Thursday, May 7, 2015

Being a Mom after Losing Your Mom



I didn’t realize that being a mom after losing your mom could be so hard.  Although, I suppose I never thought about it until I was there.
A couple of months ago, the girls and I were in the car when this story came on the radio.  They interviewed this woman who was working on the other side of the world.  I think the story was about whatever job she had.  The reporter asked her how she ended up so far from home, and she reflected that after her mom died, she felt that she needed to run away.

When I heard her say that, I thought, I want to run away too.  And I don’t know where that thought came from, but the idea of running away from this silent companion of grief…well…there was a certain freedom to it.
Then I felt this hand on my shoulder.  It was Katy.  She had been listening to the story and put her hand on my shoulder to comfort me.  We were both quiet.

It’s obvious that the girls are more aware of things than maybe I would like for them to be.  I guess part of me wants to shield them from this grief.  From this sadness and heartache. 
But they’ve seen me at some bad moments.  And I know, deep inside, that it’s ok for them to know that we can be sad when we lose someone that we love.

The girls give me these looks sometimes, it’s almost like a head tilt, where they are wondering if I’m sad.  And sometimes I smile at them.  Even when I want to run in the other room and cry.  And sometimes I don’t smile because I can’t.
I have these lapses.  I’m ok, and then I’m good and then suddenly I’m not ok.  My guess is that my parenting during these past months reflects that.
I wanted to rush through the holidays.  The day after Christmas, Billy asked if I wanted him to take the Christmas tree down and I probably said, YES!, a little too urgently.  He thought it was sad that I was so excited for the holidays to be over.

I suppose it was sad, but anyone who has ever been grieving knows how much the holidays can suck.  Yes, suck.  There is no other word.  And I was delighted to have them over with. 
And then I felt a little guilty that I probably wasn’t the best holiday mom this year.  It’s not that I had a bad attitude.  I just didn’t want to think about the holidays.  Because thinking brought the sadness.  And I was in survival mode.  You can’t take time for personal reflection when you are surviving.  You are just getting through.

So right now, I’m having one of those good times and am finally able to sit down to write again.  At least for today.
My upswing has arrived just in time for a holiday about moms.  After I lost my mom. 

That deep sadness isn’t there like it has been with the other holidays.  There is sadness, and I miss my mom.  But there isn’t that crippling grief.  At least not today.  And I hope not tomorrow either.
Because during these upswings I would like to think that I am able to be the mom I want to be.  The mom who listens to her kids.  The mom who knits with her oldest gal.  The mom who reads poetry with her littlest lady.

The mom who isn’t thinking about running away.
I’m thankful that the lapses are improving.  And I seem to recover faster from the not ok times than before.

I also know that grief is a journey.  It is always with you.  It shapes who you are.
Kind of like being a mom.

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