My blog started as a way to reach homeschoolers. It still is, but I think it’s important to remember that there are real live people behind the screens too. Writing has been my way to work through some heavy things in life. It is both my escape and my path too. The way in, and out. Finding equilibrium
when things seem upside down, isn’t easy.
The Holiday That Wasn’t
Thirteen years ago on Halloween Eve, my mother died. Needless to say, Halloween was a disaster that year. My husband took the kids out trick or treating, while I tended to the rest of the family, and the tasks of death like phone calls, and what to do with thirty pans of lasagna dropped off by friends and loved ones. A short eighteen months earlier, I buried my father so I knew how to manage planning a funeral.
What I didn’t know how to do, was manage the grief that years later, still creeps up.
Moving On Isn’t a Choice, It’s a Mandate.
I’m not sure we ever move on from losing a mother. It is still raw, and is a pain that reaches down to your bones. The death of my mother left me to wander back into the universe, where everything looks the same, but nothing ever is. Every moment and every breath weighs me down like concrete blocks; I’m aware of my surroundings but unable to move.
Grief Shows Up In Unexpected Ways
Grief shows up in unexpected ways even now. When the undertakers removed my mother’s body from our home, the windows were closed. I can still hear their footsteps on the dried fall leaves in the driveway, and then… the closing of the hearse doors as they slid her body into the back of the car, like groceries bags after shopping. I ran outside to see the car drive away; the crisp fall air that catching my breath and shocking my lungs into spasm. In a moment, the car was gone. And so was my mother. Kids walking on the street chatting about their costumes had no idea why I stood in my driveway, staring at an empty road. Back inside the house, the furnace clicks on, because mom was cold in those remaining hours of her life. The tea kettle whistles. I cry.
Fall is hard for me. I’m weepier at the slightest upset. I retreat for reasons I’m not really sure of, and friends ask where I am. It happens organically, this pulling back from life around me. Grieving has an expiration date out in the world, but our hearts and minds don’t comply with a calendar date. It has been many years since her death, and as time marches on, I think less about the actual date as it approaches. It wears less on me; feels less heavy as each year passes. The pain that is felt even years later, is equal to how much she loved, and was loved. It is small consolation to say I am less grief filled than more than a decade ago.
Grief Has a Secret Life
Grief, has a secret life.
It hides itself in plain view under the fall leaves.
It is resilient.
I Move Around Grief
I move around grief as a different person now. I step around its edges, spending a shorter time in its midst as each year passes. Compartmentalizing it, so life can go on usual. I push it aside, demanding it visit another day, so that I can pull energy from the joyous times. Joy is easier than heartache.
I have no hopes of rising above grief, but learn to walk with it.
Some things must be carried.
The balance, the soft hand-holding from friends and family, remind me of the bouyancy of life. The reminder that even in death, there is life.
My mother would want me to regain my equilibrium. To be balanced in both the tenuous, and easy parts of life.
So I try.
Step by step.
Bite by bite.
Bit by bit.
I work it out.