Loss is a funny thing. I have only lost my parents. There are times when I feel guilty for being sad. I read about women who have lost their children or spouses who are widowed young and I think-this is not natural. This seems unimaginable and certainly unbearable. Those are times I feel guilty when I hear or read about people who live with catastrophic loss.
Losing your parent is not catastrophic. It is a very natural part of life.
The sadness of loss is not a regular thing. I don’t really feel sad on holidays, or her birthday or mine. No, the weight of grief gets heavy in the tiny moments of life.
I was walking through the mall a few weeks ago and someone smelled of her. Mom’s perfume was not worn by many. It was Lanvin’s Arpege and she deemed it too expensive to buy for herself. I got her some a few months before she died and she wore it every day from then on. I never smelled it anywhere else. It was distinctly her.
I caught a whiff-in the mall-in New Jersey and it almost took me out at the knees. It has been almost five years and yet just a whiff of perfume can all but knock me over.
Three of my girlfriends, who are also moms, have recently bid their mothers a final Earthly goodbye. Their loss brings my grief right back to center stage because now I hurt for them.
I remember those early days when you wake up and everyone in your house is just so…alive and it feels all wrong. There are still lunches to be made and dishes to be done and noses to wipe. Yet even with all these mom duties, all you want to do is curl up in your bed and cry for your own mommy. But time marches on.
I remember those first few months when the fog lifts and you almost forget the hurt. You laugh-like normal. You feel good for a minute. The sun shines. Then one of the kids asks when she gets to see Grandma again, and down you go.
I remember getting through all the firsts. They are milestones in your grief journey-a way to mark time back to normal. I remember getting through all those milestones and realizing at the end that normal didn’t look the same anymore.
I hurt for my girlfriends as they start their new normal. I know they will be fine, but I hurt for them anyway.
Losing a parent may be natural, but so is the pain.
I hurt for my girlfriends. I still hurt for myself.
This is when I need my mom the most-when I am hurting. Because, you see -she wouldn’t allow it. I would call her to whine and she would respond with a swift kick and a bit of get over it real fast. She would point out all that was good in my life-which is plenty. She would tell me to stop wallowing. She would say we are only given what we can handle. So get up, young lady and handle it.
Loss is a funny thing.
I really wish I had my mommy to help me get over not having my mom.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.