I lost my Mom 2 years ago today.
I'm still grieving. A well-meaning person in my life said a few months ago "I think the loss of your Mom is affecting your confidence, affecting a lot of your life. Maybe it's time to find a way to move past it." This person was acknowledging a change in me over the past 2 years. Not that I'm depressed and locked in a room but that something is different with me.
What does that mean . . . move past it? Package my loss up in a box, set it on the ground, and walk away? Even if I could, I don't know that I would. Because with grief is memory, sentiment, a current of love. If I tell myself I've moved past it, that box will show up on my front porch when I least expect it, something will jump out of it and claw me apart.
Grief is not a straight line that disappears into the horizon. It's a curvy line that goes up and down, thins out for a while then widens when you're unsuspecting. I'll have days in a row where I don't feel the weight of her loss, when my new "normal" has settled in. Then I'll see a woman sipping iced tea the same way my Mom did and it's back, the wide line, running through my heart.
I'm sure those days of normal will continue to increase in duration, running into each other for weeks, then months, then maybe years. But there will always be iced tea sipped the same way she did, a Christmas ornament that she would've loved, grandbabies born without her there to welcome them into the world, her robe hanging in my closet that still smells like her. And my heart will skip a beat, I'll think of her, and I will grieve.
Does this affect my confidence? My otherwise optimistic "the world is meant to be lived and loved in" personality? Sure as hell does. Do I feel like my safety net, my ever-present cheerleader is no longer on the sidelines to tell me I'm making the right choices, and the right mistakes? Yup. But that's ok. Death is part of life, and it can change you. Change is also a part of life and not a bad thing. I'll search the crowd for my other cheerleaders, I will. I'm just having a little trouble moving past the empty spot where she once was.
I'm fortunate that my loss feels like this. Because it means she was such a force in my life, so dear to me, so loved to be so missed. She, too, is missing the richness in the lives she created.
There is so much I plan to do with my one wild and precious life. The grief and the knowing of my loss will accompany me along the way, not impeding my joy but rather, weaved into my heart, a wavy unpredictable line of memory.
Linda Cunningham, 2005.