Some weeks ago I started sharing the process I am now: dealing with the grief of losing my mom, who has always been a huge support in my life, someone who was just always there, whether we lived in the same house or far apart from each other.
For the second appointment with the grief counselor I had to write about my relationship with my mom. Questions were:
- What was your bond with the deceased?
- What did the deceased mean for you in your life?
- How do you see him/her?
- What recent (joint) experiences do you want to write about?
- Are there things you wished you had said to him/her before they passed?
- What influence has your loved one had on you?
- What positive memories did you have and would you like to hold on to?
I wrote quite a long piece about my mom, about how strong our bond has been and that she was a constant factor in my life. She was just always there, always interested in what I did, always supporting me, even when I fell pregnant at 16, something she wasn’t happy with (understatement). The night I told my parents I was pregnant my father wanted to punish me (corporal punishment was still a thing back then) but my mother said he was not to touch me and stood between me and him. I wrote about all the times we lived together in one house, even after I had kids and when I was divorced for the first and second time. My words expressed how strong she was, how hard she worked, that her life wasn’t easy at all since she married the wrong man and spent all of her life longing for the man she had loved from her teenage years. I also wrote about how I saw my father slap my mother in the face and that I always knew about their unhappy marriage, which was probably one of the reasons why I refused to ever stay with a man if the love is over.
I didn’t only write about the positive things. I also wrote about my mom’s affairs with married men, twice with her two different bosses, but also about being addicted to gambling and the huge loan she had with the bank because of that. I once told her that I don’t want to inherit anything from her, but not her debt either. She paid off every penny she owed two years before she died.
Mom made me who I am today. She taught me so many things, not always in words, but sometimes just by leading by example. I know her last couple of years were hard as my brother pushed her out of his life despite all she had done for him. She tried desperately for him to accept her as she was, but his narcissistic self never could.
I miss the moments when she and I laughed so hard that we almost peed our pants! I missed the spontaneous hugs she started to give once she had a burnout and seemingly became softer than she always was. I miss the moments we were together in the car and every time we drove on one specific highway, I got a full explanation of the cameras above the road and how they worked. I missed our Tuesdays together, watching BBC together and cooking and having dinner together.
There are so many things I still want to tell her, I concluded my piece of writing. I wish I had spoken to her more in her last days, wish I could tell her just one time more that I love her. I wish I could still share my everyday things with her, that I could tell her what’s going on in my life and ask her advice. I just wish she was still here. My mom.
Like the previous time, this time too I had to read what I have written. I did, and this time there were no tears. The counselor asked me if I knew why I was less emotional. I said that it was because these are the things I can mostly talk about without crying. It’s the moment she passed, the months before that, the months we knew she was dying, the last 8 days in the hospice… those are the moments I can hardly process. When I said this, the tears came again. Just thinking of the moment she passed, I see the image in my head, her open mouth, her pal skin, the stillness of her body. I feel panic rising in my body and mind just thinking about it.
Something else I had noticed about the piece I had written was that I started out writing about ‘my mom’ and gradually as the piece got longer, I started writing about ‘mom’.
The counselor asked me if I have someone now to talk to about the everyday things. I confirmed that I could talk to my husband, to my oldest daughter and my best friend, but never in the same way than I could do with my mom. It’s different. She wanted to know if I need it, and after thinking a bit I said no, I don’t. What I had with my mom was unique, and where I can talk to my husband about anything and everything, it will never be the same as talking to my mom. I miss it, but I can and will never want to replace it. I see it as a natural process, that now I am the mom and my kids know they can come to me with everything the way I could go to my mom. This realization only came during this conversation with the counselor. It’s something I never thought about before then.
Something else I told her is that I still have problems with accepting that now I am at the ‘top’, that I am the oldest and have my kids and grandkids ‘under’ me. My father is still alive but not a factor in my life. My mom was our ‘leader’ and now I have to take the role. I still have problems with it, but I think it’s a natural thing to be scared and that from day to day, without consciously being aware of it, I will grow into the role.
My homework for the next session was to read the piece I have written for the first session – the passing of my mom – over and over and over. And, I have to make a list of my social contacts, of people I can talk to.
After the sessions I have had up to now, I can say that I see a change: I feel stronger. I feel like I am on the road to recovery. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss my mom. My grief will never go away, but I will better be able to handle it, and I will be able to live my life, despite what I thought before I started the counseling.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel again…
© Rebel’s Notes