Letters to Mom 006: Today My Grief Is…


Today my grief is the whole spectrum of emotions. Today I’m writing to you again, mom. Today I’m admitting to the fact that the past two weeks have sucked. They’ve been hard. I’ve missed you. I couldn’t call you on your birthday. I was ok for most of the day. I spent time with friends. But that night was really hard. That night, while it was dark and quiet and peaceful I didn’t know how to not feel alone. I didn’t know how to keep breathing. I didn’t know how to make the pain stop. I didn’t know how to keep going without you being there to tell me it would be ok.

I ended up talking to Chyrs. She was amazing and supportive and we ended up watching Bitten “together” on Netflix. Since she’s in Colorado it was more of us  texting back and forth about how people are stupid and why did that chick go walking through the dark woods at night alone because hasn’t she seen a horror movie ever. Watching the show was stupid, and thoughtless, and it helped me feel connected to someone as we laughed at silly things and joked about sexy professors and somehow I made it through what felt like unbearable agony. It wasn’t unbearable. It was really, really hard, but  not unbearable because I made it through it. Somehow I went to sleep and woke up and it was a new day and I survived.

This past Thursday marked four months without you. Only four months. Such a short time, and yet it’s four months. Four long, grueling, horrific months without you there to help me. And even as I type that I know that it’s a lie. You have helped me. When I meditate you’re there. When my friends say something I need to hear it’s you. When they give me random bits of information that fundamentally change my direction in life, it’s you. When strangers come up to me and tell me that I’m a beautiful soul and the Universe has plans for me, it’s you.

You’re still here. You’re helping me, but you’re not “here”. I can’t call. I can’t come home. I can’t hug you and feel you the same way anymore and so I feel so alone sometimes still. I made it through Thursday, but yesterday, today really since I haven’t slept yet, was so hard. I woke up and took my second test and then spent the rest of the day feeling lost. I went to spent time with Sammi and Josh because they’re back in Orlando, but even that couldn’t “fix” the emotions I was feeling, and I guess fix is the wrong word to use because nothing is broken. There isn’t anything to fix. There is a wound and the only thing that can be done is learning to live with this alteration in my life. No one can change it. No one can make me learn to cope with it faster. It’s just a fact in my life.

Cold,  detached logic. You’re dead and our relationship will never be what it was.

I have been doing things with my life. I have been moving forward. I have been surviving. I had thought because of that, I don’t know, that I was past the pain I guess. But tonight and the night of your birthday prove that I’m not. Those nights prove that everyone is probably right. There will be days, moments, where I’m reminded of your loss and I’ll come unglued again.

Tonight I lost my purpose again. Tonight, after spending all day not knowing what I felt or how to figure it out, I went outside and I called Warren #1. I don’t know why, but after hearing him say hi on the phone all of those emotions came to the surface. I asked how I was supposed to keep going when I keep losing my sense of purpose. Why keep doing things? Why keep breathing through the pain? I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to hurt. I’m so tired of hurting. The past two weeks I would go to class then come back to this room, this extended stay, and curl up in bed and sleep, after being awake maybe four hours I would be so exhausted I could only go back to bed and hope that when I woke up I could take care of the life tasks that needed to get done.

Tonight I admitted that I still don’t understand how I make it through those moments. That I lose sight of why I keep going, doing, struggling. Without you here, what is the point? I couldn’t call you and complain about the test I got an 86 on. An 86 because once again the questions I missed were questions we were told not to worry about because they wouldn’t be questions we were asked. I couldn’t call and hear your voice.

I didn’t have answers to why or how. The conversation kept coming back to that phrase, “I don’t know.”

I was full of so much excitement about the CNA classes, and now I’m not.  In this moment, I’m not. In this moment I hurt. I miss you, mom, and the accomplishment of becoming a CNA doesn’t seem worth it. It doesn’t seem like an accomplishment at all because you’re  not here. Nothing is worth it. Nothing is an accomplishment.

It was a really long conversation. I’m pretty sure you would be happy that Warren and I still talk. I think you would be happy for all of the people in my life helping me through this. I know I’m grateful for them. I know I wouldn’t be half as ok as I am without them.

