Still Rippling

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about losing my Mom as a young adult.  It is the post which brings in the most searches.  It is the post with the most comments.  Every couple of months, a new person (or two, or three) will comment and say, “Me too.”  Each time I am saddened, and humbled, and grateful to know that I know I’m not alone, and maybe my commenters do too.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mom the last couple of days.  The Steelers won on Sunday after all.  A friend of my Mom’s has been in contact with me recently, and today posted a photo of her for me to see on Facebook.   I just got done looking through about a dozen other photos that he sent me tonight via email.  I said this in a note to him: 

You know, I have so many photos of Mom–a whole album’s worth and then some, but I have looked at all of them so often, and studied them and memorized every little expression. It’s so nice to see photos of her that I haven’t seen, and see an expression I didn’t expect or have memorized. It makes me feel a little closer to her for just a second. Like she’s more than just a memory for that one little instant.

I miss my Mom.  And again today I was wearied and exhausted by the truth that I will go on missing her this way for all the rest of my life.  I have written here ad-nauseum about all the ways and reasons I miss her:  her wisdom and advice, her presence in my life, and in my children’s lives, her humor, and on and on…  I miss her.  And that just isn’t going to stop.  Some people would tell me that it should, but all I can tell them is that it won’t.  That missing is a much a part of me now as the joy that washes over me each morning when my children greet the new day with radiant smiles and kisses for Mommy. 

I still contend that the timing of my loss was unique…. was complicated.  It’s always unique and complicated.  But as 50+ people shared with me in the comments about losing a parent in early adulthood, it’s almost as though something developmental goes a little nutty.  I am still feeling the ripples of losing her when I did.  I was talking just today with a friend about how it seems that since dealing with losing Mom–her sickness, and death–I just don’t feel like I have it all together.  Ever.  I think part of that is my personality.  Part of it is the scatter-brained nature of Mommy-brain.  But I can’t help but wonder if part of it is this ripple effect that I’m still feeling from my Mom’s death.  My relationship with time is a little off.  My follow-through on communications and projects somehow gets left dangling over and over and over again. 

Some might disagree with me, but I feel that I am in a place of acceptance in my grief.  This is what it is.  Life has moved on in many, many ways.  I can’t go back.  I know this.

But something about this shattering of how I anticipated my life to look for much further into adulthood…  Something about the picture I had in my head 5 years ago of life as a mother with children, as life as a woman experiencing life…  Something about what I anticipated to go on for longer as a daughter of this wonderful woman…  Something about all of that keeps me off-balance.  The loss and the subsequent derailing of so many of my previously unknown expectations leaves me floundering in ways that I can’t even quite express.  They came at such a pivotal time. Just as everything was being built…  Just as I was piecing together what my life was going to look like as ‘a grownup’…  As I was putting together some pivotal pieces of the foundation of the rest of my life, one piece of the puzzle was thrown out…  I just still feel off-balance, off-kilter. 

But there is value in the tension.  There is value in knowing that security should not come from my expectations of how life will look.  My heart is different.  My lense for looking at life is altered.  I’m grateful to have come through the loss of my Mom.  I’m grateful to keep going.  I’m grateful that she gave me the strength to do so.  I’m grateful that I know a bit more about the depth of hurt and loss in this life.  I am grateful for the broken pieces of me that are gaining strength in their mending. 

The ripples of my loss go on.  They always will.  I continue to find new ones–some silly, some ridiculous, some deep and painful still. 

But I go on too.  One foot in front of the other.  Trying to make my Mom proud.  Trying to be like her often, but also trying to find the ways I am not like her–to embrace, and accept those…  and often, to be relieved in them.   I guess in those ways, I’m just like any other daughter, huh?  The ripples will continue, and I’ll continue wading through them.  Maybe I will always be a little ‘off.’  Or maybe in facing down the deepness of loss, I’ll become a bit more whole. 

The missing of her will go on.  The ripples will go on.  But most importantly, I will too.

