Time passes…

No matter how much time passes, it doesn’t get any easier. The time between hurting gets bigger, but the hurt is still there, waiting to bubble to the surface. …not always for warned of the triggers, getting through most anniversaries without too much life interruption. But this particular time of year is just hard. As much as I’ve tried to make new traditions… change my associations with this time of the year… I just can’t seem to … stop… can’t stop that train from charging through.

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From a time when the hurt was a little more fresh… raw…

Why *is* death such a hard thing to talk about?

 

 

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Missing my mom

It’s been two months. Two months since we buried our mom. I went to the cemetery twice today. First I went alone. I needed a few moments to just be there with mom. I brought some flowers and placed them in the vase/holder on Nanny’s plot next to her since mom’s marker is not in the ground yet. I went back later with my girlies.

Last night I dreamed of mom. It was a bizarre situation in that I was pregnant, then delivering my baby(ies). It turned out at their birth that I was having twins. Mom and dad were at the hospital in a family room with the girls, they stayed while we were still admitted and took turns coming to visit us in our room. Before anyone starts asking… there is no plan for Ian and I to have babies. Getting married doesn’t change the life we’ve been living for the last 4+ years. 😉

Mom was helping me with the twins when we got home, she’d alternate between the two girls taking one with her and allowing me time to spend one on one with my daughters. I felt completely comfortable leaving my newborns in mom’s capable hands. She was really the only one I did, aside from their father. Since waking from my dream I just keep asking myself what I will do when I come across those situations in life when mom is the only person I would ever have relied upon for support?

I miss my mom. My heart aches at her absence. Yet, I still find myself looking for distractions to keep myself from letting the hurting take over. I make new friends. I explore business opportunities. I plan mini-vacations. I read up on election candidates.

Perhaps this is it for me. I’ll keep missing her in spurts and not knowing when the heartache will grow to bursting before quickly subsiding again.

These past two days I have felt particularly unfocused. My mind is moving in a zillion directions and all I really want is for it to quiet and to sit with my mind uninterrupted.

I am hopeful that a get-away with a good friend and a complete break from anything that is part of my daily life and its stressors will help me to quiet my mind again. Perhaps then I can allow the pain to wash over me and pass through, rather than halting it abruptly shortly after it begins and forcing the waves to recede.

What would mom say? And a small #12er update

I thought about mom so much today. And yet, I felt I had very little time to think of her at all.

I screwed up my baking and knew mom would have a good laugh with me about it. Reminding me that I usually prove to her that I did not get my baking skills from her. That it was likely just a hiccup in an otherwise wonderful talent.

There is so much happening that I wish I could talk with her about, from challenges with family, to my plans to get back into a good state of health. I’d love to share all the little details of the business I am considering, to hear her thoughts of what I could do to make it my own.

I want her to walk through the door with her exaggerated exclamations at all of the progress we’ve made in settling into our new home. She’d ask after my 12in12 challenge, and how my quest for greater joy in the big picture of life is going. She’d offer me encouragement at my set-backs and bad pain days, and she’d share with me how she feels/felt the same way sometimes. Mom would find the little celebrations, like how I’ve managed to walk everyday (yippee, today is day 25!), and she’d wonder at how fortunate it is that we bought that treadmill.

Mom would remind me, as if I might have forgotten, of what a good man I have found in Ian. How she knows he only wishes for my happiness, and that I only have to ask and he’ll do everything in his power for me. She’d point out all of the things she’s noticed about how he’s taking care of me, of us, of our family. She’d share again her happiness at our marriage and assure me that she was there with me cheering us on.

She just couldn’t hold on any longer.

She’d be saddened at how some things have unfolded since her passing. But she’d assure me that one can only do so much, and that I have to take care of myself, so that I can take care of those precious not-so-little-anymore girlies. She’d remind me that she’s here in all the wonder of life around us. She’s watching over and keeping an eye on dad out there all by himself.

Mom would ask after the books I am reading, and whether I’m still enjoying the book club. She’d ask after my friends. She’d tell me how much she’s enjoyed my photo projects and the annual family photo calendar I created and gave them again. Mom would have so much to say and ask of me, while as always sharing very little about herself.

The one thing she’d tell me of herself is how much she’s aware of my heartache and that she wishes she could take it away for me. She’d tell me that she remembers how hard it was when she too lost her mom far too young. When she’d had to comfort her children who’d lost their Nanny too soon, and look out for her dad on behalf of everyone, including her mom. She’d want me to be comforted in knowing that she eventually grew to accept her loss, and that I too would come to live on in her absence – finding joy in all of the little things and even more in all of the big things.

Mom would remind me that she’ll be here with me/us in every new dawn.

And for that, I thank you, mom.

12in12, Day 8. OR It hurts so … good?

This weekend was a real mixed bag, so to speak. Much like with the Nova Scotia weather and its frequent changes there were just so many different emotions flying around that I think my system has gone into overdrive or perhaps is actually beginning to force some sort of a shut down.

It went from a very positive explorative interview regarding a business opportunity, to highly emotionally charged confrontation, to worrying about loved ones, to successfully meeting challenge without prodding, to a sense of foreboding, to helplessness and loss, to feelings of unconditional love and support, to relaxation, to productivity, to progress, to physical pain and exhaustion, to … on and on, it seemed.

