Posted by: Kathy | October 14, 2009

The Journey of Grief

When a loved one dies, especially after an illness, we often say that they are at peace. My mom’s death freed her from the horrors of pancreatic cancer – the unending physical pain, the emotional turmoil. She is at peace and I do believe that. But aside from knowing that my mom was no longer suffering, her death did not bring me any peace.

The day we buried my mom, I laid a flower on her casket, ran my hand over the wood. I couldn’t say goodbye. I wouldn’t say goodbye. Part of the reason is because I do believe that one day I will see my mom again. But I think it also had to do with my own stubbornness. I didn’t want to accept that my mom was really gone. There was still so much I wanted to do with her, say to her. She couldn’t be gone. I wasn’t ready. I talk to my mom at times, telling her about something that happened with the kids, letting her know how much I love her and miss her. Deep inside I hope to hear the whisper of her voice softly answering me, letting me know that she does hear me.

In her book Healing After Loss, Martha Whitmore Hickman writes “It is rough going – this passage through grief. It is a time of soul-searching. We are driven to examine ourselves, to look at what we have lost…it is also a time of growth in understanding – of ourselves and others. It is hard work, and it is done in sadness because we are sad.”

My mom’s death made me take a hard look at myself – who I was, who I’d been, what I wanted from life, and most strongly, what was missing now that my mom was gone. I grew up, going from depending on my mom for things to being the person others look to for answers my mom once had. My mom’s death showed me how important my family is to me, and how my husband, kids, and dad help to make me a better person. Recently, I realized what a big role my mom played in my life, how I looked to her for guidance or went to her for a shoulder to cry on. I now know how close we were, which helped me to understand why her death hit me so hard, why I feel her loss so deeply.

It’s been a long journey filled with many different emotions, mainly anger, guilt, and sadness. I’m working through these emotions and trying to focus on happier times. I know these “bad” emotions will return, but I understand why and how to deal with them. My journey through grief isn’t over, and a part of me will always miss my mom. A part of me will always want her here with me to share in my life, my dad’s life, and the lives of my kids.

A year ago today, my mom went into the hospital because of complications from the cancer. She came home 9 days later, and over the next few weeks became thinner and weaker as the cancer took over. A year ago today was the beginning of the end. I think of my mom every day, but as I go through the next month, I know my thoughts of her will be stronger, more frequent, as I go back to a year ago and remember the final weeks I shared with my mother.

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Responses

  1. I can sympathize with your situation–and have been writing a really similar blog, actually. I lost my mom just a bit over a week ago to metastatic breast cancer. It is hard to believe that she is really gone…especially at such a young age (she was only 49). I know it doesn’t change the “hard work of the soul” that grieving entails, but know that I am thinking of you, empathizing, and trying to navigate a similar path. I am so sorry.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss ! I understand how much it hurts and how lonely a place it is to have lost someone that you loved so much and still do.
    My Mum, my darling Mum, was killed in a pedestrian accident in December and tomorrow is my first birthday without her… the very first ! every single year we have spent our birthdays together and I don’t know how I will get through it. I miss her in every single atom of my body and soul and I feel so cheated.
    People keep making me feel like I am a freak because I am still grieving for the loss of my Mother… they think that because you have lost a parent and that all parents die, then after 6 weeks you should have ‘moved on’.
    I am doing the best I can do just like everyone here.
    Blessings to you all. xx


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