Four months ago, I watched my mom die. I miss her terribly and think of her daily. I have panic attacks when I think of never seeing her again. I see her face in my mind and long to talk to her, to touch her, hug her and laugh with her. Somedays, I go through the motions of living but most days I just exist. Living without my mom is the hardest, most painful thing I’ve ever done. Most of the time it doesn’t seem worth it. I hold on, push forward and think of my children. Please don’t comment if it isn’t helpful. I’m only making this public so everyone truly knows what I’m feeling. When someone dies, everyone shows up, within days people tend to start leaning away. Within weeks almost everyone has disappeared and you’re left alone to suffer. Losing my mom didn’t go away, the pain hasn’t lessened and the hole in my heart continues to grow. The sun still shines without my mom, but like today’s eclipse it’s a weird kind of light, dull, colorless, lacking warmth and not at all bright.
My mom had this plant that a friend had given to her when she had heart surgery. The plant had been struggling the last 6 months or so of my mom’s life. I brought that plant home and I did everything I could to keep it alive but it died, just like my mom. It’s symbolic I did everything I could keep my mom alive and I couldn’t, just like I couldn’t keep that plant alive. The plant given to my mom when my father died I have been able to keep alive for almost 30 years. I’m going to replace my mom’s plant, with something. In her memory..
I’m floundering, can’t find my equilibrium. I need to get out of here. I’m suffocating in memories and feelings. So overwhelmed, can’t figure out anything.
Today we let butterflies go in celebration of our loved ones. Anyone who had lost a loved one in the past 15 months with heart’n home hospice was invited to come. We cut out butterflies and wrote words about our loved ones on them, then we went outside and let butterflies go. Afterwards we had a snack and went home. There was this little old lady there, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I eventually asked her if I could hug her because she looked like she’d feel like my mom. She said yes and we hugged and cried. I cried because she felt like my mom, she cried because I was sad and she’s a mom. I held her hands, her old wrinkled hands and she held mine. I hugged her again and thanked her for letting me feel her. Weird but comforting. The lady that had gone through grief counseling with me (She lost her mom 3 days after I lost mine) hugged me when she left, she said she may never call me but I’d always be her friend because we went through grief counseling together and she was thankful for me. I hugged her back and thanked her for being there with me too. I thanked the counselors and told them I’d be back when they do their next group in the fall. I’m sad for it to be over, I enjoyed having somewhere to go every thursday and having people to talk to, ladies, “friends”. My whole life has been dedicated to my husband, my children, my mom, my dogs, to pleasing everyone else in my life… never me. I honestly don’t know how to “do me”. Time to figure it out.
This was the first set of butterflies we let go. You can’t tell I’m a control freak/mom at all when I try to help open my husband’s butterfly pouch. The lady next to Karl did grief counseling with me, just her and I and two counselors for almost every session (I had to miss one and she missed one.) There was one other lady that came twice, she had lost her husband. I didn’t have high expectations for grief counseling but I’m glad I did it. Seeing both her and I smiling, its nice.
Do “things” hold meaning for you? Going through my mother’s things, I find so many “things” that hold meaning, have memories attached. I found a pill splitter, who cares about a pill cutter? But both Ashlee and I distinctly remember buying it for her when we brought her to our house after her heart surgery. I came across all her cross stitch stuff and lost my wits. You could almost always count on my mom sitting somewhere (her couch, the hospital, your couch, road trips) doing cross stitch. This piggy bank, I gave to my mom in 1997 when I worked at Hallmark (I was 17 years old). My mom loved him and filled him quite a bit full, someone robbed that money but the piggy stayed. She had planned to fill it and take a trip with it some day, maybe I’ll do the same. Behind her piggy is the purse I bought her for valentine’s day. I haven’t cleaned it out…. These things aren’t THINGS, they are pieces of my mom and they are everywhere. No one really understands the connection she and I had. She was a part of me and I a part of her. Tomorrow I’ll go to a butterfly release to celebrate my mom at Heart’n Home Hospice as the last grief counseling group. Friday will mark three months (13 weeks, 92 days) without my mom. It hasn’t gotten any easier for me, to live without her.