Last week I broke down in my therapist’s office, overwhelmed with missing my mom. I’d been feeling out of sorts since I’d hit that wall I talked about last week—apathetic, even as I forged onward, going through the motions of my tasks each day, both personal and professional. A few days prior, Saturday, Nov 7, was the sixth month anniversary of my mom’s death. I’d spent that day in a gym near Glenwood Springs, watching our youngest, Rayanne, play her last high school volleyball games in the regional tournament.
I’ve been having a lot of moments about Ray leaving for college next fall so that sadness and sense of loss was circling under the surface and then wham! Missing my mom hit me like a tsunami.
I have to confess that it took me by surprise. Even though I know intellectually (and have told others many times) that grieving takes as long as it takes and you never really get over the person being gone, I thought I’d done most of my grieving. I know it sounds crazy, but I really did.
And my mom and I were only as close as she’d let us be. She didn’t like to talk about “emotional stuff” as she called it. 🙂 So we had pleasant, surface conversations that we both enjoyed, but we didn’t confide in each other. That just wasn’t us.
But grief comes anyway because that’s it’s job. It’s reminding me of all the things I loved about her, how much I loved her and how much she loved me.
And the role that grief plays in my novel…well, that’s why I avoided working on it for awhile when my mom was sick and then passed on. Because the church for her service was the church I see when I’m writing the funeral service scene in my book. And the pain my character feels is the same pain I feel.
And I didn’t want to feel it.
But I think I need to.
I love you, Mom. It’s clear I have some grieving to do and probably always will. I know you’ll be with me through this. And I’ll do what I can to pour my heart into my life and turn around and pour my life into my stories, my heart into my books.
Denise, “But grief comes anyway because that’s it’s job.” So true, and don’t you wish grief would become unemployed? This is a true, honest post. My own experience in writing from experience is that it is gut-wrenching. I actually relive those emotions. But it makes for authentic writing, and that may be part of grief’s job, too. We will always miss those we’ve lost, but as our pastor said at my father-in-law’s funeral, “Love never dies.” The love is still and always yours.
I love your comment about grief becoming unemployed. If only. And yet, I think we love more deeply when we know the pain of loss. I agree that some of our best writing comes from the most painful or uncomfortable experiences. Like you, I relive them when I write – this is what happened with my current YA work-in-progress. I was emotionally and physically exhausted by the end of the latest draft, but also there was some catharsis as well and I believe it’s one of my deepest and most authentic books. Thank you for sharing wise words – truly love remains and continues to fill our hearts, as long as we make room. xo
It is so hard to miss the ones you love, regardless of the relationship. Prayers for you! Use your feelings to create:)
Bless you! Yes. That is exactly right. And I’m finding that the more I allow myself to feel, the more I understand not just myself, but others, including my characters. I’m much more compassionate to everyone, though being compassionate toward myself has been more of a challenge, which I think is true for many people. 🙂
It is so much harder to be compassionate for/to ourselves! Hang in there. I look forward to reading what comes of all of these feelings!
I know! My therapist keeps asking me: “If someone you loved said that, how would you respond?” Why can’t we respond to ourselves the same way we’d respond to someone else? I am eager to see where these feelings take me and will definitely blog about it. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Looking forward to reading your blog posts. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
Thank you so much!
Grief has a way of hitting us when we least expect it, often when we are low because of other things.My mom has been gone now for over 7 years. I still go to phone her. I think of her often. BUt that is a testament to our love for our moms. Each of has to follow our own grieving path.
Bev, thank you so much for your beautiful words. They really helped. Sending you blessings with your own journey. xo