I don’t feel strong right now. I feel weak and lost. I feel like  I’ll get done with this course and realize that it doesn’t fulfill me the way I was hoping and that I’ll be back at square one, not knowing what to do with my life. I don’t have a plan if that happens. After talking with Warren though, I feel like I would eventually figure it out.

After talking to him I feel like the excruciating weight in my chest has eased. I talked about how I hate how sometimes it feels like an accomplishment to keep breathing, but that if I didn’t give myself credit for doing it that I didn’t think I would be able to keep going. I need it to feel like I’m accomplishing something, succeeding in some area of my life without you here, even if it’s only waking up in the morning and making it to nightfall where I go back to sleep. I made it through the day. I need that to count, mom. I’m sorry that it’s so basic and simple, but I need that to make you proud because I don’t know what else to do sometimes. I can’t to anything else sometimes because it hurts so much just to do that.

I was doing so well for so long that this feels like regression. Backtracking. I was ok, and now I’m not.

I’ve stopped looking at my situation as an outsider. I’ve started letting that evil voice give me shit again. I should be doing better. I should be doing more. I should be more ok.

No, I shouldn’t.

If someone else were to tell me my own story I would be encouraging them. Yes. It is an accomplishment to simply wake up in the morning. It’s an accomplishment to make it through the pain and to keep breathing. Those are things to be proud of. It will always be ok to have hard days and to feel sad. I should feel whatever it is I feel in the moment because there’s nothing wrong with feeling the way I feel.

Warren helped me remember that. He helped me remember something to hold on to when things get really hard and dark.

“I will love you, forever and for always.”

Those were your last words to me in the letter you left. That is my truth. No matter how lost I become, no matter how much I hurt, you love me. You will always love me.

I made it through today mom. I know that seems silly, but I did it. I made it. I didn’t lose. It wasn’t unbearable even though it felt like it. I made it because I have love and support in my life. No one will ever be able to replace you, but there are still people who care and can help me run, walk, crawl, claw my way through the hard times. Today was a hard time and I still made it and tomorrow is another day. Maybe it will be hard, too. I don’t know. But I’ll make it through that day. And the next. And the  next. I’ll keep making it, mom.

I love you. I miss you. And things really will be ok because that’s another one of my truths that I forgot for a little while.

You love me and it will be ok. I don’t know how, but I don’t need to know how. I will find out how as I go.

Thank you for helping me, mom. Thank you for everything you did for me while you were here and for everything you continue to do. Thank you for not giving up on me. I won’t give up on me either, even when I frustrate myself. I promise.


One thought on “Letters to Mom 006: Today My Grief Is…

  1. People say there are stages of grieving and that generally loss will lead you first to denial, then anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. It would be nice if grief were so predictable. If once you felt anger, you would know you wouldn’t be in denial again. If you felt depressed, you would know the anger is over. It’s just not how it works. Those stages all exist in grief, but they’re not nicely packaged. They torpedo your heart in no particular order and each stage repeats more times than any soul should have to bear.

    Until it heals.

    Supportive friends and family and talk therapy and physical wellness will keep the wound from becoming infected, but only the passage of time will heal. It’s grueling and we become impatient for the hurt to end. We do everything we know to do to help the process along, but time is the only medicine for a heart that is truly broken.

    Even then, it still aches when it rains. It still lurches back from peace at a familiar scent or voice or laugh. We adapt to the loss, but we’re never really whole again.

    That’s the power of real love.

    It’s how we know our loss was truly profound. It’s how we know we participate in a relationships that are life-giving; ones that personify love and teach us why we should nurture our friendships and bless people who encourage us and love people who are lonely.

    My hope for you, Jen, is that you will celebrate every success in any way you can. That you will allow yourself to grieve when you need to and that you would be surrounded by understanding, within and without. That you would give space to the hurt, and let it accompany you, knowing that it will not consume you.

    Know that you are loved, and your mother will always be proud of who you are.

    Liked by 1 person

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