Friday, May 10, 2013

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ~Colette

Grief sure is a sneaky thing. Some days, you are just cruising right along and you think to yourself, you know, I think I am doing good. Perhaps better then good. And then, out of the blue, you walk into a store, say a See's Candy store, to buy your granddaughter and your son a treat and almost immediately you feel a panic attack start to rear its ugly head. You feel a lump in your throat and you find yourself doing everything in your power to keep from dissolving into tears. In the middle of the store. In front of complete strangers. You stand there, ever so briefly, as you realize that for the first time in 20 plus years you will not be buying your mother her favorite chocolate to go along with her Mother's Day present. There will be no Mother's Day present. There will be no Mother's Day with your mom. You realize that last year, you were gifted with the very last Mother's Day together. Ever.

And this Sunday, I will not only be a child without a mother in this life but I will also be the mother of a child who has lost her very own child. You cannot imagine the depths of my sadness for my Caitlin. You cannot imagine what it did to my heart recently, as I saw a picture of her holding her brand new, beautiful nephew. Her face exuded pure joy and her eyes were actually smiling, and she was more then okay holding this new life and me, I ached for her to be holding her Gracie. She should be holding her Gracie. But she is not. And as much as that feels cruel and pains me to see a photo like that, Caitlin will tell you that holding her nephew was not difficult. It was wonderful. For he does not belong to her. He is not her Gracie. And she knows the difference. She feels the difference. And me, am I ever proud to be the mother of this remarkable girl. She is incredible and truly walks this road with "Grace" and beauty.

So Sunday will come. And it  go. We will again hit another first. We will surround ourselves in the safety and comfort of each other. I will spend the day feeling gratitude for the 48 years I had with my mom. I will realize how blessed we were that she was able to greet and watch grow, 17 grandchildren. That is so, so much more then many others will ever have. I will miss her terribly. I really will. I will miss Gracie for Caitlin with every fiber of my being. But I refuse to lose myself in the sadness and in the grief. I will choose faith and hope. Because those two things, were the embodiment of my mom. She wore a t-shirt on the last day of her life, not by chance but by choice, because that was who she was. The shirt simply said: "Hope"

And I will read and re-read her Facebook post from Mother's Day last year and the day before that. For her words on that page, the last few months of her life, were gifts to us all.

An early good morning to all you dear, sweet ,loving children and grandchildren and adorable husband (of course he won't read this but I will tell him). How special and loved you all make me feel -each and everyone - 

Stephen, Leslie, Heather, Shannon and Luke - I am proud to be your Mother - I look back and say wow! - we did that - I love you all so much - The Queen Mum - and proud that my (though maybe not perfect) blood flows in your veins - Thank you - Happy Mother's Day from me

Love and miss you mom. We are taking good care of him. Promise.


Birdie said...

I have often said, since my mom died in 2011 that grief is a slippery thing and a sticky thing.

It is slippery, like black ice coming out of nowhere. You go down hard and fast. You stand up again, sometimes embarrassed and walk on. You take the bruises and aches with you, sometimes for day, weeks, months or years. And you never know when you might slip again. Slipping is terrifying.

And grief is sticky because you can be going along about your life and you get stuck. You get stuck hard. You can't move forward. All around us people are moving about but you are stuck. The people around us often do not even know you are stuck. And no, we don't want to say anything because we might get a quick pat answer about how to get unstuck. It would just be better if they just sat with us for a while.

So, I am sitting with you for a while.


Bea Braun said...

What a wonderful wonderful gift your mom gave all of you with her beautiful words. A treasure to keep forever! You are an amazing family and your love for each other is very inspirational. Happy Mother's Day dear Heather. May joy and hope fill your day.

Shelly Turpin said...

hugs to you this weekend

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, Heather. Happy Mother's Day to you.

christy said...

Happy mother's day, my dear friend.
Take comfort knowing little Gracie is in the arms of her great-grandmother on this mother's day. They are smothering each other with love. And far happier than any of us can imagine ever feeling.

blogzilly said...

I don't know what to say. I feel for you kiddo...I do. What else other than that?

Except maybe to unload some guilt to a good friend who might be the only one who can understand.

You know about my mom's thing, and how I worry about how many mother's day opportunities I have left.

Well, I didn't call in the afternoon because of bunch of stuff that needed to get done, and then as fate would have it Bennett would become Mirror Universe Bennett later that day, and Hell broke loose. By the time it was all over, it became very very late. I looked at the clock and to my horror realized my window had passed.

I missed it.

I can only hope, hope, hope that I get a shot next year and that I am not instead faced with this guilt. I don't have your courage, I don't have your faith. My demons tend to win.

You on the other hand tend to kick yours in the teeth. I imagine a lot of toothless demons around your house drinking Hellshakes through a straw. Strength and you go hand in hand.

Hope the day found many warm and wonderful memories for you, and created a few new ones too.

Justine said...

Oh, Heather. Your quote at the beginning perfectly captured grief. It is the little moments. For you it was See's for me it was the peanut butter aisle of the grocery store when I realized I didn't have to buy both chunky and creamy anymore so we both could be happy. Your words are so beautiful. I am going to post this blog post to my widows group. Although losing a spouse is not the same as losing a mother or a child (both experiences I am grateful not to have had), the grief is quite similar I'm sure. The way you have expressed it speaks to my heart.

Cole said...

Happy Mother's day to you dear Heather and your dear ones. What a hard and sad day and what grace you faced it with yourself. I am guessing your Caitlin gets that grace from someone we all know and love. Love to you and yours- xoxo