December 13th and a chilly Friday afternoon. Local weathermen warned of an apocalyptic snow storm. As is tradition, Southerners in small towns bustled about snatching up bread and milk. Schools cancelled and businesses closed. At 9am I looked out the window to find a snowless landscape. Not a speck of snow had fallen. We were all very disappointed.
We’ve hit the second major marker on this journey through grief: on December 2nd my mother was dead 6 months. The grief has settled into an methodical, practical sort of despair. Most days I am fine. Most days I keep busy with the business of life and raising a family and building a brand and even if I know she is dead, I’m at the stage now where I can say that and think that and not be instantly devastated by it.
But, there is a morose sort of cloud that follows me. I feel its weight in quiet moments, lying in bed, or taking a bath. When the noise has all but ceased and I am alone with my own spirit, I can feel the deep ache of sadness, lingering still within my ribcage.
Heartbreak can be such a physical ailment.
When Carrie Fisher passed a few weeks ago, I wept. When her mother passed the next day, I fell apart. One can die of heartbreak. I believe perhaps that Debbie Reynolds did. And I have often wondered if Heartbreak might take me as well.
But, it hasn’t. Instead there is just this everyday sadness. The dreary little wisp that scoots along behind me, silently keeping me company, never questioning and never judging. And some days I grab hold of it and pull it down and cry into it, going over the same old hurts and same old words I’ve already said thousands of times.
I miss her. I love her. I hate her. I need her.
But, she’s gone.
And I still can’t fix that and still can’t make it undone.
My life is forever changed by the loss of my mother. Mother’s Day will always bring a tinge of sadness. Her birthday will be left uncelebrated. Movies and television shows about mothers and daughters will be left unmatched and unwatchable. God knows I want to watch the new Gilmore Girls…but, I can’t. Not now. And maybe, not ever.
Grief is an everyday process. It’s an everyday bedfellow. And while I keep moving forward, picking one foot up after another, the sadness remains, tucked away in a safe place, in a pocket sewn to my bones by the woman who birthed me and has since left me behind.