Thursday, October 10, 2013

3 months

I promised, early on, that I wouldn't be one of those people.   The ones who give shout outs on Facebook, "talking" to deceased loved ones, who've been gone for decades.  Marking EVERY single anniversary of their death with a post and a lengthy write up about how much they're missed.  
But, I felt compelled to write a post today,  after realizing that today marks 3 months that we lost Mom.   It's amazing how you remember dates after a loved one dies.    I used to start statements with "I don't know how long it's been since I........."       Then, one day, you do remember the little things.    When I got my hair cut last week, I remembered the last time I had it cut.  July 12th.   The day before Mom's services.     When I'd go to the doctor and they'd ask for the date of my last period, or when something "started" bothering me, I had no clue.  I'd try to gauge dates but it was always approximate.   This last time I went to the doctor and had to offer up a date?  I had the date down to the hour.  July 5th.
My sciatica was acting up the day Mom was brought to the ER by my sister.  She told me to sit because I was standing... and I said I couldn't,  because it hurt to sit in a chair.  Especially a hard chair in the ER.   I know it was before noon; I had texted my sister that something wasn't right and she flew back to the hospital, probably knowing what Mom already knew.

What I can say, about this past 3 months, is that I haven't reached that point of 'it gets easier as time goes on'.   Many people have offered that piece of wisdom, but, so far, it hasn't rung true for me.

  I read that there are 5 stages of grief : 

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I'm not quite sure which stage I'm in yet.    But I would be willing to bet that I'm stuck right smack in between 1 & 2.   Although, truth be told, I'm really finding that I've got quite a bond going on with #1.     It's comfy here and I'm afraid to move on to the next ones because #5 just seems so far away right now. (not to mention: 'unwelcome')  

 If it weren't for my memories - OUR memories - that my sister and I have, I might be a lot worse off. Thank God we're so close and we have this bond - We laugh more than we cry... but we still hurt, together.. and individually.
I keep remembering a conversation that I had with my sister last weekend, when we were discussing Mom, as we often do.  When I said to her.. I might appear to be, but "I'm not ok" -   I was mentioning how Saturdays feel like my worst days - and I'm not sure why.  I always find that Jeff and I end up talking about and remembering Mom and it always sends me into a tizzy.  I've found myself literally sobbing and trying to talk through my blubbering, to my husband, just trying to express what I was feeling at that very moment.  I feel like a 5 year old.  I got so angry 2 weekends ago on our ride home from dinner, and through my sobbing and spewing tears on my lap,  I just started mouthing off about people who don't appreciate their parents  or taking them for granted. For all the fights and things left unsaid.  The apologies that were never offered, the fences that were never mended.  It sucks to just fall apart at some of the LEAST opportune times but it can be so therapeutic.    It seems like once I get it all out, I'm totally fine.  And yeah,  I don't get that either.  How I went from a complete, teary mess, to being completely calm and collected?   I've always been the 'kid' who held it all in, even as an adult. But, lately, with what's been the first BIG loss in my life,  it's out of my control and I succumb to the damn grief - EVERY SINGLE TIME.     The last good sob session, I was recollecting the day at the hospital, when Mom passed.   My sisters and I were huddled at Mom's bedside and I just remember my little sister being on the right of me, just falling into my side with her head hung over in total despair as she sobbed into a blanket.   In that moment, she was a little girl to me again.   A little, helpless, adolescent girl that needed me.  So I held her and rubbed her back... not muttering a single word.  Sometimes I forget that we actually watched my mom die.   Those are the hardest words for me to say and I haven't said "die" or "died" since that day.  I always say "when Mom passed".   Or I say "Mom's services" - never "Mom's funeral".   That, I would think falls right into Stage 1:   Big fat denial.   

I seem to go through a lot of  "I still can't believe it" days.   I was so sad one day,  I told my husband I was finding myself questioning things and needed to know that Mom went to Heaven and wasn't upset with me.    I said, half jokingly, "Maybe God will let me do a trial run"... Jeff got all emotional and said "No" - and that he wasn't ready for that.

The craziest part of this grief process, for me, is that I really believed I was ok.   In the weeks after Mom died, I was doing so well I was scaring myself.  Woo, I got this!   I thought that I was one strong woman!  And then slowly, in recent weeks,  it has crept in.   I started falling apart anywhere I could.    I was having mood swings, finding myself being bitchy, and then panic attacks?  What the hell was that?  I wasn't that person.   There are so many raw emotions that have taken over and have made themselves cozy.   I constantly question things, wrestle with the 'what ifs' and 'why nots' and relive some of the worst moments.. leading up to and after Mom's passing.   Why would anyone do that?   I find that I just can't help it.  It's not really voluntary, as far as I can see.   In the week or so after Mom died, I checked in with my sisters and brother to see how they were coping.   My brother never answered so I asked his girlfriend.  I was worried about him because he was like a stone at the hospital that day.   Until.... I grabbed him and hugged him, telling him to let it out like we were.   I felt like I was conducting a ceremony that day - Trying to keep everyone calm and encouraged about where Mom was going; finding peace in her no longer fighting the battle.  
So, yes, this whole "grief" thing is the pits.   And I know it's too early on, to even think that I might be close to feeling any better, any day soon.   It's not like every 10th of the month is a complete nightmare for me.   At least, I don't really see it that way.  I think about my mom EVERY single day anyway, but the 10th just makes it a little more difficult and it brings back so many memories.  I thought it was so sweet, that on the first month anniversary of Mom's passing, my sister and I each received beautiful heartfelt cards from each of our own good friends- offering their continued prayers and encouragement.  I thought that was such a gesture of friendship that they remembered and they wanted to check in on us.  It meant more than they could ever imagine.

