When I look back at the last few weeks I am in awe of how much has changed. It seems like it was just yesterday I said, “See you on Sunday, Mom,” and today there are no more Sundays with her. No more moments, no more arguments, no more quite talks about nothing special and no more time. I’ve learned to miss her.
I have learned that losing a parent does not prepare you for losing another and no matter how many times I thought that it would be the end, I was not prepared for it to actually happen. I never thought it would. I am learning to grieve, again.
I have learned that the days after someone’s death is not when the mourning happens. The days leading up to the wake and the funeral are full of planning, lists and comforting others. You find yourself sharing details that you may not want to share just so they are not trapped inside your own mind to fester. You find yourself sharing parts of you that you don’t normally share in the hopes that you don’t come off to mechanical and cold. You find yourself going through the motions but not really feeling anything.
I have learned that the real mourning happens after the flowers have died, after the thank you cards are sent and after everyone thinks you have had a good cry. The real grief creeps in when all is quiet and you are alone. The sadness comes when you see their smile in your kids. The tears flow quietly listening to the off key notes of a truly good friend singing the wrong words to a favorite Irish melody. The sorrow is in your own laughter when you can’t share with them something funny.
I have learned that the empty feeling will weigh you down and take your breath away but will also give you hope. I have learned that I have some really wonderful friends and colleagues and I did, in fact marry my best friend.
Death reinforces that lovers will leave, friends will come and go but those who you call family will be with you to the bitter end. So kiss your loved one thoroughly, hug your child till they let go and say a little prayer – it could all be over tomorrow, so I have learned.