My three close firiends lost their mothers recently in the same week in May. And not in the peaceful way you would expect, but in difficult ways, although these were not sudden losses, the way they occurred left my friends reeling.
Grief is universal, just because my losses came early, the loss of a parent or spouse, is always painful.
After my mother died, I sat in my garden in Clayton, California, and read. My entire department was laid off with the merger between Pacific Bell and Southwest Bell. When the Texans rolled into San Francisco, I told my peers to watch out, and of course, heads predictably rolled. Not some, but all of Mobile Services, moved to Texas. I quickly picked up another job in marketing at Bank of America, but they kept pushing my hiring date out. As much as I wanted to be distracted from the pain of my mothers death, I was stuck at home listening to the bees buzz.
All summer long, I golfed or read in my garden. My house was as neat as a pin, and as clean as a whistle, I trimmed my lavender with a manicure scissors. I built shelves in the garage and reorganized and folded with military precision my linens, so my own linen closet would look exactly like the one in the Martha Stewart magazine. In fact, the entire house looked this way, without a speck of dust or anything out of place.
During this time, I read Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman, and was surprised to find there is no good time to lose your mother, as in the later years, you are even more attached to her, making the grief that much deeper.
I didn’t have my charming distractions then, but read; a woman without a mother or a daughter is alone in the world, and for a time I did feel very much alone in the world. Then, I was blessed with not one, but two beautiful daughters.
During that summer, I learned the shortcut through grief is feeling the pain, and I did. I cried and felt it. And although I still think of my mother, the sting of the loss faded eventually, and I moved on. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary, and I’m doing the same now.
Pain should not be stuffed, ignored, or pushed aside. It must be felt and processed, and then put away. I watched my mother ignore her pain, she didn’t want to discuss it, and for the rest of my life with her, my father became a topic that was strictly off limits. In many ways, I think my mother died at 59 of a broken heart left unmended. No fear of that here.
Love and blessings to all.