I’ve been feeling overwhelmed the past few weeks. It’s not grief, but life. A lot of life happening. Having an anniversary for the first time with someone new, and Valentine’s Day. My sister coming to visit me, and Mike’s daughter Shelby having her 9th birthday. Meeting a whole bunch of Mike’s cousins, aunts and uncles I’d yet to meet. Hanging in my first art show since moving to Ohio. It has all been good things, but I haven’t escaped the triggers or the frustration of feeling easily overwhelmed.
Widow brain has been back in full action… to the point that I have literally forgotten at least 50 times every day what the plans are, what time things are happening, and what day it even is. It’s scary when this comes back. And it’s hard. I feel like every little thing becomes more difficult and scarier. I feel vulnerable. It reminds me of earlier days when the grief was fresh and my mind couldn’t even manage the simplest tasks. When I felt totally broken.
I’m exhausted and trying to keep afloat, and finally hit a wall last night. The tears came. I just needed to cry… and it turned out I needed to cry about a lot of things. I needed to cry about all the change in my life that is scary for me. I needed to cry about missing the familiar. And I needed to cry not so much about missing Drew but about missing my mom. That has been the biggest trigger for me in the past few weeks… Shelby’s birthday. I cannot help but remember when I turned 9 years old. It was the last birthday I had with my mom. For Shelby, it is the second already without her mom. I think it has unknowingly brought this loss in my life to the forefront for me. Watching her is like a mirror to my own childhood without my mom.
I know this isn’t directly related to widowhood or the loss of a partner, but it is about grief. A long grief. I have been missing my mom for over 24 years now. It comes and it goes, and usually I deal with it just fine. It’s normally never very acute anymore. More of a dull ache. But this experience, planning birthday things for a little girl, has had me feeling the pain deeper than I have in years. I want so badly to be able to call my own mom up and talk to her about the myriad of things I have ZERO experience with. I want to have her advice and wisdom, and just her voice on the other end of the phone to tell me I am doing just fine. I want her to be here to celebrate with us too. I want her to be able to know this wonderful, quirky, silly kid. And she never will. This is all a whole new level of feeling the loss of my mother that I have never experienced before.
I’ll make it through. The way I always do… with friends, and the other mother figures in my life helping me along. But it is certainly a solid reminder that our grief never leaves us. It is a part of us, just as our loved ones always are. The longing to have them be a part of all the big things in our life never fully goes away. It isn’t easy, but the ones we love are worth it. I will never feel bad that, after 24 years, I still cry because I want my mom. Nor will I ever feel bad when 30 years from now, I cry because I miss Drew and wish he could be around to experience something in my life. Or here to talk through something with. Or laugh with.
No matter how much life keeps happening, I will always return from time to time to my grief, and my love, for the ones I have lost. I have to… because love that runs deep requires it. I will never stop wishing they were here.