I thought I would know what grief would feel like. My mother had been very sick for almost a year and a half. In critical condition, they had done surgeries and we almost lost her many times last year. We would joke with her that she had used up her 9 lives! Every time I said Good-Bye to her after visiting, I knew there was the potential that I may not see her again. She had severe COPD and her lungs were very very tired.
She passed away 6 days ago. I had spent most of the day before with her, talking and laughing. Yet, we all sensed that the end might be close. She knew it too and refused to go to the hospital. She knew it was her time. How does one know? What must that feel like? Her Christian faith allowed her to journey towards the end in peace. My beliefs that our Soul returns to the light and finds another incarnation to continue one’s growth allowed me to let her go in peace.
There should not have been shock, yet the next day, it was a shock. It was a shock to not be able to call her on my way home from dropping kids off at school to say ‘Good Morning’. It was a shock to experience someone gone that you are used to being there. I thought I had prepared myself to know what it would be like. Yet, I was in this surreal place of feeling shocked.
Sadness. Oh yes, there was tremendous sadness and tears and more tears and then the tears that you didn’t think could arrive because you thought they were all gone. Where do they come from? How can so many tears keep coming out of one’s eyes. After telling our children, at one point I said: OK, we have to take a break! No more!
There was also a sense of relief. The relief that my mother was finally at peace and no longer in pain. Her journey the past many years was full of severe chronic pain and difficulty breathing. We no longer had to watch her suffer. Yet, are we to feel this way? Relief doesn’t seem like it’s an emotion that we should be feeling. Yet, there it was.
I think the emptiness is the most bizarre feeling. A part of me is gone. Mother, the one who gives life and brings us into life. She is gone. I wonder, are we always connected to the one who gives us life? Is there a connection that is beyond any of our understanding? Or is this just the feeling that one feels when someone they have loved is gone.
I wonder, how does this alternate reality that I’m walking through mesh up with the reality of my life that must return to normalcy at some point. I find that I worry about cutting the grieving process short, yet as my brother says… Our mother would be saying ‘get your butt back to work!’. What will the new normal be? Where will the alternate reality begin to fade? How will they come together?
Each day we are presented with choice. I know that I have choice in every experience and every moment. Yet, I find myself walking this alternate reality wondering what to choose.
- Do I choose to move on?
- Do I choose to let go?
- Do I choose to remember?
- Do I choose to be happy she is at peace?
- Do I choose to be sad that I miss her?
- Do I choose to be relieved that she is no longer in pain?
Choice, choice. These moments of choice take us through each day, minute by minute, hour by hour. I believe the key will be where the strength comes to make the choices that allow me a true expression of self. The choices that allow me to remember and to feel, yet go on and create as my mother would want me to do.
How have you dealt with grief?
What has helped you get through your alternate reality?