I've actually looked into and thought about going to a local grief support group. I don't know what to expect, really.   I just imagine walking into the room for the first time and feeling overwhelmed beyond words.   I'm afraid I'll start bawling or just freeze up.   I do think it could help to be among other folks who are going through grief and loss, and can relate to all of these feelings.    I know that there is no magic word or formula to eradicate the sadness or the void but I think I'm going to try to attend at least one session.  Have any of you had any experience with grief support or bereavement groups?  I'm so curious to hear about it, if you have.   My mom left behind a 7 year old granddaughter, her first grandchild, that she absolutely adored.. and I know that she too is struggling with the loss of Mom.   There are times when she won't even mention "Grandmom" or look at a picture.    I made my sister and her a mini album with pictures of Mom through the years and my sister said that M wouldn't even look at it, she refused,  until a few days ago - but she asked Tammy to look at it "with" her.   It breaks my heart, maybe even more than my own feelings of loss, that M is so young and is grappling with grief like we are.   She absolutely loved my mom, she spent so much time with her and did so many things that she enjoyed, with her.  It was a blow to her little heart too and I wish I could heal that hurt.   We don't force her to talk about it - My sister lets her talk when she wants to but doesn't try to make it obligatory.  I can honestly tell you, when we knew Mom was passing, my heart hurt the most for M.   I didn't know how she'd take the news or how it would affect her at such a young, impressionable age.  You want to believe that there's a time and a place to tell a child something like that.. What really is the best setting for that kind of news?    There's no good scenario, I don't think.    The day we picked her up from her father's, my sister and I drove all the way down to the shore to get her - and I kid you not, I truly believe that M knew what had happened.   That grand mom went to Heaven.  It felt like the longest ride of our lives.  My heart escaping to my stomach each time I feared that she'd ask about Mom.  Tammy and I were so uneasy on the way home, because we both felt that she knew.   I was so afraid every time she'd talk to us that she was going to mention Mom's name... but eerily enough, she never did.   And that was unusual.   In her bedroom, M has a stash of Mom's things that she's been, evidently, putting away for safe keeping.  My sister found it one day and was immediately brought to tears.    She's collected the simplest of things but to her they are memories and pieces of the grand mom that she so loved and cherished.   I think we've all got our own little box of memories.   They're tangible reminders and they are irreplaceable.  Which is why I was so pissed off when the girl at the phone store "accidentally" erased everything in my phone.  Including saved text messages from Mom.  Wishing me happy birthday, or saying "Good Night, I love you".    Of course, I remember Mom saying those things, so I shouldn't need an old text message to remind me.  It was just nice to have.

We haven't touched Mom's  bedroom or her things yet.   I'm afraid that we will be "disposing" of  the memory in some way.   It's hard to describe the feeling I have when I think about it.   You don't want to make anything final.. as if death wasn't already.   I still have mom's sweater in my car, and I can't bring myself to launder it let alone get rid of it.   It still has her scent.   The last time I cleaned my car out, I held it up to my face and made sure it still "spoke" of her, and it did... and for that moment, she was there with me.  
Sometimes I just feel so emotional and unable to control the tears or the hurt, but I try to remember that it's 'normal'.   That's what I hear, at least.   One of the things that I will forever remember someone saying to me was "It's ok to not be ok".   I felt such relief when he said it... I actually thanked him.   Just those 6 words were so profound and I hold onto them, whenever I think that I'm carrying on with this 'grief' thing a little too much.  I don't know when I'll be at ACCEPTANCE's doorstep but for now, I'm standing still and getting through it, every single day. 


  1. Hi Dawn,
    So sad to note about your Mum's departure.
    You brought out well those pleasant memories of a loving mother.
    Take courage.
    Yes, let me repeat those words uttered by someone to you:
    "It's ok to not be ok".
    Yes, indeed "It's ok to not be ok".
    Best regards
    PS: The font size to be slightly increased. the present one is too small.

    1. Sorry, I forgot to mention one thing here,
      Please post a photo of your loving mother an of course your sister's too
      Philip Ariel

  2. Dawn, this one brought tears to my eyes. Again, I can't even begin to fathom what you and Tammy are still going through. Words never seem to be enough and the loss of your beautiful mother is something that will forever be aching within your heart. I know this because when my mom was near dying, I was thinking about writing her eulogy because I wanted others to know this incredible woman we were about to lose. I thought that since she was still a voice on the other line, my words at her funeral would be more moving and make more sense. How sickening a feeling is that? Although God granted us more time with her, we honestly don't know when her time will be up. But in the meantime, we just have to cherish those memories we have with each other and know no matter what happens, we will all be together again, Daddy Carmen, Tori, your mom, Glenn, and eventually the rest of us someday. Geez, my eyes are filling with tears just thinking about these things Dawn.

    Your writing has the ability to move people because you are finally reaching deep with your own heart and giving your readers a piece of the love you shared (and still share) with your mother, sisters and Maya. Moving, my friend. Wish I could physically squeeze you but I will send you big hugs through your blog and just know that it will ALWAYS be okay to grieve. No matter what anyone tells you. Hell, I still cry over Glenn and Daddy Carmen. And I won't ever erase Glenn's number from my cell phone. Call me crazy or a pyscho ex-girlfriend, but he was the first love of my life and having his name in my phone gives me a comfort I just can't explain.


Hi, thanks for YOUR thoughts on MY thoughts! Happy reading!