Grief Expectations

When I think of myself one word usually comes to mind. Strong. Yep, I can handle anything – well, God can handle anything, and He likes to share His strength with me. I’m actually horribly weak, but I “think” I’m strong. Okay, now that I’ve completely confused you – you’re exactly where I am. Confused.

For the eleven months that I experienced knowing my mom was going to die, I envisioned what it would be like for me to go on without my mom. I envisioned a woman who cried at the appointed times, Laughed when a memory would pop into my head, and would grieve for a few days curled up in my bed, not wanting anyone near as she held me close (without being there).

But that’s not the way it is. As much as I want this grief to fit into my plan and work the way I expected. It’s not. I practiced my response to the question, “How are you doing?” – “Better than I expected.” I would say – with complete belief in those words. I didn’t go to bed for days. I enjoyed her memorial service. I even wanted to speak and share about her life. Not very many tears that day – better than I expected. The first couple of weeks back home seemed “normal.” Better than I expected.

Then one day, I was just walking through the kitchen and the pain of loss nearly floored me. Where did that come from? I wanted to go to bed and let her hold me. But she was dead. And there would be no more holding. I try to “conjure” her up and talk with her. But she’s gone. I hear her voice soothing me, telling me everything with be all right. But it’s not all right anymore. Sobs come too easily. I remind myself, “I’m better than expected.” Then I scream inside, “You are not!” If I had any excess money I would run away for a weekend.

I pour myself into project after project. Life – take my full attention! I don’t like grieving. I hate going to bed at night and suddenly feel the need to purge all the sadness from my body. My pillow gets wet each night from the tears I can’t fight. Many nights I fall asleep holding on to myself tightly. I wake up sore – and puffy eyed.

I scold myself. It’s not like I lost a spouse or a child! It was my mom. My body heaves with pain. I never understood how people used the death of a loved one as a life marker. But now I do. I find myself wanting to say to people, it’s been x amount of time since my mom died. They don’t care. I didn’t really care that much when people would say that to me. I didn’t understand.

I’m trying to “get it.” What happens when someone we love dies? What happens to us? I’m beginning to think they take a part of us with them. I feel this amazing pain – like something is “missing.” Like, a part of me has gone. It’s too bad it’s not the icky parts of me. But I’m afraid it’s the best part of me that has gone.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around sobbing and crying all the time. But…there is this heaviness on me. I feel weak because I don’t feel like I can hold up under the pressure of the heaviness. I sigh. I don’t ask God why. I get it. And I know all the right answers. I envision her playing in heaven. I see the incredible lightness of her being now. But knowing the answers isn’t enough. I didn’t expect that. I thought I could just see her in all the glory of Heaven – and be all good with it. But I’m not all good with it. She was my best friend. She needed me.

It’s been x number of days since Mom died. It’s been 5 weeks. I expected the grief to be nearly gone – but instead it’s hit me hard. Maybe it’s all the stuff I’ve been going through – all coming to one place at one time. Fighting is too hard now. Maybe, this is the place I needed to get to? Maybe I needed to stop being strong. Maybe, just maybe … it’s a time to mourn.

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