I am not one for research but recently I experienced something not a lot of my friends have had to experience: the loss of my mom. This forced me to move outside the norm and seek advice elsewhere. I found so many articles about, “How to cope with loss” and, “How do you accept the loss of a loved one?” Sadly, none of these articles or published medical journals helped me. I did not find any article helpful, nor was I comforted by the contents … And, I know why.
My mom battled Multiple Myeloma, a bone cancer, for years. She had multiple spinal surgeries and bone marrow transplants, and this past December, our Lord saw fit to call her home. There is nothing about that day I don’t remember. I was actually literally driving to the airport when my dad called to tell me that she was gone.
My mom was effortlessly elegant, magnanimous, and regal. She had the heart of a saint and the presence of an angel. Although 1,500 miles separated us, my mom and I could not have been closer. I learned all life’s lessons through her teachings. Her perspective, though always positive, never weeded out the bad. She knew the value of a broken heart, adversity, pain, and failure. So even now, in her death, she is teaching me.
I am no longer searching for answers and am certainly not looking for sympathy from anyone. I am refusing to cope, accept, or overcome this loss. I am going to feel it. I navigate each day as it comes. I don’t want to overcome, accept, or deal with her loss. I want to feel it. Every sharp, physical pain. The inability to breathe when I think about life without her smile.
When someone asks me, “How are you doing?” I have no shame in saying, “Miserable,” because I am! Some days are much easier than others, but each time the sunsets and rises and I can’t call her is like another tiny knife in my heart. And when I am honest with people about how I feel, they don’t know how to respond. That is so scary to me. Why are we conditioned this way? Life is not a highlight reel. It’s not an Instagram feed.
The fundamental problem with loving deeply is that we expose ourselves to hurting deeply. The strength to carry the burden of loss was given to us by the very same love. My mom’s love made me strong enough to love fiercely. And that means I will also have to feel the loss equally fiercely … for a while. Like an open wound, it will heal, but the scar will always be there. And scars show wisdom. So, in the future, when I find myself facing adversity (because it inevitably will come again, such is life), I will be armed.
And my advice to you is to do what you need. There is no guide or handbook when it comes to grief. No perfect answer. Listen to your heart. Don’t suck it up. Don’t shut down or lock people out. Feel everything and love hard. For the source of the pain is also the answer.
And seriously, please reach out if you ever need a friend. I am here for you. We can feel it and get through it together!
All my love,
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