It is a constant push and pull. Feel better but don't forget. Honor our loss while reintegrating. Tending our hearts when grief is a comforting cloak. And all the while wondering what is real.
I do feel better.
It has been more than 12 years of after. I’ve worked through all the official and unofficial phases of grief. I get that "it" is not over. I wouldn't want it any other way.
I tend my grief like the ice on the bay with long stretches of waiting for the thaw. I learned the hard way to curb any excitement about the Spring break up. The shifting wind will bring it all back in soon enough. Piling up it’s ragged edges every which way.
The shifting wind will bring it all back in soon enough.
Throughout the years of waiting, I employed numerous forms of professional and self-help, implemented some lifestyle changes, some more useful than others. The cumulative effect is “I feel better.”
What kind of mother would I be if her front of mind status was diminished?
In life, I thought about my daughter several times a day. When she was still a living being, my daily decisions, large and small, were filtered through her needs and wants. That continued in my early grief. What kind of mother would I be if her front of mind status was diminished?
And so the guilt, the longing, the worry, the "what would she want" filtering perpetuates and stacks up like a proverbial brick wall, keeping even my dearest loves at arm's length. Often, I just didn’t care anymore.
The grief triggers no longer cause that griping and desperate "I can’t breathe" weeping fest. Now the triggers give me pause in the manner of “oh, yes, there it is” and may contribute to my writing or sharing a memory over dinner with my husband. I am grateful for this shift.
Nothing else compares to the type of love where I get to step in front of the death train, not her.
I’ve gotten to a place where the ice pack has permanently melted and the water is flowing. It’s just that it is still frigid. I want more warmth. I miss the depth of the motherly passion I had for my daughter. Nothing else compares to the type of love where I get to step in front of the death train, not her.
It has been difficult to care deeply. Sure, I show up when needed. I give hugs and kisses. I just wish it felt more real. I used to fall asleep with a despairing “I miss you”. Now it is an “I love you, babe.”
I still cry. I do feel better.
After some time, has your grief experience gotten better? Or are you not ready to consider better? Either way, how does that feel? What might better look like for you?