Mom - 6 Months IN
In 6 months: 3 siblings and 1 spouse leave us. One sister left before. Now there are none.
6 months IN.
6 months since I held my mom as she took her final shuddering sigh and my world shifted on it's axis.
Now it's 6 months IN.
Not 6 months "later" or 6 months "ago."
It's 6 months IN.
Because there is no OUT of this place.
What have I learned that might help you?
Because even if you can't imagine it in your wildest nightmares, chances are you'll be in this place one day, too. (I don't need to go into all the reminders of what to do if you have your mom here still...but if you need them, go here.)
LOOKING BACK >>MONTH 1 and 2:
There were lots of baths, tears, naps and Netflix. Sure, I knew I was intentionally numbing out here. I mean, 66 episodes of Grand Hotel - that's a lot of numb. I got really good at eating, watching, and bathing all at the same time. (And being totally okay with it.) And, oh yes, her birthday, which happened to be exactly 1 month IN. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. And New Year's, when somehow I just knew I'd be ready to get going with my life again. Because I'd gone so deeply into grieving, I figured I'd done it "right" and I could move on.
MONTH 3 and 4:
Okay, a slightly renewed zest for life. I missed her but continued to feel like... "I did that - I grieved well and now I'm good to go." Slight enthusiasm for work projects that I was proud of. Traveled with my dad, for the first time ever: JUST HIM and ME - a new experience for both of us! Her sister-in-law passes.
MONTH 5 and 6:
Oops. Maybe I'm not done.
Surprise! I smelled a lilac bush and every cell of my being missed my mom. I don't even associate her with lilacs! But there it was on a bright, sunny spring day. My daughter visits and I feel inclined to apologize, "I'm sorry that it's going to hurt like this for you when I die. I wish I could tell you that its okay - no need to hurt so much..." Yeah, right. Their house is sold. Packing 175 boxes + furniture into storage because we couldn't bear to see my Dad lose one more thing. We prepare to take her ashes to their final rest at the grave of her parents in a tiny cemetery in Alma, Kansas.
And suddenly everything is up for me again.
I cry for no reason - or for every reason.
Her brother passes.
Five days later, her other brother passes.
And now there are none.
My heart is still tender.
I feel like I'm in an eddy - alive, breathing, head above water, looking around...not moving, not ready, not yet.
6 months IN.
And no relief in sight.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom - add this to month 7 - it hurts like hell.
What have I learned that can help you?
DO your journey.
Face it and know it will be familiar to others and unfamiliar, too.
Be gracious with yourself.
Gather your people - not to fix anything -- just to make you laugh and make you cry.
Singing helps, too.
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