Everyone kept telling me it would get worse before it got better. I was dismissive. To begin with, they were all talking about Thatmom, and my need to be there for her. The words were ominous in tone, a foreboding warning. But I also didn't believe it could get worse. How could things get any darker? How could my grief ever surpass the pain I felt at the hospital? The instant loss, the learning to be without. Things could only get easier.
And then about two weeks ago, it hit me. Unexpectedly, without warning. It was as if the curtain had risen letting the theater of my life begin. Since then, there hasn't been a day without tears. I find myself crying in public at inopportune times. Just last week the mere sound of Thatmom's voice on the phone broke me down in a matter of seconds.
I remember the days after the funeral as a blur and, with one very specific exception of a hysterical breakdown in Macys, oddly still waters. It wasn't that I didn't cry or grieve, but it was at appropriate times, or in conversations with Thatboy - remaining strong for the person who needed me most. I overheard Thatboy telling more than one of his friends that I was handling things "a little too well" and I felt frustrated. I didn't know any other way to handle them and I figured I'd get my own shot at dealing with my grief once I got Thatmom settled. But the weeks went by and although I had moments of sadness and tears, I was definitely functional - at an impaired level. I went through the motions, and did what was expected, things that had to be done. Then there was an improvement where I went above what had to be done. I went out, I cleaned the house.....and I honestly believed things were getting better. Which explains why I was so blindsided.
Thatmom sent me an article from Slate by Meghan O'Rourke: The Long Goodbye which I instantly connected with. The article was written in several installments following the death of the author's mom December 25. Although our situtations differ in that her mother lost the battle she had been facing with colorectal cancer, the feelings and emotions that she expresses are not diminished by the fact that she had weeks to say goodbye, instead of minutes with an unresponsive body.
"Since my mother's death, I have been in grief. I walk down the street; I answer my phone; I brush my hair; I manage, at times, to look like a normal person, but I don't feel normal. I am not surprised to find that it is a lonely life: After all, the person who brought me into the world is gone. But it is more than that. I feel not just that I am but that the world around me is deeply unprepared to deal with grief. Nearly every day I get e-mails from people who write: "I hope you're doing well." It's a kind sentiment, and yet sometimes it angers me. I am not OK. Nor do I find much relief in the well-meant refrain that at least my mother is "no longer suffering." Mainly, I feel one thing: My mother is dead, and I want her back. I really want her back—sometimes so intensely that I don't even want to heal. At least, not yet."
And the lit nut in me loves the analysis she does with Hamlet - a play centered around a son mourning his father. Ms. Rourke is a few months ahead of me in the grieving process and it's good to read that things will get better - although her clouds began lifting around 4 months, which means I have two more months of suffering ahead.
I mentioned in February that I wasn't exactly sure where this blog was going to be heading and I'm starting to get more of an idea. I'm going to go back to using the blog for "thoughts I feel like sharing." (I have a separate space for thoughts I don't feel like sharing) There are those who have expressed that they don't like the things I put on here when it starts getting personal, but I'm pretty sure a majority of them don't read this anymore, and I save my thoughts on them for that separate space. I will continue to post recipes and food - but probably not to the same extent I did before, which I know will lose me one reader for sure, and possibly others who aren't as vocal about the types of blogs they read. But at this time, it's useful for me to have a space for me - recounting day to day activities, feelings, thoughts, adventures (we're working on getting Thatmom to come down to San Diego next weekend if we can work something out with Thatbrother tonight at dinner). I'm hoping that I'll be able to see things in a more positive light if I'm able to take a step back from them as I write.