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11 thoughts on “Still Rippling

  1. “But there is value in the tension. There is value in knowing that security should not come from my expectations of how life will look. My heart is different. My lense for looking at life is altered”

    (((Val)))

    While our losses may be different colors, I can really relate to how they change us. I continually get locked into my expectations of how life should look. Just when I seem to get the second foot down and am feeling a little steady, I start to sway a bit and feel like I may fall again. I have talked to God so much about this, you would think I would have gotten it by now. It still suprises me and who knows, it may always still suprise me. But he always seems to pull out hope and mercy and love just when I am about to fall over. You have been a blessing in my life since the day I met you, and you continue to be. Thanks for helping me realize I am not alone. You are definately my favorite “tree”.

    Much Love
    Terry

  2. I will most definitely not be one of those that tells you that you should be over missing your mom. I’m not over missing my daddy and he’s been dead for 29 years. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for the tears to still come and yes, I’ve been told I should have been over his death a long time ago. Sorry, no, I shouldn’t be.

    I’ve moved on to another level – not really acceptance but not the raw grief that I felt that long ago Saturday when I was 19 and my world shattered – but this is the level where my “now” self misses him everyday. That kind of missing is called love and there is no way anyone will ever make me believe I’m wrong for loving my Daddy everyday of my life.

  3. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a parent, but I imagine I would never get over it as well. Thanks for sharing–your thoughts are beautifully worded.

  4. I lost my mom recently n im 2 a young adult aged 20, since then my mind seems blocked,i try to think but it seems im in denial..im the 1st born so i have to be strong for my siblings and my dad, i didnt cry back then during the burial, i fought the tears with all my might..Now i dont how to feel. But im glad to know that im not alone. Thank u

  5. I lost my mom unexpectedly last spring, April 22nd, Earth Day. The irony. She died on the beach in front of our home. I was 20; my sister 19.

    I never have it together. I can’t believe that this is how it will be forever. There will always be a hole in my being that I cannot replace and nobody I know understands it; they are lucky. She was my best friend, now I am an orphan.

    I’m hoping that someday the sun will start shining again. Good luck and I send my love to you.

  6. It has been, oh what is time anyway… it will always be yesterday. 13 years, and now Iam my mom; a beautiful son, now 9 months, her grandson-sent from her in heaven?
    Reading all the comments are sad and healing. What can I say (so much!) We are all feeling it. big. heavy. sigh.

  7. I found your original post tonight, on the eve of my 35th birthday. I went to see a movie, Bridget Jones Baby. My Mom and I read the books and saw the original movie. I’m still seeing sequels to movies we watched together, even nine years after her passing. 30 was hard, as I was pregnant, and that was the age my Mom was when she had me. I so wanted a girl and had my second (and final) boy. My issue now- at 35- is that I’m suddenly feeling like I’ve let her death define my life. I bring it up when my husband says something about doing something with his parents, or when people brag about gifts they get from their parents. I don’t want the damn gifts, I just want my Mom. My father died when I was a kid, my mom when I was 23. There is something horrible about being the last surviving member of your birth family, something that can’t be easily explained until it happens to you. I have ugly cried for over an hour now wanting to find some way to fix this, some way to stop allowing her not being here to stop defining my life but I just don’t know what to do. My husband came in our room to be supportive but can’t understand why my birthday is a trigger, and why 35 is different than 34. It just is. Also, My hair stylest accidentally went too dark in my hair and I found myself looking at my Mom
    In the mirror since that appointment last night. Thank you for your article. You have pinpointed something that no one else seems to understand.

    • I hear you. I really, really do. My husband lost his Dad when he was in college and he told me early in my journey with grief that “It doesn’t get better. It just gets different.”

      I have had to fight to not let it define me also. Losing her changed me. It is sewn into the fabric of who I am now. I see the world differently. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her. I also still watch TV shows, and movies that have to do with her. I actually have some clothes of hers that I still wear. All this to say, you aren’t alone in registering the loss in every day ways still today.

      That said, you deserve to be whole. It will never be the same kind of whole again. It will be one with scars. The strength she instilled in you has gotten you this far. And it will also help you in the journey to heal.

      I am listening. I am wishing you a happy birthday and so understanding how a birthday can be a trigger. Sending you warm hugs and understanding. I’m glad you commented.

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