I’ve taken to making up words. I guess that’s what happens after three years. We’ve moved past the point of surviving and here we are in this new reality—”griefing.” No longer adjusting to life without Mom as we are in fact living our lives without Mom. As you can imagine, this brings about a whole new stage of sadness.
While in survival mode the days blurred together. My mind began noting all of the things she was missing. All the milestones, events, holidays and ordinary moments. I would catch myself saying, “Mom should be here.” In survival mode you look at the calendar and note how much time has passed. In this early stage of grief you remember where you were in the days leading up to her positive COVID test, ER visits, hospital stay and ultimately her death. In survival mode you are doing everything you can to just get by. Griefing is different.
Griefing is living daily with this neverending sorrow. I feel like it’s a permanent stage, one you can’t escape. It feels like a step that will neither get better nor worse. The memories exist, but we are now making memories without her. I hate this feeling. The sting is still there, the tears remain just below the surface and yet there is this awful resignation. Understanding that this is part of the human condition doesn’t make it better. Knowing that millions of people feel exactly the same way doesn’t make it any easier. It’s this hidden current that runs through society and no one wants to talk about it. Ever.
It’s interesting to me that in the aftermath of COVID we are hearing more about prolonged grief and complicated grief as mental health conditions. Many are receiving these diagnoses and seeking treatment. And while I understand that some of the characteristics of these conditions are severe (such as the inability to resume daily activites, etc) I also think that our failure to cope with loss has more to do with a lack of communication and overall empathy for one another. I could go on and on about the societal demand to resume our work schedule, home life and the call to return to “normal,” but these things have become a staple of modern living and will lkely never change.
There are some things in life that we will never fully understand, death being one of them. Losing my Mother has changed my perspective on so many things. I now posess a form of patience and compassion that surprises me to this day. I have been humbled in a way I could have never imagined. Empathy has changed how I react to everything. I am different now. I am griefing.
Writing has been my therapy, the best form of solace for my grief. Who knows where I will be in this journey a year from now, five years from now or even ten (if I am afforded that luxury). They say time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. I’ll stand by that.
“A Life Interrupted” is an ongoing series of blog posts dealing with the loss of my Mother to COVID-19.