It's been exactly one month since my mom left this life. In some ways, it seems longer and in other ways, I can't believe how quickly that month passed. It has been such a mix of emotions for me and I admit that it has been much harder than I imagined it would be. While I am glad that she is free from her suffering, I miss her immensely. I feel like I am finally able to mourn her loss fully and completely. Bits and pieces have been going for a long time now, but it's been difficult to fully grieve while she was still here physically. And we learned to love her even with her disease, so there's almost a second loss here. It's a complicated grief process.
For the two weeks following Mom's passing, we had family in town. My adopted-daughter was here, some aunts and uncles and friends from out of town had come in. My brother and his family stayed here (at my dad's house) until Mom's services were over and it was a big comfort to me to have him here. I worried about my dad, so it was a relief to know that Joe was there during that rough transition and Dad didn't have to be alone in the house while everything was so fresh. We drew close together during that time and in many ways I feel like our bond was strengthened. So many times throughout this journey, I have felt alone and it was nice to have sibling support to get through this. As a family, we made funeral arrangements together and ran our errands together and spent every evening at dinner together. I think there was maybe one hour of time throughout that entire two weeks that I was ever alone.
The week of the funeral, my boys went back to school. The week after, my daughter started junior high but she only had half days that entire week, so I wasn't alone for most of the day. Last week was my first full week of this new life I am adapting to without Mom. It was such a strange feeling to get the kids off to school and not have anywhere pressing that I needed to be. I almost didn't know what to do with myself. Don't get me wrong-there are plenty of things I could or should be doing with my time. My sewing business has orders to fill. The foundation always has work to be done. The housework and laundry are never ending. There's grocery shopping/errands, meal prepping, bill paying...yet I have been struggling with the motivation to get any of it done. I have been slowly pushing myself to get up and be productive (it's not in my nature to sit around and do nothing), but I admit there have been a few days where I've gone back to bed for a bit to cry, or visited Mom's grave instead of tending to my chores. Other times, I have taken time out to read a book or to write in my journal or look through pictures, or do other things that I'm usually "too busy" to do. I'm learning to be patient with myself and allow myself the time I need to grieve. I have always felt like I needed to be strong and pull myself together for everyone, but I'm realizing that I need to take the time for myself to grieve. It doesn't mean I'm weak. Sometimes all I need is a good cry and then I'm able to pull myself together to get through the rest of the day.
As for my dad, he went back to work a couple of weeks ago. He's like me (or I'm like him); staying busy is how we get by. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, ha ha) my sister and I live close by. Her kids are over there often while she works and we go over often and invite him out. He has made it his Sunday tradition to visit Mom's grave after church each week. This past Sunday I went with him. He leaves her flowers in his Big Gulp cups, since they haven't installed the vase yet (I say that that is how Mom knows it's from him; anyone who knows Dad knows that he likes his Big Gulps). The cemetery had also been taking their sweet time on getting Mom's temporary marker in, so Dad took the liberty of making one himself. As it turned out, they finally got her marker in, but I like Dad's better.
The sadness in losing my mom will never go away; I don't expect it to. I will always think about what she's missing while I'm raising her grandbabies; about what they are missing by not having their grandma in their life; about what we all are missing by not having her here. I only hope that the sad moments will become less and less as time begins to heal my wounded heart.