Thanks. That is all I can say. My family thanks you and we appreciate your support in our difficult time. I want to share some excerpts of the things that were said that helped me.
Instead of mourning her, celebrate her on those special occasions. Mourning is typically equated with pain, while celebration with joy.
However long anyone tells you that it takes for the pain to go away triple it but it does eventually go and the things that trigger painful memories will one day make you smile and be thankful for the good times. It happens so slowly that you don’t really notice but each day it hurts a little less.
I took this postcard from a coffee shop once, it says “Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not today, but eventually.
I was in denial for about 2 years: thought I was being real manly about it. Problem is: longer you deny, harder it hits.
But back in 1998 my grandfather died, I was about 18-19 at
the time and the whole family got together to remember him. Later on
that night after the “adults” went to bed my younger brothers and I
started talking about death and each of our thoughts on “God” and I
was trying my hardest, as I did allot when I was younger, to get that
“God” stuff out of their heads. Then my little brother came back with
this…. “I don’t think God is just some person in the sky watching
over us….why can’t God be this!??!” I paused…”What do you mean?” I
asked him. “Well, I think God is the souls of everyone….and to keep
them alive forever all we have to do is talk about them, share stories
of good and bad times, lessons learned, and great accomplishments and
failures… that is God to me!” he said. I was taken back…..I began
to weep. It made total sense to me and to this day I will never forget
being schooled by an 8 yr old.
I learned a lot through this process. I learned that I have not spent enough time with my brothers and sister. I can’t remember having so much fun, despite the circumstances. The best moments in my life are when I can appropriately be a kid again and when I am in a situation I did not think was possible. I had several of those moments this past week.
I learned that everyone grieves differently. My mother had been sick for a while; she was not the same person. It was painful for me to see and talk to her at the end. My mother was a fighter, she had a hard life. Pound for pound she is the toughest person I know. It was hard for me to remember that. My grieving process started two years ago. On the good side, I was able to have all the important conversations with her about our relationship. There were zero questions about where we were. On the bad side, I do not know if I let go too early. I do feel selfish for that and that is something that became evident in the way each of the children grieved. The way my mind works, my emotions follow strictly to the law of diminishing utility. My joy is short lived and I move on faster to a lesson or deeper meaning. If I cannot find a deeper meaning I move on. You have to grieve in the way that is you, letting others grieve in their way, is one of the most selfless things a person can do. A funeral is different for everyone; my mother’s funeral was more joyous for me and more sadness for others. If I could make one association between trading and death it would be that they both introduce you to yourself. Getting past loss requires us to be honest with ourselves. Disappointment or peace. For me, the honesty, allows me to change in the future or move on. Realizing there needs to be change, comes with a great responsibility. To yourself and to others.
My family has a very sick sense of humor. That was my main coping mechanism when I was around people. Making a joke at a funeral is not always appropriate, but it was in this case. My mother had a sick sense of humor. I had thought about the eulogy many times, I did not know what to say till the night before; I always knew I would make a joke. This goes back to the point of everyone grieving differently, hardly anyone laugh. Let me premise that by saying I am the worst joke teller ever. As I choked back the tears the delivery was worse than normal. It was one of the best ways for me to honor my mother.
Things happened so fast, I have to try really hard to remember the funeral. It was not a perfect ceremony and if you knew my mother that part was very fitting. It was perfect for her.
Despite me anticipating her death, partly out of denial, we never spoke about her last wishes. There was no will and that causes problems. In a time when communication is hardest, it was the most necessary and that was not possible by the five children. I can say that my mother would not have wanted us to fight over her possessions. There is not much to fight over and it is clear what she would have had wanted each of us to have. And for the most part her wishes were met. It is the last bits that are going to be drawn out, unfortunately probably in court. Closure is not going to be coming for months.
Everyone grieves at a funeral. I was surprised by how many people told me about their mothers passing away. Many were in tears. I am happy that our mother’s passing, hopefully, helped them to grieve their loss.
Once again, thanks everyone for your support. This experience would have been much, much worse without you. It is the subtle mind shifts that allow us to come to an understanding. You guys helped me. For that, THANK YOU.
I will leave you with my mother’s favorite prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.