If you were looking for over the top healing material on losing a mom, this probably isn’t it. I actually can’t read a lot of those types of articles yet because they often seemed to be written by people years into their grieving or at least a solid half a year. My pain is still new and I cry everywhere these days. While waiting for the girl at the deli counter to finish my order I blink my tears back. I cry in the bathrooms of restaurants and return to meals as if nothing happened. Tears silently slip down my contoured cheeks in the backseats of taxis and Uber’s. I’ve cried in the middle seat of a three person row in an airplane without looking at either person beside me, that was an awkwardly memorable cry. I cry in the bathtub. I weep before and after dreaming. I cry as if it was my natural state of being and salty tears are a form of vital excretion.
I am my own sad girl sovereign state. Here, you are free to occasionally eat away your feelings, you can be sleep deprived or sleep too much, and you can ignore texts from people that love you because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. Here in this sad girl sovereign state you can claim to be a sad girl, when you are in fact a grieving 31-year-old woman who lost her Mama. The name change sounds softer and feels lighter on the tongue but it gives no reprieve to the emotional or physical body. It’s not too far from the truth because in the face of the loss of my Mama I revert to a girl who now has to be a woman in her own right.
Welcome to the SGSS.
These tears I am leaving behind in a transitory state are supposed to be evidence that I am moving through something. To “move through” is to be in a state of transition- to be going somewhere that isn’t here. I am going somewhere that isn’t the landscape of my grief, but I don’t know how long the journey will be and what my destination looks like. I am going somewhere; this thought is all that I have to hold onto right now. It is what I tell myself when I feel like every cry is a repeat of a never-ending cycle that will now be my life. Eat. Pray. Cry. Minimal sleep. Eat. Pray. Cry. Minimal sleep. Repeat.
The memory of my mom is a bridge that will help me make this transition to the place that I am supposed to be going but for now I am here, a sad girl on wobbly legs taking it one step at a time.
I have sad girl eyes and say even sadder things. Often, I find myself saying nothing at all. I don’t want to intrude into the general conversations about Christmas present finds and toddler tales with my words that are evidence that I have a mother shaped hole inside of me.
Girl 1: “Oh no way, I found the same thing for Julie at half price,”
Girl 2: “No way! I knew I should have went to that store,”
Real Me: “Funny story….I contemplated falling off the wagon and getting shitfaced for a brief moment because I no longer know how to function as a normal human being.”
My actual response: *awkward smile and nod*
We are approaching Christmas and it was her favourite holiday. I want to play Christmas music sometimes because it makes me feel close to her and other times I want to burn all the Christmas trees in a Grinch-on-steroids fashion. I will stand in front a blazing bonfire, erasing the memory of Christmas from my life while hollering, “Fuck Boney M Christmas Carols! Fuck them all!” and shoot off a machine gun into the nights sky. I imagine there is cocaine in this equation too, because well – all my dark imaginings include cocaine.
I can hear my mom ask, “what did Boney M ever do to you but bring you the festive joy every year?”.
Instead of burning trees I listen to Christmas music more than I ever have in my life by my own choice and feel loved by her and cry. I try to make the choice to move into things that she loved and remind me of her rather than away from them. I fight my impulse to run the other direction. I am going somewhere. I am moving through something. I need to take her with me.
The darkest feeling is knowing that I feel envious of people with their mothers. I want to tell them they don’t understand what they have and it reminds me of how mom would look at people after she finished chemotherapy treatments and say, “I watch people and they are so oblivious. They have legs that carry them places and have no worries. They really don’t know what they have when they have their health”.
Oh how we walk the world as if tomorrow is always promised to us and those we love. I feel bad for feeling jealous. I feel like I am wrong for it, but I can’t help myself. My mother shaped whole is exacerbated in the face of other mother-daughter relationships and I have to look away. My rib cage aches in memory of loss. I have to learn how to carry this gaping wound as gently as possible.
One day I can stand at the edge of this chasm and feel joy for what I was given and smile in memory. Eventually the presence of mother-daughter relationships will stir more memories of fondness for the Mom I was given rather than debilitating ache. One day I will be able to fill that chasm with love and empathy but that day is beyond my reach at this juncture in space and time.
I am mastering the art of self-compassion in this space.
People think I am strong, because I have notoriously been the strong one. Being strong doesn’t mean that I am grappling with something that feels within my capability. I am a chihuahua in a dog fight. I am the street corner hustler in the face of the cartel. I am a vegan gluten free fish in a baking competition. I am fucked. This fight is so big and I feel so ill prepared.
In retrospect, there were always times where I felt I was outmatched with a life event. There were times I was less equipped emotionally to survive than I am now and I fucking did it. Remember your own resiliency. I have to remind myself over and over and over- this is a temporary state, it is a transition, it will hurt less and less and less and you will love more and more and more. Don’t. Give. Up. Don’t. Become. Hard. Let. That. Shit. Flow.
What I do know is that this grieving and moving through stuff is hard and it is a transition into a new state of being. To be without a mom, a guiding star, a sense of a home in physical flesh form. Because it is so hard and I am having to evolve into someone new, I know that it must be sacred and necessary work. Whenever I have been forced into a space of evolution it has always ended up with me having more insight, empathy and love. It is sacred because I am transforming spiritually as well as on other levels. I pull myself into the cocoon of prayer and try to still myself to listen so that I can feel closer to her. I have lost her physical touch but we are still connected on a spiritual level. I fully believe this and have to rest in it on days where I cry and my body manifests physical aches when it longs for her presence. I have lived a hard life before this and healing from it has given me a foundation.
I don’t know much but I know enough to move into it, rather than away from it. I know that I will grow from this rather than wither away. I know I will take her with me into this new era of my life through recollections and prayer. One day I will no longer be the single resident of the Sad Girl Sovereign State but I will be a woman, living and loving fiercely in the memory of those who came before her.
For now, it’s okay to not be okay.
Fuck Boney M Christmas Carols For Real