a few thoughts on grief

helllllo. hi. welcome back!

I've taken some time off writing (smack dab in the middle of the #the100dayproject).

Truth is, I've been in a cocoon of sorts. Sorting out my feelings and giving myself some space to process.  Note: this does NOT come naturally to me.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I took time off this daily project to enjoy spending time with some of my favorite people in Europe. This was only partly true.

Frankly, the first day I missed during this project was April 30th. April 30th is a weird day for me. It's the anniversary of my mom's death (which I refer to as her death day). It's a weird day because it's significant, yet there's not a tidy way to honor it.

My mother passed away 4 years ago and each year the roughly two weeks between her death day and mother's day is a strange place which kind of suspends time and when my feelings are closer to the surface and more in flux than normal.

Even though I know this, it sneaks up on me each year. A friend of mine asked if I take time off work during this time. I haven't before, but going forward I may be more intentional about it. Side note: there's an episode of Gilmore Girls I relate to where we find out that Luke takes a day off and has a "dark day" on his dad's death day since he doesn't trust himself to interact with people.

what to do when your mom dies

This is something I legit googled when my mom died because I had this feeling that I've come to be familiar with annually (at least). I felt like there was something I should be doing,  something time-sensitive and important. Something no one else could do but me. 

Not much came up on google at the time, but here are a few things that seemed helpful.

  1. Save voicemail, ask other people if they have recordings of my mom's voice. I did this. I loved it. It may seem less weird to do this shortly after the death, but a few months ago my mother-in-law found a voicemail from my mom and it was the loveliest surprise to hear her voice.

  2. Write down memories of your mom. Things that remind you of her, songs etc, do this now to relive nice memories so you can't forget. I could not do this at the time. I actually couldn't read or write at a decent level for about a year, which was an unexpected symptom of grief. Also, it frankly seemed like a very heartbreaking thing to do.

  3. Ask people for photos of your mom. You can pretend this is for the funeral/memorial but really you just want to try to get as much of your mom around you.

  4. Let people help you and ask for help. THIS IS THE HARDEST FOR ME. This was much easier leading up to my mom's death. Afterward, it felt strange. However, I will say not doing this throughout my grief process was quite detrimental in several ways. Not accepting or asking for help brought out a very ugly side of me that I'm not proud of. I've since read that we can be unkindest to the people we love the most, because we trust they will love us anyway.

we help others by letting them help us

The truth is, I think the nagging feeling I get that tells me I should be doing something is telling me to sit with my grief and snuggle with it. Get to know it and be more comfortable with it. 

grief is not linear

As a result of observing myself dealing with grief and mourning the past 5 years, I'm going to add one more thing to the list.

  • DO NOTHING (aka do as little as possible) I went back to work less than a week after my mom died. I thought it would be good to "keep busy" so I didn't go crazy (also $). Each year I've been reminded that "keeping busy" is not how one effectively processes a huge loss. I'm not usually this slow of a learner.

For my favorite books and some other resources that have really helped me on my grief journey, you can read this post.

me & mom 2013.jpg

 

Thanks for reading! 
This blog post is the 31st of 100 daily posts. :)
I'm participating in the 100 Day Project. You can read my plans for the
project here.