Three and a half years have gone by but some days I just miss her. Today is one of those days. There’s nothing particularly special about today, no anniversary of any kind, no birthday, nothing. But I woke up and I felt it immediately, a lump gathering in my throat and all morning, my eyes have been welling up with tears, triggered by absolutely nothing. I want my mom, my sweet Mama, who could make everything better with a hug. Instead of a hug, I am wrapped up in a shawl she knitted, the closest I can get to touching her now.

These are usually secret days. I do not normally share with others what I am experiencing on those days when I just want to stay in bed and cry. Something in our society has taught me that this would be a sign of weakness, a sign that I am not “coping.” Must not let people think that I am not strong, that I haven’t “moved on,” I do not want their pity, my subconscious tells me. So I am not in the habit of sharing these days with other people, not even those closest to me. I will acknowledge that they occurred to others only after the fact but never in the moment.

But these days are part of coping. And I’ve even come to view these days as blessings. It reminds me that although each day brings me farther and farther away from her physicality, some of her remains inside of me. The fact that on these days I miss her so deeply means that I haven’t forgotten her or the feeling of her love. This grief has become ingrained in my bones, where it lies dormant on most days but can resurface at any moment. I need these days. I need the time to feel sad and grieve this loss whose scars I have learned will never quite fade away completely. I need to shed these tears so that they don’t sit inside of me, poisoning my view of the world.

I’ve learned to be kind to myself on these days. Not to get frustrated or angry at myself because it’s harder to focus on whatever I need to get done that day. Set small goals. Get out of bed, get dressed, and put one foot in front of the other. Don’t hold back, let the tears flow, if needed, so that I can get on with my day. Close my eyes and take a whiff of her perfume that has a permanent place on my dresser, Cristalle by Chanel (always), a smell that takes me back to nestling my face in the softness of her neck. Listen to soft, soulful music that speaks to what I’m feeling, just long enough to feel understood but not long enough to wallow in the pain. Flip through old pictures of Mom, smiling, living, breathing, laughing. Proof that she was here, comfort that particles of light captured and preserved part of her spirit. Exhaust myself running as far and as hard as I can, until I have sweated out my sorrow. Remind myself that I won’t feel like this forever. That is what todays look like.

This, too, shall pass.

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For anyone else feeling a little down today:

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