The Grief Notch

I haven’t written after my mom died three years ago (age 71, breast cancer).  It’s like a switch turned off or something.  I haven’t had the words to put anything meaningful together since then.  But I’m going to try to plow forward this time.  I think that I need to get to the other side of this thing.  

Part of me simply feels gypped that I don’t have a mom anymore.  I really need someone to turn to for advise sometimes, someone to lean on for wisdom.  But I don’t have anyone now.  (Did I ever in the first place, though?)  Whatever had been broken between us certainly could have been fixed with time (I surmise).  Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen as we get older and older: everything just kind of fixes itself?  

I feel very much alone, which normally doesn’t and hasn’t bothered me in my short life.  But now, the aloneness just has this echo to it that I don’t like.  I want there to be somebody who has walked this path before, someone who can say, yes, I’ve been there and here’s how I navigated it.  Isn’t that supposed to be the thing that binds mothers and daughters together?

I thank God for my own children, and it is with this thought that I simply can’t let myself spend much time laboring over the fact that life and death aren’t fair.  I have my own family to hold together, and I need to be fully present for my own children so that I do not repeat the follies of past generations.  This here is my life’s sole focus, the thing that keeps it all clear for me.  So while it’s true that I never really got a chance to fall apart at the seams in grief, I’m not sure that I can ever really do that.  I’ve had to process it all in a way that still allows me to function at least semi-well so that the wheels don’t totally fall off the wagon on the home front.

That’s a lot to expect someone to do, grieve quietly and neatly and un-bothersome-ly.  Impossible, really.  And yet here I am doing it, already having done it.  Will I ever get credit for it?  Of course not.  But I know that it’s what I had to do.  So I did it.  I handled my stuff without making it other people’s problem.  Without needing anyone.  I think that’s the other thing I feel cheated on: having to go through pain and turmoil without a shoulder to cry on.  I’ve cried on my own shoulder.  And I guess that’s a mile marker or something.  A notch of achievement in a way.  Because we’re all going to get to a place at some point in our lives where there’s not going to be anyone who is available or aware or caring enough to really help us in our distress.  

I think that’s why it’s important to know that God comforts us in our sorrow.  If we can somehow grasp this, it allows us to not fall into the pit of despair that is right there in front of us after we’ve lost someone.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT).

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