Every day since Mom returned to Heaven I have had a plan. I plan to make the most of every day. I plan to get healthy. I plan to write. I plan to get creative. I plan to catch up. I plan to plan until I am exhausted and nothing is accomplished.
Mom teased that I needed a "project" and that she was mine. As her heart weakened there were things that we did together. Yard work, shopping, road trips, baby showers, house cleaning, laundry, window washing... with time she rested more and reluctantly allowed me to mow and mop, while I insisted that she relax a little more and fret a little less.
Watching your parent release their hold on life and slip away little by little, while you are frantically trying to deny what is happening, requires moving more quickly. Listening for every breath requires sleeping less. Praying for cures instead of comfort requires diligence and focus.
When the flowers at the cemetery have all died, the thank you notes are all written, the dishes are all returned and there is no longer a valid reason to move frantically or listen or pray for cures or comfort...you would think you would relax, breathe, sleep perhaps... but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Jules and Todd fixed the leaking bay window and while painting the trim I fell. Nothing serious but I ache all over and have tried to use that as an excuse for my inability to ease back into my life. My life without my Mom... without my "Project". Each day begins with good intentions but I am out of synch. Load the dishwasher and watch tv. Take out the vacuum and watch tv. Mindless tv...not even intelligent tv that I could count as educational or informative. Check the mail. Text someone. Watch tv. Take an Advil and plop in the recliner with my Winnie the Pooh comforter and mindless tv. Depressed? No, not me... I am too familiar with death to get depressed. I have met the slow dreadful death that demands that you eat, drink and breathe the enormous love you hold for the one leaving so that you don't run away as fast as you can so that you don't have to watch... don't have to feel the agony that you are helpless to stop. I am also familiar with death that comes suddenly and rips you to shreds and leaves you to try to find some familiar pieces to put your heart back together... depressed? Me? No, certainly not.
But the truth is, when we can no longer pick up the phone and hear the voice of our Mother or our child or our husband, our sister or brother, or our best friend... When the rest of our life seems to stretch into an eternity that until now seemed like fantasy, we are forced to accept the unacceptable. And it is painful.
There is a wonderful book on my shelf "Transcending Loss" by Ashley Davis Bush. She also has a Facebook page that often says exactly what I need to hear, but even before I discovered that resource, I wrote her a thank you note. I just wanted her to know how much the grieving need to know that the journey changes you and lasts a lifetime. She was gracious enough to respond.
Today she posted this brief message, "Grieving is an exhausting process. Your emotional, spiritual, and physical energy is sapped by so much sorrow and mixed emotions. You must let yourself rest. Give yourself permission to let things go, say 'no' when you can, and restrict your activities so that you can rest as much as possible."
So I felt excused, validated perhaps. Decided to share so that if there are any of you who are beating yourself up over the unmistakable inertia of having a broken heart...don't. We love for a lifetime. We get comfortable with the every day touch, heart to heart with those we love and when, for a moment, the illusion of separation grabs us by the throat and takes our breath away... we are allowed to panic, to be frightened and feel lost, but just hold on.
I had to write to remind myself that this will ease. I know I will eventually sleep. I know that I will stop trying to fill the empty space with chips and pizza. I know that I will find a way to "make the lifelong impact of grief meaningful"... Again ! But for now, I'm going to allow myself some time to get used to the newness of my life without my Mom.
Her sweet kitties, Opie and Elle have come to live with us. They sneak out from under Shannon's bed to eat and pee, but then they retreat to the safety, the quiet and the darkness. When they are ready, when they trust this new home, this new life...they'll come out. They are, I think, wiser than I have been. They aren't trying to rush into the newness. They aren't trying to formulate a plan. They just know what they know and they know they are safe where they are and they will just rest for a time.
It's been a difficult year, I think I will too.