In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

It's Finally Time to Feel

Holy Cow.  It has been so long since I have written.  For so long, I was actually afraid to write.  I was afraid to say anything, out of fear that I may say the wrong thing, or too little about a topic, or too much?????  I mean, "Silence is Violence," so even if I didn't say anything I could not only be wrong, but violent!!!!  In fact, I probably am violent, since I was silent for the past couple years. My deepest apologies. 

I want to write today, first, because I feel like I need to process some feelings of grief and also, to honor my mom.  She loved my writing and she was definitely my biggest fan ever.  I don't equate her love of my writing as being a good writer, but I think she would be a little sad to know that I hung up my computer the past couple years.  My mom died exactly two years ago today, the night before the world full on shut down.  

It seems crazy now, but in the weeks following my mom's passing, death seemed like it could come knocking on all of our doors at any minute.  One slip of the mask and you could be a goner!  I remember laying wide awake for hours after I got take-out for the first time and I realized I didn't sanitize my hands after I touched the restaurant's public pen. I mean, that is a high level of fear when using a pen causes fear of death!!!!  What in the ever loving world???  With that level of fear, I couldn't even pretend to process the death of my mom.  That high intensity fear did not last long, but in it's place came a medium to low level of an absolute constant state of fear.  Do any of you have any stories about your nutty behavior at the start of this madness?  I hope I'm not the only one?

I went out to see my mom's grave site this morning. I was thinking back to when we buried her.  It felt like a risk when my dad and I hugged on that day for 3 seconds.  Otherwise, we stayed far apart and we were outside! I saw my dad like twice in about 6 months after my mom died and my sister was in England.  My friends showed up with posters on my driveway, standing 6 feet apart, which was so beyond thoughtful, but I'm needy . . . I need up close and personal.  There were no hugs, no coffee dates, no hanging out in friends' homes, no interaction, no funeral.  It's so awful to think about it having to go through the death of a family member with very little interaction from friends and family.         

I don't know if many of you out there reading this are single parents, but my spouseless household felt extra double spouseless during Covid. I can certainly see how any situation could make Covid more difficult, so I'm not saying I had it harder than other people, but I'm just saying that it felt hard as the only caregiver, the only decision maker, the only breadwinner, the only entertainer, the only handy man, the only cook, the only cleaner, the only shopper, the only disciplinarian, the only spiritual teacher, the only adult and most impactful, the only parent left in this world for my children. I think the pressure to stay alive for my kids felt enormous. I know death pretty acutely.  It is permanent and irreversible.  It's quite the wrecker.  So, while I desperately wanted to be a person who had so much faith that I lived my life without fear, I daily gave way to my flesh of fear. That daily fear takes a grandiose amount of mental and physical energy when we are talking years, not minutes.    

When my mom died, I think I was using all of my inner resources to keep my family alive, in the same way that as a passenger I think I can keep the car from sliding off an icy road, if I worry hard enough.  Rationally, I knew that I had no control over an invisible virus, but the intense wrestling between living free and doing everything possible to maintain a physical heartbeat, was constant.  My resources were naturally so much more limited.  Probably most people felt that way???  There were so many reasons that I and everybody else felt completely tapped.  Because I had very few resources to  draw from, I had no bandwidth to grieve my mom's death.  I remember so many times talking about how happy I am that she is in heaven.  I felt relieved that she didn't have to endure Covid.  She had a chronic cough, which would have caused a number of side eye glances if she ever went out, so I rationalized that her timing on death was quite good.  I was stunned at how little I cried, based on the fact that long before she died, I cried countless tears at the mere thought of her dying.

As it stands now, I don't think that being rational was actually the whole story.  I have to wonder if I just didn't have the capacity to feel the grief of my mom's death and my break-up with my boyfriend last summer.  (I mean really???? How did this world expect me to go through a serious break-up without my mom????   I must say, however, my dad has done a great job filling her shoes!) I know the feeling of grief all too well and that is what I feel right now.  Now that life feels so much more back to normal and now that my brain and my body isn't convinced that it needs to work so hard at survival, I have the ability to feel the pain of grief. You would think that I would have been a bit more of a pro at it, but during Covid, I literally could just barely feel the edges of it, when I should have been squarely underneath it.  In some sense, I'm relieved that I am not heartless, but on the other hand, I want to get through it . . .  FAST!  It's so uncomfortable.  At least, I have lost a few of the Covid pounds I put on over the past couple years.  I guess that is one major plus!

While this weight of grief is not particularly fun company, I do have so much to be thankful for.  If my mom called from heaven right now, I wouldn't be talking about this little stint of pain. (Surely, it'll pass, right?)  I would be talking about how fun my kids are and that I wish she could hear them play piano.  I'd tell her how Story and Macie are pretty amazing cross country runners and basketball players and that I was sure Spencer was going to die, every time he played Varsity goalie as an itty bitty freshman.  I'd tell her that 2 of my kids already have their sights set on specific colleges and what they want to study.  I'd show her pictures of my new kitchen and explain how I love it and how I now need her to send me some money to refill my bank account. Just kidding.  I'd want her to know that I took my kids out for dinner the other day, because all of their teachers talked about how kind they are to others and how at that dinner, we laughed so hard together.  I would tell her how my relationships with my sister and my dad have grown, now that she was no longer the hub of information.  I probably wouldn't be able to refrain from complaining about how rotten the Covid era was, but I really do think I would be sharing all that I'm proud of and excited about in life.    

Two years!  Wow!  I've gotta say, those two years did not fly by!   

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