It is November 1st, and it marks the thirteenth year since I lost my mom.
I know there are some of you who think… it’s been thirteen years. Shouldn’t you be over your grief by now? I know this because I’ve heard it. The answer to that though, is no. No, I’m not done grieving. No, I’m not over it and I probably never will be.
And I’m okay being transparent and admitting that to you, because I know that someone, somewhere, is going through this too and that maybe, like me, she’s just in need of knowing that she’s not alone and that life, no matter how difficult, does go on.
One of the sayings that I heard over and over in the days after my mother’s death is that “it’ll get easier with time”. At the time, I thought… what a load of crap and, hey, screw you and your so-called sympathy. How could it get easier without her? All these years later I can say that while it seems easier, the reality is that is simply just less all-encompassing. Life is really good at filling in all of the moments in your life that were once consumed with sadness.
But when the grief returns… it’s as fresh as it was on day one.
Like a ton of bricks.
Different, but not easier.
You want to know what else? Grief is ever-evolving after mother loss, especially if you are a woman, because you’re not just mourning the loss of your mother over and over again. You’re mourning the wedding dress she never saw you try on. You’re mourning the pregnancies you didn’t get to call and tell her about. You’re mourning the grandchildren she never got to know, and the grandmother your children will never know except for stories and pictures. You’re mourning the little things like going Black Friday shopping with her, and calling her to get a recipe or asking for advice. You’re mourning all of the wonderful roles that a mother is supposed to play in the life of her daughter.
I’m mourning not only the loss of a mother, but the loss of being a daughter.
My mother can’t call me to say Happy Birthday. My mother can’t watch my children for me when I’m sick. My mother can’t wrap Christmas gifts with me. My mother can’t be my mother. I didn’t stop being a daughter because my mother died, but without her… sometimes I don’t feel like a daughter at all. I grieve for what is past and moreso for what I feel should have been the future.
And as for what is present… life goes on. I went with my sister to try on my wedding dress and I married my best friend. I traveled the country and then settled down and had two beautiful daughters, one of whom has a namesake to my mom and one whose eyes are her same shade of grey-blue. I have bad days, where the void in my heart leaves me wallowing in grief, but those are far outnumbered by the good days, filled with life and love and memories. I have faith that the Lord does not long for my heart to be troubled.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Thirteen years, just like that.
I hope that if your heart is hurting because of mother loss, that this post will find you and let you know you’re not alone and that grief does not come with a pre-determined timeline nor is it experienced by everyone the same way. It does not come with a manual on “getting over it”. It’s okay if you never do.
There will be some really great days. There will be really rough days.
Life will go on, and will be better because she was once in it.