Grieving my old life, five years later

It’s been about six months since my last post. I have a lot of factors I can blame – work, family commitments, mom life… but at the end of the day, I know I just didn’t do enough to prioritize writing. I’ve really missed it.

I’ve been going through a bit of a hard time over the last few months. I’ve been feeling down, overwhelmed, and at times very lonely. The weird thing about my loneliness, though, is that I’ve never had so many friends as I do now, at this point in my life. I have met a lot of amazing women since I became a mom and I maintain a pretty social life with my toddler and with friends and family on weekends.

My loneliness isn’t one that’s obvious from the outside. My loneliness creeps up on me in the middle of the week, on a rainy Tuesday morning while my daughter is napping. I still miss my mom desperately.

My grief has changed lately and while I still long for her on the milestones and the special days, I miss her the most on a rainy day like this one, when it’s just me and my little girl at home.

Last week was especially difficult. I was feeling a lot of depression, anxiety, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. I couldn’t turn my mind off – a constant stream of everything I had to get done, all the groceries that had to get bought, all the people I had to get back to, everything I needed to do for my business. I’ve heard some people refer to the “mental load of motherhood,” and I am thinking maybe this is what they mean. Ever since my mom passed away, I have been having increased anxiety in my life. Lately though, it’s gotten to the point where the smallest things will stress me out in such an intense way that my day-do-day life is being affected.

I decided to seek out a counselor. I don’t know where to begin, as I’ve never seen a professional to address any of my issues with. I am scared to let myself be open and vulnerable, but I know I need something or someone, a safe third party that is neutral. It’s been five years since my mom died, but some days I feel like I haven’t made any progress in my grief journey.

I don’t know if other people feel this way, like some days feel like the first day without their loved one?

I want to be a better mom and wife and I want to feel better for my baby girl and my husband. I want to find a way to start living for my new family and take some of the focus off of what I have lost. Even with all the blessings that have come my way over the last five years, I still find myself grieving my old life.

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Tomorrow is April 7th, or what would have been my mama’s 55th birthday

Tomorrow is April 7th, or what would have been my mama’s 55th birthday. 

Each year, the few days leading up to April 7th are strange and sad. I always have dark and emotional dreams in the week leading up to her birthday. My anxiety peaks and I generally feel like a mess. I experience a mix of emotions, centred around sadness, regret, and nostalgia about the good old days. The days when the simplest things would bring our family so much happiness. The days when we would have a nice dinner, tell jokes, and then have my mom’s favourite chocolate mousse cake. The days when she would open gifts and say with her usual warm smile and modest soft-spokenness, “you shouldn’t have”. The days when I always wished I could have gotten her more.

The first birthday in the year after she died was the strangest. I remember thinking how weird it is that when you die, everyone suddenly ignores your birthday. No one cares anymore. Or if they do, they don’t say it to your loved ones. Do they think it will make us sad? Do they realize that for us, it’s still April 7th, our mother’s birthday, even though she herself is not on this Earth anymore? 

Every other April 7th since I could remember, our house would be ringing with calls from friends and family wishing my mama a happy birthday. Having moved to the other side of the world away from all the friends and family she’s ever known at 33 years old, my mom loved those calls. They made her feel special and loved and rooted in something bigger than our little family, the three of us, in Canada. 

It’s a really difficult day. Being a new mother myself, I feel an extra sensitivity this year. But, I have made the commitment to celebrate my mom’s birthday every year. Why? 

Because no matter how sad it makes me, it’s an acknowledgment of her life and her legacy. If it wasn’t for her birthday, mine would not exist. And neither would that of my biggest, most beautiful blessing, my baby girl.

I’ve been talking to a few friends of mine who are also motherless daughters about what they do on their mothers’ birthdays. Some go for dinner, some have quiet time and talk to their moms, some tell stories with family… I love hearing about the different traditions. We will go to one of her favourite restaurants and have dinner in her honour. That’s our way of feeling close to her. I’ll pick out a special bouquet of her favourite Spring flowers. 

 How do you honour your deceased loved one on their birthday? 

Image: http://www.yourtribute.com/quote/isabel-allende-death-daughter/