I sit down with my laptop, opening up my blog's content management system and inhale. My laptop begins bouncing on my thighs as the result of my rapid foot-tapping. I exhale and then slam the top down as if I've seen something inappropriate flash across the screen. I get up to pace my living room back and forth while thinking about whether I have the strength to write this blog about losing my mom.
This has happened almost every day since November. I thought I had more time, and still, it feels as if I've had too much time to be at a loss for words. Although it has been nearly three months, I feel like I still haven't adjusted to life after loss. So far, I feel like I'm tripping over this life trying to adjust to steps that always had the undercurrent of uncertainty. My days are quieter and when it's deafeningly silent, it can be unbearable. As I've tried to get her (and my own) affairs in order, I find myself slower to return calls, respond to emails, and handle anything that involves a death certificate. It cements the heavy reality that she is no longer here. I felt and still feel like I failed her. I took all of the classes to be a good caregiver, I prayed to be a good daughter and for her continued strength, I prioritized her over my own well-being many times, I tried my best to be her protector over the last six years. And still, she left.
Nothing prepares you for this part of life, loss. It's the spiderweb that hangs over the threshold, sometimes you see it, other times you don't. I didn't see this sudden loss I would walk into. I didn't know what I was walking into until I was in it and I shudder at the very thought of any remnants that could linger.
Talking about my mother in past tense is difficult when she is still so present in my life. What I know so far is that her nurturing and foresight have laid the foundation to comfort. Her circles converged with my circles to support me while I mourned. Unconditional love is a part of her legacy, something I didn't realize was foundational to my mother's love now feels ever-present in her absence. Before I could catch my breath, the holidays marched on, one after the other, plus my birthday. Soon, I will celebrate her 66th birthday. I choose to remember the joy that she brought to the lives of so many. I choose to reflect on her incredibly arduous battle why pride knowing that she fought one helluva fight. I choose to remember the light that her charisma beamed upon her loved ones.
No one tells you that you would struggle to see yourself. I always saw myself as a daughter and I came to know myself as a caregiver. That define a big part of who I was for years. Without my mother on Earth and a role that was no longer needed, I feel I need to figure myself out all over again.
I'm still learning what my new normal is. I've been waiting for those Mr. Miyagi moments when everything she taught me would automatically kick in, but it hasn't. The best I can hope for is to feel a little more adult each day.
The wonderful thing and most frustrating thing about grief is that it is as unique as your fingerprint. No grieving experience matches another. There's no template for how to heal from this. I thought there'd be more time for a lot of things, especially experiences with my mom.
I'm slowly returning to moving in a spirit of excellence and gratitude. With time, I'm learning to be more and more present.
For anyone who has to join this club, I pray that you give yourself grace that will bring you back to joy.