"I've given up thinking that it will ever change," Tia said. "So I just live with it." But she understands how losing a parent feels, and was just checking in to say hi, see how I'm doing. I appreciate that, I really do.
Here’s the thing: writing is cathartic. I usually address what’s on my mind and in my heart. And these days, both are so heavy with grief that I can hardly motivate myself to do anything other than the bare essentials to keep me going.
How am I doing?
Well, my sister (second from left in the above photo) and I tried grief counseling, but dropped it after a couple sessions when we noticed that the counselor was fishing for family skeletons. Really lady, there aren’t any, we wanted to say. We’re just two daughters mourning the loss of our mom. We didn’t tell her that, but afterwards, we agreed to save the $165 per hour she was charging and spend it on something more therapeutic, like massages. Come January, we’re going to need to unwind after we start cleaning and emptying mom’s beloved home of 40 years. It's a task we're truly dreading.
In lieu of grief therapy, I’m turning to recommended books. One is “When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults" by Edward Myers. It's comforting to read that my emotions and reactions are typical and that I'm not alone. Or crazy, like it sometimes feels. Sudden death is especially difficult to deal with, the author notes. He also cautions that the grieving process typically lasts up to two years. It's been just two months. I can't imagine two years of living with this ache in my heart. And yet I can't imagine ever feeling normal again. Ever NOT missing mom.
Yesterday morning at Starbucks, I saw an older woman with short curly gray hair and wearing the same type of sweatshirt and jeans that mom was so fond of. And I remembered one of her simple pleasures: every single morning, she piled the dogs, Lucy and Holden, into the back seat of her Corolla, and with their happy heads wagging out the window, she took them for a drive, much to the amused delight of all her neighbors who witnessed this daily trek. Then she wrapped up their field trip with a stop at Starbucks for a Chai Tea latte.
For just the briefest of seconds, I wanted to call mom and tell her I'd seen her twin. And then I remembered. The pain washed anew, like it just happened yesterday, and in the Starbucks parking lot I fought back the tears.
It will take time, I know. And I'm trying, really I am. Thank you for asking.
And that's how I'm doing.