Coping With Loss – Chapter 20 : Uncertainty

My brother asked me to write a few things related to dealing with the loss of our mother. While I am not one for writing; that is my brothers forte, I figured I would share my side of a loss. I can’t help you to cope with loss. In part because i’m still not coping with it myself. Losing someone is a horrible feeling, but losing your mother is hands down the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

I spent the last twenty-two years not discovering myself, but discovering who I am with mother by my side. I don’t even know something as simple as what cleaning products to buy without her telling me. I did whatever she wanted to do because she is was my best friend, and I just wanted to make her happy. I did this for everything, to the point where she thought her favorite places to eat were mine as well, but in reality I hated them. My mother and I did everything together, she was never too busy to hang out with me. Without her here, I realize no one was as available as she was.

My mother never had anything handed to her in life. she always went above and beyond for people, while getting nothing in return. She did everything right as a parent. I’d like to believe my brother and I never turned to abusing drugs or alcohol because her love for us was always enough. When she got sick, I felt my life falling apart. During that time she would leaned on me more then she ever had before. She would always tell me how strong I was and that she was proud of me. I wasn’t strong, I just knew she needed me to hold her like she had done for me so many years before.

I didn’t want any regrets, so I spent every free moment I had with her. At the time I was living a good forty-five mins away. Thoughts of dropping everything and coming home crossed my mind many times, but she always convinced me otherwise. Our relationship started to get stronger as the years passed on. We shared so many stories and secrets; we laughed, and sometimes cried. As the days of hanging out continued, we became usuals at a sushi place near her house. Our phone calls went from three times a week, to five times a day. I tried to learn everything I could from her in the short time I knew was left.

She had a very strong belief in God, something that came out of no where before she got sick. One day after teasing her about having these beliefs, she told me it makes her feel better to know there is a reason all this bad stuff keeps happening to her. She just wanted it all to make sense. My mother was an incredible person who everyone loved, yet somehow she got the short end of the stick in every life situation. It broke my heart to read her journal while going through her personal effects, and seeing all the questions she asked God. She continually asking him “why her?”. She was so scared to leave my brother and I behind, and it killed me to see her doubting the one person who was supposed to give her strength.

No matter what age you are, you will never be ready to lose your mother. A mothers’ job is never done. You can never prepare enough to feel comfortable letting go of your mother, but you have to also know when enough is enough. When things got bad, I had to sit my brother down and explain this to him. She would have never let go no matter how much pain she was in. I knew she needed to hear the words “It’s okay to let go”. That didn’t mean any of us were ready, but we also didn’t want her to suffer. For me I will always have a beautiful last memory of my mother laying in bed, eating her grape popsicle and being a goofball per usual. She would hold my brother and I together because she hated nothing more then having people cry over her. We all laughed, cried, and said “I love you” one last time.

I say that I have no advice on coping with loss because for two years I was trying to prepare of all this. I would randomly cry alone everyday on my drive home from work. When my mother passed, I was at work and speeding down the highway trying to make to home to say goodbye. When I got the call, naturally I wanted to cry. To my surprise though, I felt empty. I screamed, but no tears came from my eyes. I was filled with rage, yet all I could do is sit there waiting to feel something. At that moment I thought the earth would stop moving, like the world would come to a halt simply because my incredibly kind hearted mother had passed.

As I pulled up to my house, I thought my legs were going to give out on me as I walked up to the door, not knowing what would be in store for me after this moment. I took a deep breath, and accepted my life for what it is now. Everyone in my family looked at me like I was a sad puppy. After hugging my grandmother, I went to see my mother. She was just laying in bed, almost as if she was just sleeping. I let myself fall onto her, just wanting her to hug me back.

After saying goodbye to what was once the body of my mother, it was time to inform everyone of the news. I tagged alongside my grandmother as we signed papers and made funeral plans. I felt like a zombie just sitting there in the car. I was going through the motions but still never felt anything. Its like I died right along with her. As my grandmother retold the story of the last thirty minutes of my mothers’ life, I felt myself slowly slipping further away from reality. Watching all these people look at me crying, and hugging me. I continued to feel numb.

Since everyone in my family grieves differently, I found myself constantly catering to their feelings instead of my own. I didnt want to talk to anyone about what had happened. I just wanted all the reminders to be gone. I wanted the funeral to be over, the ashes to be scattered, and to move on with life. But since I didn’t live in her house anymore, I wanted it stay just the way it was. It was so comforting to have a home. When you move out, no matter how old you are, it’s always a great feeling to come home. It’s like a warm fire when you have been in the cold all day. With lots of yelling, a ton of crying and a few days not getting out of her bed, I let go of the last place I could go to feel my mother.

I’m not coping with loss because I have no idea how to. I constantly go places and do things so I dont have the time to realize she is gone. Im okay with this, though I still cry everyday. Getting out of bed each day is my biggest struggle, but I’m okay. Everyone I know tells me I’m so strong, but I don’t know why people have always said this to me. I’ve never felt strong. I will probably never get past the loss of my best friend and I will most likely leave California in an attempt to continue ignoring the reality of it all.

Everyone deals with loss in their own way. Whether it’s running away, making changes to your surroundings, or just talking to everyone about the loss. I guess you just have to do what feels right and remember there is no wrong way to cope with loss. Years will pass and holidays will get easier. You may cry less, but ultimately you can never go back to who you were before the loss. That could be a good thing or bad thing. A loss becomes apart of who you are and what makes you who you’ll become. Not to say that letting a loss take over your life is fine, because you can’t truly live life consumed in every little detail surrounding it.

At the end of it all, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward with your life. Even though you don’t want it to, life goes on. I promise you will feel broken, but you will also be okay someday.