Sleep, grief and …

I can’t sleep. I am so sad. Today was as hard as I expected without my mom. My husband and step dad did an amazing job today of helping to make the day a nice one. Last night, for Christmas Eve, we spent time with my dad and step mom; which was also lovely. The smells of baked goods, (we made cookies Christmas eve morning) and being merry remind me of my mom. My step dad did a beautiful job today of honoring our Christmas traditions with pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) and Mexican hot chocolate. He stuffed the stockings and hung them with loving care. His Christmas presents were kind and thoughtful. My moms sparkly smile and amazing laugh was missing for me the entire day. This balance of honoring her, remembering her and being present for my husband and kids is confusing. My learning moment for today was the idea to create alter area. I need a spot in my house to honor my mom.
People just don’t know how to do grief. It’s weird how no one talks about it or acknowledges the elephant in the room or even offers a kind hug and acknowledgment that this must be a hard time of year.
I made so many mistakes in the past year. So many missed moments with my mom. So many things that could have been different that would have made such a difference in her life when she was alive and would now make a difference for me since she is gone- and yet – if I practice being in this one single moment here is what I know.
I know I am sitting in a cozy warm bed, I know I am deeply tired, I know in this minute that I am grateful for my family and for the roof over my head. In this one minute, I miss my mom so much I feel like throwing up. I know I am super tired and still find myself confused that this is my life.

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Senses.

I had a full blown, nearly fainting episode of panic attack inside the Homeless garden project trying to buy candles and honey for my step mom.
I was Light headed and all.
The smell of lavender.
I Had to JET outta there before passing out. . It was pretty intense.
My breathing was very rattled.
I find I can’t calm down. I feel very edgy and my body vibrates again with the deep missing and longing for my mom.
I feel empty.
Tired.
Alone.
Just the smell of lavender alone could effect me so deeply.
My mom used to hide lavender in my drawers, in my couch and in my jacket pockets. I see it as hiding love all around my house.

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Birthdays

Today was my twin boys 4th birthday. And my mom was not here. I am not sure how I survived the day. I am not sure I recall most of the day. I cried profusely at the end of the day, while talking with my step dad about my intense emotional connection to my moms camera. Seeing the boys through the same lens she used to capture all the excitement of a you d child growing up. Feeling the anguish of my moms life cut short at such an early age. Today was also a mix of gratitude for my family of choice. They just keep showing up for me in every way. Keep showing up for my family and just helping us in the remembering. They made a song photo books for my boys. The thoughtfulness and heartache involved in creating something like that would have been so difficult. I keep wanting to remember. But I feel so stuck on the past 12 months. So stuck on mistakes and regrets and words left unsaid and actions not taken. When and how do I forgive myself. When and how do I release the anger and self righteous feeling they our family did not deserve this tragedy and that my mom did not deserve this – based on the lovely, meditative life she loved and lived.
I still breathe anger. I still see red when I think of all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘wish we would haves’. Anger. Despair. Pain. Heartache. Insomnia. Ghost.

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Longing.

I long for my mom. I long for her wisdom and smile and laughter. I long for her hugs and support and deep unyielding love. I long for her sense of fun and adventure and the unique way she viewed the world. (Especially as I parent three little monkeys).
The volume of disbelief that comes with this type of grief is simply breathtaking and paralyzing. The way the grief is impacting my brain and body is frightening. The way I feel out of touch with reality on a regular basis is scary. I want to hide from this heartache but my mom always said ‘be present’ and so I sit here and acknowledge that in this one single minute- I am angry and pissed and furious and scared and sad and filled with sorrow that my mom is not here with me. My heart is filled with a chasm of holes and never ending sorrow.

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Deep sorrow.

I miss my mom tonight. I am feeling dumpy and pathetic and weepy.
Not that I don’t miss her a zillion times every day. It’s just different tonight- in the pit of my stomach. I know it’s because I am using her iPad tonight. Looking at the loving way she took photos of everyone she loved. I also know its because I was looking at those photos through her eyes- the eyes of someone who was sitting all of the time throughout this past year. Which was the exact opposite of my mom. My mom was vibrant and filled with joy and wonder of life and filled with experiencing fun. The pain in my chest is searing. The missing and the yearning is daunting. How do I hold on to her essence. How so I hold on to it all? I don’t know. I need to figure it out though. For myself and my kids. I need to preserve all that is good and wonderful about Donna. For my sanity.
I miss my mom. I need her here. I want her here with me. I am deeply sad.