The highlights, the positive events that I wish to focus and report on, begin here.

Today begins week 2 of the 12in12 challenge. I have successfully met the daily challenge so far. On days 5 and 6 I had to get a little creative and fit my walks in around momstaxi services.

Day 7 I got a much needed break, after arriving at dad’s emotionally spent, and took his dog for a walk in the dark. We grabbed a flashlight and headed down to the wharf first where the water was calling me as it softly washed onto the beach. I was reluctant to move on after seeing that the Christmas tree always erected by Santa’s helpers at the end of the wharf had gone up again this year (after a couple of winters that mom and dad had spent away at Christmastime). I could feel mom’s presence right there with me telling me how fortunate they were to have such loving neighbors who remembered and continued the tradition again, for dad. And so a few tears flowed as I walked back up the path and continued along the road past my parents’ home until I could hear the ocean calmly lapping on the shore again as I was once again following the water’s edge. The fog wrapped a blanket around me, secure and cocooning as I needed, and I felt the serenity of the place my parents have made home for the last decade.

After returning to the house we had a nice spaghetti dinner with dad and my girlies, relaxed by the fire, tucked the girlies into bed, had a long chat, and then I had a soak in the hot tub. There is nothing like a tranquil soak on the deck overlooking the silent cove. The fog was so heavy I couldn’t see much of the water, but I knew it was there, absorbing all of my troubles for those moments.

I pictured mom sitting with me as she would have done chatting away filling every silent void with thoughts and expressions of her love of life and all it once offered her. Dad and I both retired to bed after watching the last end of a semi-final curling game. And I slept like I haven’t slept in many, many weeks.

Today, Day 8, youngest girly asked if we could go for a walk. I suggested she invite Grampy, and that maybe we all could go. After lunch we did just that. We carried out some long-held traditions the girlies had with their Nanny and Grampy. It gave them peace to know these things did not have to stop happening even though Nanny was no longer with us to share them. In fact, she was very much with us as her granddaughters chose treasures from their beachcombing that remind them of Nanny and will be used in creations to aid in that for much time to come.

After returning home I felt agitated and couldn’t shake the hurting. As a distraction while the girls were still up and I needed to hold it together, I worked on some new challenges to assist with my 12in12 reading commitment for later in the year. I took the #50bookpledge and signed up for the To Be Read 2012 Challenge.

Once the girlies were tucked into bed, the sadness just rolled over me and I let myself just be – however I needed to be – for a few minutes. I sought out a little comforting and then sat down to write this post.

Tomorrow is another day. Day 9 of the first month of #12in12, just 21 more to go!

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Finding our new normal

The grieving process has so many aspects to it. We grieve the loss of our loved one. We grieve the loss of our future as we envisioned it. We grieve the loss of our daily normal life as we knew it.

For those of us directly effected by that normal daily life it can be the most challenging, emotional, exhausting part of grief.

When my ex-husband and I split up 6 years ago this was most definitely true for me and our girlies.

When we lost my 59 year old grandmother suddenly to liver disease 25 years ago, this was certainly true for my grandfather.

Since losing my 59 year old mother after a short illness with cancer 4 weeks ago, this is absolutely true for my father.

Nothing prepares us for the grief or loss in such circumstances. It is raw. It is ever present. It comes in waves. And it overcomes us.

There are no tried and true answers. There is no remedy for grief. Time is the ultimate healer. Yet, I do try to assist this process along.

Holidays and special occasions bring with them added intensity to feelings. Some of our traditions and rituals bring great comfort with the wash of happy memories that come with them. Others bring an unanticipated painful flood of raw grief.

It’s not possible to stop the hurting, nor is it healthy to try to do so. However, I have found that creating new memories and traditions that will be associated with them have brought comfort. The things that I have found most challenging to face, I tried to change in some way. Letting someone new take it on, or doing it in a new way, and creating a joyful association with the new rituals that will continue with our new normal.

The firsts are always the toughest. This will be our first Christmas without my mom. We will all be gathered in my home, which became the new tradition after my girlies and I moved back to Nova Scotia. Every Christmas that I have them home with me, we host and the girls get to sleep in their own beds before waking up to the spoils of Santa’s mid-night visit. Christmases without my children are very different, and intentionally so.

This year I will prepare mom’s Christmas brunch on the eve. We’ve asked my grandfather to provide a soup for Christmas Eve that he hasn’t cooked for us since he remarried. Mom won’t be here to overfill the stockings with her little extras that could fill a stocking each on their own. I decided to take care of everyone’s stockings myself rather than try to recruit help when no one is in the spirit. And this year my sister, dad & I will prepare the feast without mom’s singing to keep us inspired.

There are gifts under the tree from mom. These will be emotional and special in her all-to-obvious absence. It’s also far too reminiscent of a Christmas long ago, when the three of us kids unwrapped some very special knits that mom’s mom had completed, right down to the wrappings before she became ill herself.

Yet, it will be the first Christmas in six years that dad will have all of his children under the same roof as he. The first ever that all of his children and grandchildren will be. It will be the first that we are all together with my grandfather (mom’s dad) and wife, and my uncle (mom’s brother), just like the many Christmases after we lost Nanny.

Family drawing together to guide one another through a difficult and bittersweet time. Drawing upon the children for the joyful spirit that most of us aren’t naturally inclined to this year, we’ll make it so for the girlies.