There is something about losing your mother (or a parent, child, grandparent, etc.) that is so raw and at times, difficult to explain. Many of us have experienced loss, and I am sure many of us have or carry a deep sorrow with us because of that loss–that’s grief.
Six months without mom. That is tough. As the end of the school year draws near, I cannot help but think about all the things I wish my mom could be present for: Oliver’s birthday, graduation for Kirsten, a transition to driving for Caden, and the list goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, there are good days filled with memories, a picture, or even a story to share. There are tough days, like the end of college softball, Mom loved following all of her grandkids, even if it was from a distance, she was there, and she is still there, but her presence is missing, and I long for my mom.
My very first concert was The Judds with my mom. I was young, but they were at the DuQuoin State Fair, and it was indeed a “Girl’s Night Out.” I can remember their songs because we had every cassette tape they made (because that’s what you did in the 80s, you listened to cassettes), and I remember Mom playing them in the car.
When she would have tough days, of not remembering, or of not really speaking to us, I would play music. I started with The Judds. I hoped that would spark a memory or a smile, some type of reaction. She would become calm. Maybe deep down in her mind, she found that memory of listening to cassette tapes in the car or at the concert. Maybe she was trying her best to tap her foot or sing along.
We chose “Love is Alive” to be played during the funeral service.
When I hear that song, I get a little lump in my throat, and a few tears run down my face, but I sing along every time.
“Love is alive
And at our breakfast table
Every day of the week
Love is alive
And it grows every day and night
Even in our sleep
Love is alive
And it made a happy woman out of me
Oh, love is alive
And here by me.”
Naomi passed away tragically last year, and now her daughters are grieving, healing, and remembering their mother.
In an odd way, I can relate to that–navigating your life without your mom. I know I am not alone by any means in this, what I have learned is that when you go through a loss, when days are really hard, is that people will show up for you.
Here’s what I know so far. It’s okay to cry. I’ve cried over music, food, and even photos. Crying can be therapeutic in a sense, and getting it out is okay. Believe it or not, crying can even detox your body. Tears lubricate your eyes, and that can be helpful.
Going to a grief counselor or attending a grief class can help. Oftentimes, stories or sharing experiences can help others. Sometimes you may cry, but again, it can help. GriefShare is a course I would recommend when you are ready. This space will allow you to understand your emotions of grief. We know it’s not neat, but rather unpredictable. GriefShare will give you the tools to continue on your journey.
Leaning on your friends and family is a good thing. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to cry. Ask someone who may be hurting or who may be struggling with loss to coffee, take them to lunch, and listen to them if they want to talk. God has blessed me with amazing friends who have picked me up more times than I can count. He’s given me a beautiful family who loves me when I’m sad. I cherish those people dearly.
Take a walk or exercise. Don’t be afraid to get outside and get some fresh air. There’s been days I’ve wanted to stay in bed, or stay home, but moving and getting into a routine, or even taking a long walk can be good for your soul. We need those feel-good endorphins. We need to make time for ourselves and our physical and mental well-being.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the one you’ve lost. I heard Junior say a person can die twice. When they leave this earth and when you stop talking about them. Look at pictures, remember good times, and share that with people. I try every day to tell something to Oliver about his grandmothers. I want him to know them, see pictures of them, and remember that they are always with him.
We never lose the people we love, even to death. They are always with us in the decisions we make, and in the memories we have, we are better people because of them, and their love leaves a lasting impact on us.
Mom, I miss you every single day. I hope you know how much you are loved and missed. I hope you are listening to The Judds, dancing, styling your hair, and getting a bite to eat.