Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Hole

This last month without Mom has been a series of ups and downs. I'm learning a lot about grief and how absolutely strange it is.

I guess the best way to describe it is that it's like having a hole in me. A gaping hole that once was filled--with love, friendship, a mother-daughter bond. The hole was carved out when Mom died, and that part of me is missing now. It won't come back.

Having a hole carved out like that is shocking, and painful. It took my breath away and left me desperately trying to refill it...only to find that you can't refill that hole. It's there now. Like a broken vase, you can glue it back together, but it will never be the same as it was before.

I will never be the same.

That's not to say that I won't be alright. I will be--I am--alright. I'm even finding laughter and joy and beauty, even while that hole aches. The edges are still raw, taking their time to heal. This isn't a wound that just goes away. The edges will scab over, and new skin will grow over it. But the hole will remain. You can't replace a Mom, your biggest cheerleader, your life-long best friend.

So I'm learning to live with the new me. The me with a hole. Never entirely the same as I was before Mom died. It's not that I'm more sad, or angrier, or more serious. I'm just...different. I'm missing a piece. It takes some getting used to.

So I take it one day, one step at a time. The pain lessens, the shock dissipates.

The hole, however, is permanent.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Tough Little Broad

Two days before she died, I watched two nurses wheel my mom into the Emergency Room. She was severely dehydrated and her blood pressure had plummeted.

In the ER, she was hooked up to a couple of fluid bags and started perking up very quickly. When the bustling activity around her had subsided, I walked over to her bedside and took her hand.

"You're a tough little broad," Mom told me, smiling and gently squeezing my hand. I just laughed through my sobs, and answered, "I'm trying..."

Am I?

I suppose so. I've traveled, I've survived some hurts and some trials. But nothing prepared me for how much I miss my mom. How strange it is that she is simply no longer living. How every once in a while a wave of grief will wash over me, taking my breath away.

On Saturday, we had her celebration of life. I sang "In My Life" by the Beatles, accompanying myself on the ukulele. People have been telling me how brave it was to get up there and sing, but I didn't feel brave, I just felt like the best way I could honor my mom was in song. After all, she was the one who dragged me to those earliest piano lessons.

Brave. Tough.

Honestly, I'm just a woman whose inner child is hurting right now.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Pennies From Heaven

There are some who believe that finding small coins, especially pennies, on the ground is a message from someone who has passed.

My own religious and spiritual beliefs are a muddled mix of hope and "I don't know." But Mom always believed that when she found a penny, it might just be a message from her own mother. "Penny from heaven!" she'd exclaim, picking it up.

I pick up change when I find it--even pennies. Is that strange? Who cares? Anyway, I pick them up. I stick them in my little coin sorter and save up all that loose change in paper rolls to put in my savings account. Trust me, it adds up.

A few days after Mom's death, I returned home to my condo after another busy day helping Dad, and decided to walk to a nearby gas station for some M&Ms. It was hot out, and I was in a hurry to return to my air conditioning, a soothing shower, and the quiet of my home. I walked along in my customary way--booking it.

Then I saw it: on the ground, a penny, heads up. Images of Mom filled my head and I could hear her in my mind, saying, "A penny from heaven!"

The tears came fast and hard as I bent down to pick that penny up off the ground. Was it a message from Mom? A sign that she's okay?

I don't know.

Nonetheless, that penny is tucked in a little box where I keep her rings when I'm not wearing them.