On Grief

Saturday, July 7, 2012

So this post might be a bit on the personal side. I don’t do that too often, but this is something I can’t really get off my mind, so bear with me and thanks for your patience.

My Mom passed away when I was 14 years old. She fought a brave battle with Leukemia, but in the end she lost. This week was the 14th anniversary of her death and I’ve really been struggling with that. I realized that from this point on I will have lived longer without her in my life than with her. That fact shocked me and it made me think of all the things I’ll never be able to share with her.

She will never meet my husband or any kids I might one day have.
She will never see my home and meet my dog.
She never saw me graduate from high school or college.
I will never sit with her and talk about life and what we’re reading.
She will never see my byline in a newspaper and tell me she’s proud.
I will never be able to call her and complain about a bad day.
I can’t ask her what her pregnancies were like.
We'll never talk about her memories of growing up, college, meeting my Dad, etc.

I don’t think about these things everyday, but sometimes they overwhelm me. I feel her absence so strongly that it takes me breath away. Grief is such a solitary thing. I love my brother and sister more than I can say, but even though we lost the same woman, we all grieve differently. We can share our memories about her, but in the depth of our grief, we are alone with our thoughts.

Losing someone affects the way you see the world. My biggest fear has never been death it has always been losing another person I love. That terrifies me. My Dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma when I was in high school. He beat the disease, but that experience cemented my fear. I believe that I will see my mom again in heaven, but that doesn’t make missing her any easier.

My Mom was an amazing woman. She was incredibly smart and strong. She taught me to value those qualities in myself and in others from the time I was young. She challenged me to always do my best. She was stubborn and driven and loving. She prepared me for life in so many ways and she is such a big part of who I am. I miss her everyday, but I’m also so grateful for the time I had with her.

Thanks for letting me share that.

Photos of my Mom when she was young and on her wedding day.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I am so so sorry you lost your mom so very young. Sounds like an amazing woman. HUGS to you on this sad day.

annieb said...

You are right, we all grieve differently. One of my favorite lines about grief is from The Little Prince: "When your sorrow has been comforted (time heals all sorrows) you will be content to have known me." While I believe that is true, it doesn't work all the time. Anna Quindlen wrote a very moving piece in one of her essay books about losing your mother when you are young. My advice is give in to the grief once in a while and spend the day, or part of the day with your mother the best way you can.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Oh, that is such a hard age to go through anything traumatic. I don't know if there is any set way to get through such a heavy burden on your heart but I think talking about it here is good for the soul. I think those same things about my grandmother. I would have done anything to have been able to have her meet my kids. By the way, I see so much of her in you.

Anonymous said...

I have always been inspired & moved by your grace & candor on this subject. You are one of the most independent, strong, intelligent and loving people I have the priveledge of calling a friend, and I know your Mom is responsible for a lot of that. I love you!

Allie said...

I can't imagine how hard it must have been to lose your mom at such a young age. I can't relate, and I won't try to, but I feel for you, I really do. *hug*

Heather said...

I know exactly what you mean. I had such a hard time turning 16, because my dad died when I was 8. I had the same thoughts as you; I've lived over half my life without him, will never do this, will never do that. It is a hard thing to go through at any age, but at such a young one…it really changes you. I'm sorry and you'll be in my thoughts and prayers this day.

Cori said...

Oh, I'm so sorry you lost your mom so young. Grief is like that -- it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. You're in my thoughts and prayers tonight!

Aarti said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks very much for sharing - your mom sounds like she was an amazing woman.

She said...

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you posting this. Thank you. It really helps me in my own grieving process to see that others are having the thoughts that I have about grieving and losing a parent at a relatively young age. It seems like you have wonderful memories of your mom-- something awesome to hold on to.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Thank you all for your comments. They mean the world to me. You guys are the best.

Amanda said...

It's been awhile since I managed to look in my GR, so I just saw this post. There's not much I can say, but I wanted to send you hugs. She looks a whole lot like you. I'm sorry for your grief.

Care said...

A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. My uncle, my dad's brother, died of leukemia and his son, my cousin became my cousin-brother when he moved in with us. I remember being so scared for him and what it would mean for all of us. I was in college at the time and wasn't sure how I could really help. I think he was about 14, too. Hugs to you.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

I love Salinger especially Franny and Zooey but I haven't read this one yet probably for the same reason it took you so long to get to it too.

Kristi said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It must have been difficult, but it was touching to read. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, especially at such a young age.

I just went to a family reunion with my mom's family, who are very close. Her sister passed away from lung cancer 7 years ago and her absence was conspicuous. Grieving changes as time passes, but losing someone you love is something that you never really get over. Many hugs sent your way.

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Yes, grieving is a solitary thing indeed and I'm glad you've put your thoughts out there and shared them with us. It makes my grief a little less lonely. My father is very ill, he's where your mom must have been 14 years ago and it's a surreal time, right now. He's still with us, but we also know he will never meet any grandchildren, or finish the paper model of the Cutty Sark he was working on before he got too weak. What has been helping is talking to friends who've been through the same, and reading posts like yours.

All the best from this side of the ocean.

Jenners said...

Thank you for sharing. Your post brought tears to my eyes and made me, in some small way, appreciate that I had my mom in my life for much longer than you had yours. It is such a shame that you had to go through so much of your life without your mom … and this is a difficult and stunning anniversary -- to be in this world longer without her than with her. My heart goes out to you. Hugs.

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