July

So how was your July?  Sorry I’ve been so quiet.  There hasn’t been a lot to say that hasn’t already been said.  I miss my mom, but there are only so many times you can blog about that before your readers tire of it.  Or so I imagine.

I spent the month of July doing absolutely nothing, and it was glorious.  Ok, so I don’t totally do nothing. I went to visit family in Barrie for a week, which was nice, though it had its tougher moments.  Mom’s apartment finally got cleaned out, which was inevitable.  It wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be going through her actual things.  It was more the emptiness when we were done that struck me.  It meant that she was really gone.  Not just bodily gone, but now all her things were gone too (to my siblings and I, goodwill, etc).  It’s just so sad that in so little time it’s like a life has been erased.

The rest of my three weeks off were quieter. One week I was sick, which sucked.  The week after I got back from Barrie was pretty quiet.  I got my memorial tattoo on the 26th. I love it very much.  It’s up there ^^^^^^^. The shamrock is because my mother was Irish and because we went to Ireland together.  The inside is made up of her fingerprint. My brother and my sister both got fingerprint tattoos as well.

And I spent the last weekend of the month in Niagara-on-the-lake with a short stop in Niagara Falls.  Saw “A Woman of No Importance” by Oscar Wilde, went on some wine tours, got to hang out with an old high school friend, and see the falls.  Not to mention all the excellent food provided by our hosts at the bed and breakfast.  SO good!

And now I’m back at work and living in reality again.  Here’s to that, and the rest of the summer.

Odd

Grief is a really weird thing.

This is, I assume, a revelation to no one.  Except it is for me, now that I’m experiencing it firsthand.  Intellectually I know all the right things, the five stages, everyone grieves differently, people don’t know what to say, etc etc etc.

But it’s just now that I’m really learning how I grieve. And it’s fucking odd, let me tell you. I want to come up with some very writerly way of describing grief, some brilliant metaphor that would make people gasp at my genius, but “fucking odd” is all I’ve got.

I haven’t cried nearly as much as I thought I would.

I have been angry, and although keeping it to myself, really kind of bitchy.

It seems I grieve internally, without needing a lot of comfort, which makes no sense to me at ALL. I’m always talking about how lonely I am and how much I want a partner and more friends and then people reach out to me and I’m all “NOPE NO NO NOPE.”  I don’t say this out loud of course.  My mother, rest her soul, did teach me some decorum.

There’s certain music I feel afraid to listen to now, although I managed to get through an entire Sarah McLachlan concert without a single tear, so maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid.

There’s been no bargaining.  She’s gone.  If there’s a god he’s not bringing her back.  This whole process has made me wonder about the afterlife though.  Generally – whether there is one or not.  I don’t have a solid opinion right now, but I know that I am far more invested in the answer than I have ever been before.  I definitely WANT there to be an afterlife.  I want my mother to be somewhere, happy, watching us, free from worry.  I don’t want her to simply be gone. I don’t want there to be nothing after this because it seems so radically unfair.  She had a shit life, went through things I can’t even describe to you, and dead and *poof* gone is all she gets? Hell no!

But generally I’m just ok. Not great, not horrible.  I miss her fiercely, but I am doing ok, and as someone said, maybe that’s a testament to her – that she raised strong children.

Where I’m From

I am from my mother
All auburn hair and blue eyes
Once innocent then fierce
Leo the lion

I am from my mother
Strong and unbending
A shelter for her children
Against their storms

I am from my mother
With her words of wisdom
Her words of worry
Her words of love

I am from my mother
I carry her in my heart
Broken and bruised
But full of her

Heartbreak

In the end, besides a brief moment at the funeral, it was the packing to leave Barrie that did me in. Earlier I was folding my dirty clothes and organizing things and I just broke down sobbing.  Maybe it was because I was packing the stuff I took from Mom’s apartment and it hit me that the only tangible thing I have left of her is some fucking pots and cutlery and it’s just a fucking joke in the end.  My mom is gone forever and all I have left is cookware.

The last picture I have of myself and my mom, just the two of us, is when I was eight years old at my first communion party.  How did I not get a picture with her in 30 years? Why did I not do that? Such a simple thing and I don’t have that.

I never knew I could feel a pain this bad, while feeling numb at the same time. I never knew I could feel so angry at not getting more time with her.

I’m going back to Ottawa tomorrow and she won’t be there to call so I can tell her I got home safe. Yes, I still have my siblings.  I am very lucky to have them.  But it’s not the same.  I miss my mom. I want her back.

And now that I’ve cried myself into a headache I’m going to go.

Mom

I’m not actually sure how to begin this, but if you follow me on facebook at all you probably already know.

Thursday June 9th 2016 my mother died. I got the call while I was out having dinner and a beer and watching the hockey game. It was sudden and unexpected and has spun my world off track while simultaneously not feeling real at all. It’s like she is out for one long cigarette break.

She likely died in her sleep, which I’m glad for. If you’re gonna go, that’s the way to do it. But she was only 67 years old, and I am only 38 years old, and I thought for sure that I had so much more time left. It doesn’t feel fair.

My mother had six children. She was a great mother. Incredibly paranoid and full of worry, but a funny, funny woman. It’s going to feel very bad the first time I go to call her and realize that I can’t. I can’t call her, she can’t call me, there just won’t be any more anything.

The services aren’t for a few days, so right now we’re sort of in a holding pattern. But there’s laughter amongst the grieving and mom would appreciate that very much.