I miss my mommy today.
It’s been 45 days since Mom died, and I still can’t believe she’s really gone. In some ways, she is definitely still here. I see her in my daughter all the time. Sometimes her resemblances crack me up, and other times they take my breath away. Occasionally I catch my own image in the mirror, and I see Momma’s nose, or chin, or eyes. I hear her asking me what eye cream I’ve been using or if I know of a good moisturizer. I hear her voice from my own lips when I speak to my husband and children, or when I pop off with some funny observation or misunderstanding like mom always did. I see my mother in my kitchen all the time. She visits me in my dreams. Those are the most sacred and the most real, but these are all remarkable gifts.
Time doesn’t stop for grief.
I haven’t cried hard for Mom since the morning of her memorial service. That morning I cried from my belly. I longed for her. I crawled into bed with my teenage daughter, who is bigger than me. She is the closest thing I have to my mother. She misses her granny, too. That morning I clung to her and she clung to me and we grieved my mommy and her granny. Then I pulled myself away from her and got myself together. I spoke at mom’s service that afternoon. I know in my heart I made my momma proud. My brother said, “I looked at you up there, and I thought, ‘well, there’s mom.'” When the service concluded, I hugged our family and our friends with all the warmth and sincerity of my mother.
…and for weeks, I have kept holding myself together. When the world stops for one, it continues spinning for many. At times, grief has felt like time-lapsed photography on a busy city street. Everyone’s moving past me in a blur, while I am standing still. I’ve lost my mommy.
I’ve shed a few tears, but I’ve mostly rejoined the people who are moving. I have tended to family crises, and work, and children, and laundry and dishes, and driving kids all over. I have tried to set time aside to cry because I know I need to. But then when I do…nothing. So I’ve kept moving.
Grief can’t be scheduled.
This morning after my workout, I sat down in the kitchen to make a grocery list and all of the sudden, tears. An outpouring of grief just burst through the dam I had constructed to hold them back. All the times I’ve told myself in the last six weeks that now isn’t a good time to cry just caught up with me. My son was making himself some mac and cheese, so we just stopped what we were doing and told each other stories about Granny. We knew exactly where she’d be on this Saturday morning: cooking at her cafe and loving every minute of it. He said, “that’s where I’d want to be too.” Me too. I want to be with Momma.
Apparently, grief can’t be scheduled. I’m the one keeping a calendar, not mom, not the tears. Me. I’m the one who needs to let myself stand still on the busy street while people pass by. No one can do that for me.
I’d like to buy a chair for Momma…
When I was a young teenager, my daughter’s age actually, I had a broken heart over some boy. I cried the ugly cry to my momma. Mom was never certain about giving me advice, but she always thought of something great to do to cheer me up, like buy ice cream, or watch a movie together. She didn’t have words of wisdom, but she would do anything to lift my spirits because she couldn’t stand to see any of us get down. That day that I sobbed to her about my broken heart. She let me cry, she listened, and then she took me to Eckerd’s pharmacy because she wanted to buy me something.
Mom bought me a turquoise beach chair with a tropical fish pattern on it. So random, but I loved that chair. I wish I still had it. If I did, I’d buy mom a yellow chair and put it next to mine. I’d cry because I miss her so deeply. She wouldn’t give me advice. She would just sit with me. She’d end up making me laugh because she couldn’t stand my tears any longer…and I’d let her.