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Getting There

It still hits me like a ton of bricks. Those moments when the feeling starts, a low heat at the base of my ribcage rises into my chest, and works its way up and out of my mouth as an exhale - Mom. I have been moving along with my life, trying to find my new normal. Some days are okay. Other times it feels like two steps forward, four steps back. Interviewing people means I have to work through my preparation for them. Researching their websites, reading their books, preparing my questions. That takes time, and that type of time is helpful. It provides my brain the activity it needs for purposeful work instead of rumination.

I have moved into mom’s room to work, it felt like the right thing to do. Moved in my desk, and her desk. Created a Zoom background with peel and stick wallpaper. Moved her bed, couch and recliner to the opposite side of the room from where they were. Everything else is the same.

The sheets, still folded in her laundry basket, waiting in the room's corner. The hamper some of her clothes still in it. Her blanket folded on her chair. Her glasses still on the nightstand with her slippers underneath, forever waiting. And my heart still broken. I type that sentence and think well, of course it is, in some way it will always be.

And yet, in this world of ours, we, the grievers, are having a problem, something that needs to be fixed. People view us as those that are holding up the line. “How long has it been? You’re STILL sad?” Why yes, yes I am. I wonder why people say those things? Is it because they are uncomfortable? She was MY mother, why are THEY uncomfortable with my sadness?

There is a part of me that screams in my mind, “am I supposed to be all better?” Is there a chart I should follow? I would love to know because then I could make a plan. In X amount of days I’ll be back to myself, I just have to make it until then.

I wonder how many other grievers feel this way, if this is just how life is now. We lose these big chunks of our hearts and souls and continue on, trying to fit in. Trying to be like everyone else, all the while knowing we aren’t and don’t know when we will be, but we can’t talk about it to anyone for fear of that question. Maybe that’s why we grievers stick together. We would never say to someone, “you’re STILL sad?” No. We say, “Of course you’re sad, how could you not be?! I understand what you are saying.” But that judgement leads us to isolate ourselves and feel worse.

We hold our tongues and say we’re “fine” and believe me, anyone who uses the word fine is far from it. What does all better look like? Will I know it when I see it? When I feel it? In reality, I don’t know when, or if, I will be “all better.” Don’t know when I won’t feel sad and that’s okay, that’s how grief works. It’s a process. As my mother would say, “it is what it is.”

Every night I go to sleep, hoping tomorrow I will feel like myself and everyday I wake up and have that same disjointed feeling. Almost like I’m forgetting something but can’t quite put my finger on what it is. My mind works, but in a morse code type of way. I start a sentence and then forget where I was going with it. I remember something I needed to do and then lose track before I do it. I think I am present, in every moment of my day, yet feel disconnected, like I’m floating. It’s so strange to me how that can exist at the same time. How I can enjoy some things but everything else is just flat.

Right now, in this space, I will not worry about it. My plan is to simply go with it. I place no expectation on my days. If my grief wants to sit next to me all day, so be it. If I have energy and feel like interacting, I do. But the difference is I don’t dispense judgement on myself for either. I am simply being. That’s a new idea for me and I have to say, it’s okay. Just allowing whatever feelings come up to be. To just go with it, placing no judgement, no expectation, is freeing. I guess that’s why they call it a process.


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