Ghosted by Grief
My mother passed away one year ago today. The approach of this day loomed in my psyche since this time last year. There's something about that 1 year mark that makes things final. That one year anniversary magically, if not tragically, turns the "after" part of the loss into just the "present".
I thought that, if nothing else, a year should be an adequate processing time to reflect and find an inner peace. I haven't found a way yet, though, to schedule a beginning and end time for grief into my outlook calendar.
This year, though, will be like so many to follow. There will be no more firsts without mom - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. It just will be the way it is from now on.
I have trouble saying the word "died". There is a physical component to that word that is too harsh for me to use with people close to me. When something passes, it doesn't disappear. It dissolves into an unknowing, but it still exists. That's how I think about it, anyway.
I wish my mom was still alive . She would have had so much to say about the pandemic and the past election. I could hear her pride at seeing her first granddaughter graduate high school in a few months and her comments on so many other things going on in the world.
I thought I had a healthy relationship with grief last year. She'd show up and I would acknowledge her. (Yes, my grief identifies as female.) As we spent time together, I realized that she would incite different reactions in me and I had to challenge myself not to blame her.
Now, though, I am ready to be ghosted by her. I wake up thinking "maybe today is the day she cuts off all communication, unexpectedly." Some days, it's close but that is the thing about grief. She may move out but she leaves her things - everywhere. And, to be honest, I don't want to get rid of everything. Even if I did, it's there each time I close my eyes.
The last time I saw my mother was two weeks before that horrible weekend. She and my dad came to visit me and see my daughter in Hello, Dolly. She was so proud. My mother had a lot of pain. Things were not easy for her and you could often see it on her face. I remember sitting in the auditorium at the high school and I looked over to my left, and she was so engrossed in the musical and she had a smile on her face. It is such an amazing memory. I wish I had been in a better place the Thursday night when she and my dad called me - the last time I spoke with her. But, I wasn't and I have to remind myself that she knew I loved her.
When I'm back at my dad's house and we are all playing games or cards, I feel guilty as if I am somehow betraying my mother who is looking down at us, feeling left out. I down an entire bag of potato chips, which would make her happy to see me eating recklessly. I look all around and she is everywhere. I return to my home and she on my piano, on the mantle, woven into the fabric of my sweater, overseeing the photos taken of my kids and I realize that maybe it's not the time to be ghosted, after-all.