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Absence

Not a day, or more likely, not an hour passes that I do not miss my mom. Thy I do not want to pick up the phone and call her to give her an update on my life.
Not a day goes by that I am dumb founded that this is my life. I am awestruck that I have a new baby and my mother does not and will not walk through my door to visit.
If you don’t have a close relationship with one of your parents- then just think of living your daily life without your BFF and indeed – that is what it is like.
Empty. Sad. Lonely.
Every day you wake knowing something is missing in your life.
As if you are missing a limb.
My mom was my best friend.
And I miss her. Like I would miss my breathe.

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Layers of loss

My grandmother passed away this week. It is another layer of grief on top of all the pain of the past year. I find it difficult to articulate the amount of heartache that passes through me each and every day.
For both my grandmother and mother to be gone- it is as if my entire history has been erased- it is so jarring and unsettling. Each day I wonder if I will ever see light and then I think if I see the light does that mean I will have forgotten my mom. I often feel so lost. As if I am floating in a cloud. But in a rain cloud with one bad thing after another floating by and crashing into my life.

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The passage of time

I am learning a lot about the passage of time. It is not easy to describe, however I am learning about how long a minute and an hour can be when I am grieving intensely and I am learning how quickly the nine months passed of my mom being sick.  I am learning about how deep grief can manifest into ones life; so much so that you can lose track of who you are and what is going on around you. I am learning how deep pain can feel and how slow time moves when you are in that grief. I am learning how I did not make the best use of my time, or the valuable time I had left with my mom. I am learning about how time sometimes loops around itself. How for an entire day, I can spend my time in and out of thought, deep thought going over all the mistakes I made in the past year. Time shows me more anger than solace, more fury than peace, more anguish than love and more shock than acceptance. I hate the passage of time. It clouds memories.

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I miss my mom. every single day.

I miss my mom. Every damn day. I want her to see my children growing up, getting bigger, learning new words, the baby gaining weight, running faster and learning the sounds of the alphabet. I want life to be easier and things to go smoother in my life, which is difficult since so much of my brain usage is taken up thinking of how I screwed up the last year of her life by not really getting what was happening and how fast it was all going to end. People who do not give freely of their heart and soul and time are hard to be around these days. I find no tolerance for people who are not authentic. I find my souls weeps to be understood in the way my mom understood and really, truly SAW me. I will sit now, and hold my infant daughter and hope and pray that she never has to endure this kind of loss, I will sit and continue to ponder how I can honor my mom and everything she is to me- every single day. I will ponder also, how I can feel her around me– oh how I want to sense her around me and with me…. oh, for one more talk and hug….. for one more moment together. That is my wish.

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It was bound to happen some time. I just didn’t think it would happen this soon. I knew there would come a day when I needed to know something about myself- something either minutely small; or some event that was very big- and I would have no one to ask. Today, was that day . When I was in high school I got in a rear-ender kind of fender bender. Today my son heard me talking about fender benders and I started to tell him about the time I rear ended a car. My son asked more questions about the event– and– I didn’t know the answer. Normally I would pick up the phone and ask my mom these types of details. Today, that was not possible and it was a devastating realization. Painful, the reminder that parts of your entire life, parts of your growing up, parts of your childhood have died with your parent; buried in the ground -or burned in the cremation. This realization – each time you experience it- is terribly painful. It is unsettling; and un-mooring of sorts. It causes me to feel untethered in this life. My stable ground is gone leaving me with many questions-who am I? Where am I? What have I done with this life I have been given?To not have a person to ask questions about my childhood, or as a parent- to wonder things like “how old was I when I stopped taking naps?, what when I was anxious as a child, what techniques did you use to help me learn how to navigate the world. I suffer this pain of feeling ‘unknown’. I have a small handful of friends that truly know me inside and out and for this – I am very thankful.

Memory

Aside