for my Christmas morning call to Mom, anxious to tell her how well the kids were doing. I had my phone in my hand before I caught myself and it was like a gut punch.
I couldn’t call Mom, now or ever again.
I lost all the progress I’d made on my grief journey that day. Starting over was especially hard not having either of my two biggest cheerleaders to lean on.
It’s hard to explain how difficult January and February were, while it also seemed easier. Mom and Den had similar faith-based, but pragmatic views on life and death, but I found more comfort in my grief for Mom than for Den.
Perhaps it was because Den was my husband and of the same generation.
Or maybe simply because Mom was MOM. The woman who gave me life, raised me, and instilled the basic values I still hold dear; or how she told me on many occasions how proud she was of the woman I grew into and the wife and mother I became.
These are some of the thoughts that ramble around inside my head and my heart, and lead me to feel sorry for those, who for whatever reason, never had a strong relationship with their mother. They missed out on learning and sharing so much with her while she was here.
And, even more after she’s gone.
On May 30, 2019, I lost Dennis, my husband of over thirty-five years. Ten short weeks later on August 18, 2019, I lost my eighty-four-year-old mother. My grief journey has not been an easy one. While we know grief has five stages, there are many situations and feelings some bereaved never get to express, and I’m using my first AtoZ Challenge to say things I’ve never been able to give voice to. I hope you’ll follow my journey.