The mind is an amazingly complex network. So many thoughts, memories, fathomings and ideas all interconnected. Tightly woven into a web such that it could probably hold water. And for a point of that net to be irreparably scarred by the loss of a loved one causes a chain reaction, your whole mind becomes affected.
My mourning has been extremely private. And to many, probably mostly unseeable. I am a strong man, emotionally I come to terms with the situation I am faced and I accept it as reality. I remember when I was a child and I lost my friend George. At that age I went through all the phases of mourning. I rejected it as reality. I got angry. I tried to reason with God. I went through all the phases and entered a deep depression. It was only when a family from church invited me to go with them to Disney one day that I came out of it.
I won’t relive the details of the day of George’s passing, but I do vividly recall the parents calling me and my younger sister into their room, sitting us down and telling us that George had died. I can’t begin to comprehend how difficult and how painful that was for them to do. I mean, who thinks that one day they’ll tell their 10 year old son that his best friend died? It’s an unthinkable event and to consider it seems unthinkable.
I believe that from that young experience with the mourning process I came to a deeper understanding of it. And that had a profound influence on me and a deep hand on influencing how I handled my mother’s passing.
On the day, my dad asked everyone who was present, family or close friend, whether the believed it was time to take her off life support and I remember a very unusual feeling of calm as I told him that I felt it was time. Something I said in the blog post on my mom’s blog was that we (she and family) had agreed to fight to the end, but not past it. And it was unanimously agreed that we had reached that point. So when the time came, while I was for it, I could not go in to watch it. I couldn’t have handled that.
In the weeks after, I drew strength from the need around me. Those who know me know all to well that I am often driven to be the strength for others. A trait my mother always loved about me and told me so in no uncertain terms. So for the weeks afterward I buried myself in the life around me. I helped anchor my father through this time, I did my best to keep in touch with family, and I threw myself back into work and school before most people ever expected me to return.
You can’t predict the rough days, there’s no forecasting it. Something will happen or some memory will trigger it and suddenly I’ll be in a downward spiral. I’ll miss her. I’ll again realize that I’ll never again hug her, or smile at her, or see her. She won’t be there when I accomplish something. She won’t be there for my wedding. She won’t hold my first child. She won’t share in the joy. Those are the hardest things to accept.
I’ve been reminded numerous times that she never leaves me, she’s always there for me in the ethereal sense. But to be blunt, that isn’t the physical sense. There was no greater peace than hugging my mom. Not backpacking. Not anything.
I have always, in no uncertain terms, noted my status as a ‘mama’s boy’ and I hold to it. While this all has brought me closer to my dad, I still miss my mom. I miss her so much.
Something which was unsettling for a while was the fact that I haven’t cried since mom’s memorial service. I’ve welled up and I’ve gotten emotional, there have been a few days where it has been too much for me and were it not for my friends and family I would have crumbled on those days. But I haven’t shed a tear for her memory. I don’t say this with pride, I wish I could cry for her. It’s something which made me extremely uncomfortable.
The fact that I didn’t randomly cry or didn’t go through the phases of mourning caused me a lot of discomfort. I thought there was something wrong with me. It caused me to wonder stupid things like if I loved her so much, why hadn’t her passing tore me apart? And only in the past few weeks did I realize that it did not tear me apart because she raised me to handle this sort of thing. She raised me to be strong and resilient and to be able to handle just about anything.
I keep things around. I have the program from her memorial service on my wall. I wear the silver necklace that I’ve always mentally attached to her. I drive her car and I keep an angel pin pinned to the ceiling. But even without those things I keep her in me.
Friends assure me that it will become easier with time, and I know they are right, but for now I continue on as I always have. To most I am the same. To the trusted few, they see me at my weakest.