I discovered the homemade Mother’s Day card inside a box of her things and read what I’d written at the bottom as a young teenager.
“If I didn’t have you what could I do?”
(I ruminated time and time again on that question. It was years ago I first wrote about it, but as Mother’s Day approaches here in 2021, I’m sharing this post again. We often do not know for years what we are going to do without our mothers.)
Indeed, I told myself, sitting in her house among her things, This is the question I’ve lived with since she died.
This is my 8th Mother’s Day without Mom. Among my friends are those who face their first Mother’s Day without their mamas. For others, it’s been many years.
We all manage to get through it, but not so easily. I hope by the end of this post, you can personalize my ideas and cope more easily.
Grief forces us to start over. It forces a huge start over. And then there are the smaller start overs in life. That’s where I am today.
It’s scary. It’s uncertain. Starting over also is full of possibilities. Full of new opportunities. Full of growth.
I invite you to come with me. For the past few months, I’ve been preparing for a start over that will impact our relationship here. And this week, I am launching. (Update: Another delay! I found someone to help with the techie stuff, but must wait for his schedule to clear.)
It’s scary. Uncertain. But also full of opportunities for growth.
I will be redoing my website and blog over the next few days. You may continue to see changes through next week. I’m not a techie, but if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking you with me. All followers will be transferred to the new website.
COVID-19 has brought parental death out of the shadows by smattering the world with orphans, young ones and adult ones. What will this mean for those grieving a mother or father?
I’ve already seen more chatter across social media platforms on parental death. More people expressing the loss of a mother or father. More people feeling that they can express this loss.
And yet, because so many are grieving a loss due to COVID, some of us may feel we cannot express our loss. We may get the subliminal message that the collective grief outweighs our personal grief. And so, we push down the moments of utter hopelessness and sadness.
We don’t cry. We don’t phone a friend nor ask for help from a support group.
What a complex social dynamic added to the existing complexities of grief! I’m not surprised that the totality of COVID losses is creating what’s been called a tsunami of grief.
The Horrible Body Count
More than half a million people have died in the United States of “deaths involving COVID-19,” according to officials. The oldest die in greater numbers. They are the most likely to be parents. They also may be grandparents.
I am a perfectionist, and I suspect there’s a little bit of perfectionism in all of us.
I mean, we’ve all got that nagging voice in our heads that fears failure. The nerve – it even bugs us in the midst of grief. Depression. Loneliness.
It judges us. It berates us. It tells us everything we are doing wrong. Everything we should be doing right. And everyone who has it all together.
Well, I’m here to say that you should give yourself credit. Even if you aren’t doing grief like your mother or your best friend or your neighbor. Even if you haven’t been out of bed in a week. Even if you still collapse in tears recalling how you missed your father’s last Christmas.
I knew Mom would die, and I knew I couldn’t prevent it, but the one thing I asked God is that I’d be with her when she took her last breath.
But I was not with her. This hurt as much as the fact that she was dead.
I felt I had devastatingly failed her. And there was no way to apologize. No do over. I balled out my eyes and beat myself up over this “moral failure” for years.
But at least I saw her a few hours before she died.
COVID-19 & Goodbyes
I cannot imagine what it is now like for thousands of people who cannot sit with their parent or another loved one as they struggle to hold onto life. Of the people who cannot say goodbye due to COVID-19 restrictions.
My heart goes out to them. I know how important goodbyes are. To the sick. To the ones who remain to grieve.
Important actually isn’t the word. How about vital? How about essential?