Who ever came up with that expression anyway? There's nothing good about it! I hate that expression; officially hate it.
Allie reminded me the other day that my grieving process actually started 3 months ago--the day my mother told me she was terminally ill. I hadn't thought about that. She's right. I can remember talking to a girlfriend in mid-October and describing my feelings at that time. I told her that I had to keep myself very busy every day...exercise; volunteering at school; carpooling to activities, homework, etc. Then I would go to bed early and say my prayers with hopes of falling fast asleep. But then BAM--there it was. The thing I'd been running from all day. I would get a huge lump in my throat and an ache in my chest. And I knew the only way to get rid of it is was to have a good cry. But THIS was a different type of cry. I compared it to nausea. It was full on purging and it was painful and miserable and I avoided it until I absolutely couldn't hold it in for 1 more second. And then I would get out of bed to "shower." In there I could bend over and let out the wails with the bathroom fan on trusting that my family's ears were protected from the pain.
It's different now because grief changes every single day. It's messy and it's unpredictable and just when you think you have a pattern nailed down--one good day; one bad day; it will slap you with 3 bad days in a row. There is no rhyme or reason. I put our Christmas tree up along with our stockings. I even let my friend Jacquie wrap our front porch with fresh garland and beautiful bows. And I felt happy doing these things. But today all I can focus on is the place where my mom's stocking is supposed to go. I still have it. I pulled it out of the box and touched it. I read her embroidered name and reached inside to see if she left any goodies from last year. I remembered how she was the one who started the tradition of putting an orange in everyone's stocking. I don't even know why--I just do it every year because she told me to. What do I do with her stocking now?
I haven't watched the news since Nov 8th--the day my mom was taken by ambulance to the hospital coughing up blood. She never came home. That was election day. I have always loved the news--a big newsie like my dad. But I cannot look at anything pertaining to politics and not remember that day. I can't do it. I can't even be in the same room with someone discussing politics and not remember that day.
I was out of town for a stretch and I have a lot of shows DVR'd. My mom and I watched a few of these together...Project Runway and Dancing with the Stars to name a few. I can't bring myself to watch them. And it's not because I don't want to; I still enjoy them. It's because it makes me sad that she won't get to see who wins.
I don't take those nightly showers anymore and I don't cry every single day. But that lump is there. That ache is there. Eating is hard. Sleeping is hard. And I bawl my eyes out every time I hear a child sing. Go figure?
And did I tell you that I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail? Yup. The funeral was over and it was time to go home and everyone had their plans put together except for me. I hadn't bought my plane ticket home yet. Mark was headed to his dad's house the following morning and bringing the kids. He asked me if I was going with him. "No, that doesn't sound like a good idea; I'm too sad to visit your family." Will you fly home to Colorado then? "No--I'm not ready to go home yet." Will you go to your mom's house and continue to clean things out? "No--I can't be there; its too painful and I need a break." Okay then what ARE you doing? I thought for a moment and then replied DEAD SERIOUS--"I think I'm gonna hike the Appalachian Trail for a month."
God bless my husband. He remained calm, then said--"It's December 1st babe; have you considered the elements? I'm pretty sure people start that in the Spring or Summer. "
Oh...ya. I hadn't thought about that.
So this is what grief looks like. And it's not "good." Stupid Charlie Brown!