The Grief of Losing a Mother: Part III

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This will be my third and final installment of The Grief of Losing a Mother. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last couple of months, and I wanted to candidly share my thoughts.

One thing I’ve learned is that Grief is powerful, burdensome quality and I don’t think it applies to me anymore.  I hate to use the Webster’s Dictionary line, but it helps prove my point so well.

Grief; noun

1.keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
2.a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.

I do think that in that first week, I was suffering mentally and feeling sharp sorrow and painful regret.  All of those words so accurately describe what it feels like when a loved one passes.

I do think that grief is not meant to last, though.  I feel like I have reached a point where I am able to remember, and love, and feel happy and peaceful. I feel like Grief is hanging on, and peace is letting go.
grief2

That doesn’t mean that I will let go of the memories.  That I won’t remember.

  • I will always think of my mom any time any reality TV show is on.  And I do mean ANY.  She was a reality show nut.
  • I will never forget her face when she was holding one of my babies, or watching me hold one of my babies.
  • I will cherish the fact that she still held my hand.  I was almost thirty, but she always held my hand.
  • I remember her frail body, hunched over her craft body at 2 in the morning, making something for others in her unrest.

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But I can let go of the pain, and the “why’s”, and the doubts.

When we came into the Salt Lake Valley to see my mom on what was to be her last day, it was snowing.  I, in truly California girl fashion, forgot that it was still Winter in May in Utah, and wasn’t dressed appropriately.  The flakes were spinning around me, melting on my skin.  As I walked up to those hospital doors, my mind so full of fear and denial, I did what my childhood instincts prompted me to do.  I caught snowflakes.

As the unique and perfectly formed flake landed in my hand, I could see every crystalline detail in its extensions and I took a moment to be in awe.  Then, it slowly dissolved and melted into my hand and it was gone.

In the weeks following that day, tender mercies drifted and floated in flurries around me.  And while they didn’t physically stay in front of my eyes, they have dissolved into memories that I will never forget.

The atonement is real.  The Gospel is true.  In my grief, I asked for peace.

The whole day at the hospital, I kept trying to find five minutes alone with my mom to ask her for her forgiveness for the things I regretted.  But when I looked into those pain-filled eyes, all I felt was that I needed to assure her that she had done her job, that we will be okay, that she will be remembered.  That I Oh So Love My Mama.

Her needs were greater than mine that day, and I will tell you that I don’t regret that one bit.  Because now I know that I am still thinking in an earthly state, but she isn’t.  Things can be forgiven, rights can be wronged, and mistakes can be mended.  Love can be felt through the veil.  I know with a surety that she is busy at a better work and isn’t weighed down with the same thoughts as we are.

I, and other members of my family, were blessed with an instant feeling that what we thought mattered, didn’t matter anymore.  That my mom was somewhere we couldn’t even imagine and while she would be here for us in our times of trial and togetherness, she was moving on.

And so should we.

Don’t think that I didn’t imagine her at the top of the stairs when I got to my parents house last week:  arms outstretched for her grandkids.

Don’t think I didn’t picture her in the kitchen, scraping the sides of her pudding bowl, laughing, eyes twinkling.

That doesn’t mean that those memories need to cause pain, isolation, or depression.

When you are feeling sad, the Lord will lift your spirits.  When you are in pain, the Lord will lighten your burdens.  When you are feeling grief, the Lord will erase it with peace.

All of these things will come if you just ask.

I think we talk about my mom just as much, or even more since she has passed.  She can still bring us joy.

grief

My mom wouldn’t want us to get lost in that stage of grief.  She would want us to live a happy, full life.

So when I’m writing an article, or playing with my kids, or – let’s be honest- sometimes losing it and yelling at my kids, I know my mom is there, saying:

You’re good.  Keep on going.  Singing: I’m proud of you, I’m proud of you, and you can be so proud of you too.

So I am.  And I am letting go.  And I am remembering.

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