I wanted to get some laundry done today. It’s been piling up since my mom’s funeral, and between spending all day in my pajamas and having used all of my energy to get through the service planning and final goodbyes, the laundry just hadn’t seemed as pressing.
I took a deep breath, preparing to get out of bed and tackle the mountain of socks and towels, but as I did so I caught a whiff of her perfume that still lingered on the jewelry she’d left me.
I didn’t make it to the laundry pile. I didn’t even make it out of bed. Because today was lost to grief.
I’ve been told that grief comes in waves, and in my own experience with miscarriage, job loss, and the deaths of loved ones, that’s proven to be true. What I’ve never been told, however, is that some days are just lost to grief. We’re programmed—as mothers, as humans—to feel as though we must prove our worth with productivity, that at the end of the day we must have something to show for it, some accomplishment, or the day will have been wasted.
But I’ve realized that when a song comes on the radio or a memory floats to the front of my mind, sometimes all that I accomplish is grieving. And that’s OK.
After a miscarriage that required surgery, I was confident I’d be able to return to normal, get back to work fairly quickly. However quickly my body rebounded, however, my heart took much more time. I’d sit at the computer, logged in and ready to work, then dissolve into tears, missing a child I’d never gotten to meet.
Those days were lost to grief.
More than once I’ve longed to sleep, to let my body rest and give my mind and heart a break from feeling so very much. I’d lie there in the darkness, willing my body to give me respite, begging my mind to turn off and grant me a few hours of being blissfully unaware of the pain. Instead of dreaming, I cried. I cried silently into my pillow, sobbed loudly while hiding in my closet. I tried to distract myself with reading or watching something, but only found memories in all I did. I cried all night long, then cried harder as the sun rose, realizing I was about to live another day without my mother, without my child, without everything I missed and grieved.
Those nights were lost to grief.
I don’t think I’ll make dinner tonight. I haven’t been to the store in a while and I’m not sure what we have. I don’t have much energy and I can’t seem to focus on much, apart from the perfume, apart from the necklace that still smells of her and the memory I have of taking it off her neck one last time. This evening will be lost to grief, too. And that’s fine because my kids love pizza and I need to grieve.
My kids need to see me grieve, too. They need to be reminded that it’s OK to grieve, that they don’t have to fit a timeline or meet any deadlines when it comes to healing from loss. Grief is honoring our loved one, not stealing from our present. It’s healthy for our hearts and minds to allow grief to take whatever course it needs to, not cut it off when it’s inconvenient.
Some days I stay in bed and cry. Some nights I look through old photos instead of sleeping. Some evenings we sit around and share stories instead of making lunches for the next day. Some afternoons I sit in the car and listen to all of her favorite songs instead of enjoying a few minutes of quiet away from the kids. Some days I don’t follow through on my plans. Some days I need some extra time. Some days I can’t do it all, cook it all, wash it all, or laugh at all.
Because some days are just lost to grief.