My mother died on July 7, 2008. A year later I wrote the blog post below. My title at the time was “I wish I had a recording of her voice.” The two things I missed the most then, and now, are her voice and the feel of her hands. My mother’s hands were always cool and clean. Never clammy or sticky. That has stuck with me for some reason. I learned a lot about Grief and Loss that year. Let me know if any of my observations below ring true with you.
Things I’ve learned since my mom died one year ago today: 7/7/08.
1. Pain does dull. Eventually. Not disappear.
2. Asking for help is strength, not weakness.
3. It is inconceivable that a person is there and then not there. That you’ll never hear their voice again.
4. That you leave a bit of yourself everywhere – music, food, ideas, laughter, even sarcasm.
5. That having someone to share and compare memories with is priceless.
6. That living a long life (74) does not necessarily make it any easier to say goodbye.
7. That remembering, although painful, is way better than forgetting.
As I move the occasional post from my old Blogspot blog to here, I am having the chance to reflect and remember. (Almost) always a good thing! At the time, when she passed from ovarian cancer, I could have honestly said I had no regrets. That was my goal – not to leave anything unsaid or undone. But as more time has passed I do have one enormous regret: I don’t have video recordings of my mother. She died before smartphones were everywhere and making videos was not part of our daily life.
One incredible book that I read during that year was C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed. It is a powerful look at the process of grieving someone you love from one of the finest writers of our time. During a time when I was dealing with that level of grief and loss for the first time, it was a valuable resource.
Make sure that you are embracing those you love – with your time, your energy, your focus and your attention. And think about what you might miss the most about them and find a way to preserve it.