It's been nearly five years since I lost my mom and I have been under the delusion that I got this grief thing pretty well under control now.
My biggest piece of advice to those who've lost a parent: You eventually get to a sense of "normalcy" where the emotions aren't always raw and right up in your face. But "the sad" will sneak up on you randomly and often at the most unexpected times. So just feel it and be okay with the sadness for that time.
I'm keenly aware of the "expected" times when they invade my normalcy:
- The beginning of Spring - the time when she'd plant her garden, one of her favorite pastimes
- My birthday - simply because I'm a selfish brat and I miss her spoiling me. :)
- Back to School - we'd go shopping but more poignantly, it's a sharp reminder of another big chapter of my daughters' lives that she isn't a part of.
- Thanksgiving - she was an amazing cook and her feast surpassed all others.
- Christmas - again because it's a sharp reminder of family holiday festivities that my kids are not experiencing. These holidays are very different without her around.
However, there are times that assault me and it usually takes me a few minutes to figure out what hit me.
Today, for example, I sat down to write in my journal realizing that I was at the last few pages. I thought to myself, "I need to go get a new journal out of my stash." And then I sadly realized that this particular journal was the last of my "stash."
My mother was the provider of my hoard. Each holiday, or just because, she'd buy me a new journal. I haven't purchased one for myself in years - and definitely haven't had to do so in the past four years.
And I'm sad. And I'm okay with that for the time.
So, to all my friends who are just beginning their grief journey or are weeks/months/years/decades into the journey, know that you have my empathy. My heart aches for you.