Today is the eighth anniversary of my Mom passing away, and as I type, the tears well up. For some reason, this year, it has been a difficult month. Flashbacks to the days/weeks before she passed away; the unknowing, the denial, the sadness. Holding her as she took her last breath, begging her not to go, yet underneath, knowing it was for the best.
I just found a page in a journal about a conversation I had with Mom about eight months before she passed away. She spoke of how sad it was not to be able to do what she used to and how she wished she was at the end of her life. That journal has so many thoughts and feelings woven into the daily 'need to know' details that were going on. Nothing can truly take the pain away; you manage it. You call in those dear to you and let yourself process it.
I've said it before, and I'll repeat it, there is no timeline for grief. Whether you are going through it after a loved one has passed away or grieving your loved one as they 'used' to be, you've got to let it process and be gentle when it takes your breath away.
I think back to the year after Mom's death, and I can't tell you anything that happened. It was such a blur. Details to tend to on top of grieving is a crazy mix. The following year was a period of rebuilding. My time spent as a family caregiver with Mom and years before watching her be one with my Dad created a life purpose of giving family caregivers the support and information they need. I formed Breathing Spaces to enlighten other family caregivers on what can be a stormy path in unknown territory. To give people an opportunity to know they are not alone regardless of where they are on their journey.
I also started dating again in the years after Mom's death, and I am grateful that he appeared at just the right time and has filled my heart in ways I didn't know possible. I resumed my hobbies of golf and photography again, which I love, and got back out traveling a bit. Step by step, I began to rebuild what nurtures my soul.
Grief is a process that will always be with you to some degree. Know when it arises to be gentle to yourself, reach out for support, and release any judgment on yourself.