Seriously. I thought this would be easier than it is.
When a loved one passes, words cannot adequately express the sense of loss someone may feel. My dad passed away 12 years ago, and even though I was at peace with his passing, and made it through the days and weeks that followed his death with relative ease, I'm finding that I do not have that capacity now. Of course, when he passed, my kids were toddlers and I was so involved with them that, perhaps, I didn't have time to grieve. Over the years I have missed my dad, but not to the point that I have felt down or that part of me had been wrenched from me.
But with my mom's passing, it's very, very different. And yet, I thought I had prepared for this. I'm feeling a very profound sense of loss. Yet, in these last years, I actually felt distanced from her. With dad, he had suffered a stroke, but even with that, he still KNEW me, still knew who his grandkids were. And in a limited way, you could still interact with him.
With mom, it was different. She was taken gradually. Ten years ago it was "oh, I don't remember that, honey", but she knew who I was. Just a few years later, on a visit to the emergency room in November of 2013, she had no clue who I was. Dad retained his dadness. Mom was taken from me slowly, bit by bit. She ceased being "mom" to me, and became the shell of that once loving and often overprotective person.
I knew that eventually, she'd be gone. And I thought I'd be ready for it. But this past week has proved me wrong.
Of course, it doesn't help that my birthday was yesterday, and it was a day of sadness and a sense of loss, rather than a day of celebration. I've had so many comments from Facebook friends on my mom. And then yesterday, on my birthday, one of my close friends commented that even though this is a shit time for me, look how the community of friends is there for me. And my church family was very loving and caring, expressing their sorrow at my loss. It was genuine. It was warm. But I still felt loss.
And, to be honest, this sense of loss from my mom's passing is compounded by the sense of loss in my marriage ending. Usually, when an adult child loses a parent, a spouse is there to offer support, and even help ease the load. That is not happening for me. I feel the desire to shut down, to run away. But I can't. Even though the kids are teenagers now, they still need me to an extent. And they were not close enough to my mom to feel the same sense of loss that I do. And I cannot expect them to. Children grieve differently than adults. But moreover, I have no one - no shoulder - to cry on, to lean on. I'm feeling overwhelmed because I'm doing it by myself. I feel utterly alone. I feel the desire to have someone's arms around me in a gentle, loving embrace. But that is being denied me. And it hurts not to have that sense of relief, to not have that assurance that there will be hand to take mine in hers, that there will not be a voice to soothe me, or simply to hold me when I feel lost and alone.
So, yes, this is MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be.