At the end of 2013/beginning of 2014, I chose a word to focus on for this year. That word was hope.
I had no idea how much I would need that word back in January.We decided to move this year. A good move. In my book, a good move is one that you want, and this was certainly one of those. This move was full of stressful inconveniences, as many moves are. I thought that this was going to be the biggest life stressor this year.
Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer.And two weeks ago, my beautiful mom passed away.
I can barely type that without the grief rising to the top. Honestly, I can’t even proofread this post without those emotions rising to the top.
At times, the grief is like a heavy coat, weighing me down. Other times I feel hollow, numb. I seem to feel every emotion possible, every single day.The emotions are always there, under the surface. A colleague caught me off guard last week with her condolences. She summed it up like this, “It sucks.” She lost her mom too. I’ve noticed that other folks who have lost a parent use the exact same phrase. It struck me right to the core in that moment…because it does suck. I was so crippled that after that. A few minutes later, I went into the office of some coworkers and announced, “No one make me cry.” Because that’s how close those emotions were. That’s how deeply the words “it sucks” sum up this pain.
People ask me how I am, which is lovely because I know that it comes from a place of genuine interest and caring. I want to say that I am ok. I want to say it sometimes because I don’t want to talk about it. Other times, I want to say it because I want them to feel better about my grief. And other times, I say it because that’s how I want to feel.
But I’m not ok.And that’s ok.
Here is what I know…one day, I will be ok.I know that there will be a day when I won’t feel the constant crush of grief.
I know that it will still come in waves. Because something that I’ve noticed from those folks who have shared their loss with me is that the grief still rises to the surface. The pain is still there. No one has talked to me about their loss without reliving their own. And many of these folks are trained social workers, people who are taught to put their own feelings in a box. That’s how deep the grief settles.So for now, I will take this in moments. Sometimes I do answer “I’m ok” because in that moment, I am ok. And folks, that’s about as good as we are going to get right now.
And this word that I chose for 2014, hope, I need it more than I could have ever expected.Right now, in this moment, I hold onto the hope that I will be ok. I hold onto hope that my dad will be ok. And that my siblings will be ok. And that my kids will be ok.
In this crush of grief, I need to believe those things. I see others who have overcome loss and I know that we will be ok. We will keep going.Hope remains.