Grief a year later…still sucks

This is the final five days of what was her last week. This year I am at work, working on budgets seemingly easy as compared to last year but gut-wrenching when I think about what makes it easier. I am living my life without her and while I have tricked myself into thinking I had this month under my thumb I wake up with a thickness that was stifling all day. As it gets closer I can feel the weight of what is coming. it is not about an anniversary it is a reminder of the worst days to come then and now.

My “plan” was to go to Virginia this weekend and spend the weekend with my stepdad so we are together but the closer it gets the more I am realizing it is simply not going to be possible. The tape keeps running through my mind over and over again; I drive up to her house, and she doesn’t come out on the porch excited to see me…and I fall apart. I walk up to the house and open the door and there is her chair without her in it…and I fall apart. I walk onto the porch, our very special place, and she is not there…and I fall apart. I cannot walk into her room, I cannot sleep there, I cannot eat there, I simply cannot be there. I am not ready.

It is a year later and the grief is different. It is devastating in quieter moments, it is less public, it is harder to explain than it was a year ago. A year ago everyone “gets it”; you have lost your Mom no one doubts the pain, the sadness, the grief. A year later…it still hurts, it is still devastating and it is still grief but it is different. Today it was like walking through a fog with an immense weight encompassing me. I was down all day and while not acknowledging it, it would not relent. This grief was isolating.

This is grief as I am living it right now and ultimately I am having to take my own advice and “meet myself where I am” and today where I am is not ready to face Saturday AT ALL but definitely not ready to face it in her home where I left abruptly a year ago. One year ago, I delivered her eulogy to her beloved community and I literally flew out of there like a bat out of hell. I was running then and I am still running today. I am running from the reality that she is not there because I can fool myself into believing that…well let’s just agree that I am not fooling myself but I am not facing it as aggressively as stepping into her home would require of me.

I am not going to be okay, not today and I will let that be okay. I don’t want to predict tomorrow or the next day or the next…today is enough. One day at a time. My mom and I shared the Serenity Prayer frequently as we would come up on things in our lives that we could not control. I cannot change this and I am not ready to accept it…but I am willing to continue working on it, and that is enough for today. – L.

Music and Mom

Well I am happy to report that this month has not been the monster that I had created in my head for months leading up to August. It is August 16th, two weeks before the anniversary of her passing and I am still surviving. It’s funny in this life how we prepare for the worst that never comes and are unprepared for the worst yet to happen.

As I was going down in the elevator this morning I heard a country song playing that I recognized which is rare as I am not a fan of country music. It was so familiar that I found myself singing the chorus…and then I realized…it was the song that Bob played at my mom’s service in Woodlawn.

…and then there I sat with that realization…oh yea it’s August. What day is it? August 16th…where was I last year at this time? I was with her, on the mountain, savoring the last memories, our last moments on this earth. Let me just sit in this moment…

The irony that a song is what brought me back to this moment is not lost on me. My mom and I had the most amazing memories all wrapped in the music of our lifetime together. My eulogy to her was written capturing all of those amazing moments of music. I will be sharing that on August 31st to honor her passing.

Mom and I at Hall and Oates Concert. I would fly her to Orlando at least once a year to attend a concert. Barry Manilow was another of our faves.

What is it about a song that brings us right back to where we were in that moment? I can see exactly where I was, I feel exactly as I did at that time, I can smell the smells, hear the environment, I am there 100% in the first few notes of a song. It is for that reason that I consider music one of the most important mediums in life. The message and the melody found in music is the best medicine for our soul.

Today I refuse to allow that predicted dread from months before to creep in. I choose to hear the song as a measure of courage that I can listen to it now and instead of crying I embrace the love behind the music. The setting that day was so perfect for this song as we gathered in Oak Grove Church in Woodlawn which is the tiniest church on the biggest mountain in Woodlawn that stands tall in all her glory much like my mother.

Amazing Grace, that is how I recall my mother, Terry Lee Lao Dearborn, perfect in every way and not gone, not forgotten, simply missed.

Living life as she would have me live it – L.