Today when I was scrolling through Facebook I came upon a post from someone who suddenly lost their father. I felt so deeply sad for them, I knew their pain . . . I know their pain. My heart sank and I felt like I was going to pass out. Tears ran down my face. I was triggered.
It has been a year and a half since I suddenly lost my mom, and some days it feels like it was so long ago. But days like today, it feels like it was just yesterday, and I am stopped in my tracks with grief. It’s amazing that somehow our minds allow us to continue with our lives even when a major part of it gets taken away.
One life seems to stop, and another one begins. A new life without them.
Don’t get me wrong, I think of my mom every single day. I miss her smell, her hugs. Her overwhelmingly loud squeals when she was excited. I miss the struggles, the tension, the pain that we never had a chance to work through. I miss it all.
When she died, I started to wear her clothes, and I’ve continued almost daily since. Even the shirts I’ve put holes in wearing so often, I can’t let go because they remind me of her. Some even still smell like her. A piece of me smiles inside when it’s there, it’s like she’s with me—in a different way.
I always loved her handwriting, I used to copy it as a child—and then as a teenager to get out of class. It was so uniquely hers, and I loved it. I still do. I knew I needed it close to me, forever. I found a card she had given my husband on Father’s Day just before she died. It was the only card I hadn’t thrown out. The only one . . . let’s talk about guilt. For the record, don’t get rid of all the cards from your loved ones. Keep some. You will feel intense regret when they’re gone if you do.
Fortunately, my amazing husband saved it. It ended with “love always,” and I knew that was all I needed.
I had it tattooed on my arm, and I can see her handwriting every day. I look at my tattoo and my heart skips a beat but in a good way. I have never felt as complete without her as I do with it on my arm. The funniest part about my tattoo is how much she hated them. I like to believe she would have loved this one because of the comfort it gives me. Or maybe because it was about her. Let’s not kid ourselves, she probably would have loved that part most of all.
In all seriousness though, grief isn’t something that just ends. Grief doesn’t have a time limit. We grow to live with it and it stays with us as long as it needs to. Some days are easier than others, and other days, like today, feel like the world is ending because we miss them so much.
Wearing her clothes and tattooing her handwriting on my arm, those are a few things that keep me together on these dark days, but they also bring me immense joy on the good days. I’ll always miss her, I’ll always wish her life wasn’t cut short and taken from my children’s lives. But it happened, she’s gone, and I’m learning to live this new life without her, just in a way that’s uniquely mine.
Originally published on the author’s blog