Wednesday was the typical day of the week that I would call my mother.
Our conversations would begin like this:
ME: It’s me.
HER: Hi Me.
Our conversations would range from the important to the random–politics to who got booted off DWTS.
Today I want to call her to tell her that Heidi Klum and Seal may have broken up. (Yes, I know that there was a State of the Union address on, but this is news in my world.)
More than anything, I’d love to ask my mom’s advice on how to deal with the fact that she’s gone. My mom was so wise about matters of the heart.
Perhaps you’re wondering the same thing–what would your mom say?
You Can’t Help How You Feel
This is actually advice Mom has given me throughout the years. When I felt a certain way, rational or not, my mom would always say, “You can’t help how you feel. It’s how you deal with those feelings that matters.” During this time–especially the first few months–you’ll be going through a lot and dealing with lots of different emotions. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. Perhaps you’ve lost your mom to a long-term illness, and you feel relief. That’s okay.
Or, like Bu and me, your mom’s death was sudden, so you feel shock and resentment.
Just know: whatever you feel. It’s okay.
Give yourself a break. I can’t speak for Bu, but I can tell you I spent a lot of time over the summer watching The Rachel Zoe Project, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, reading my Kindle, and surfing eBay. I didn’t like crowds, didn’t like going out, didn’t care about what was going on in the world. I’m sure I wasn’t always the easiest person to be around. So, cut yourself some slack, and be kind to yourself. (I was lucky to have the loving support of my Beloved and my Bu.)
You may find yourself having a hard time making minor decisions: what to eat, what to wear, the best way to handle a situation at work, or even deciding on whether you should hit the Super Target on a Sunday. The decisions you normally made seamlessly on a daily basis may now seem overwhelming. And that’s perfectly normal.
This is not the time to make any major decisions. Quitting your job to tend sheep in New Zealand or deciding to grow oranges in Alaska–not a good idea. Marrying that person you met on a first date. Cutting your hair in a Carol Brady shag. (Okay, I’m projecting Me circa 1999.) It may seem ideal to change your situation to change your grief. Chances are, it’s probably not the best idea.
Hickory Dickory Dock
Time: The problem with clichés is that they are both good and bad. The good: there’s some truth in them. The bad: people want to inundate you with them. People will nod sagely at you and say, “Time heals.” And you’ll probably look at them and say, “Get bent.” When you’re in the raw of your moment, rarely do words help. But, time, simply in the way that time does, passes.
Regift Your Grief
In the fall before Mom died, I signed up to be an e-mentor for books and kids. I signed up too late in the year and was unable to be matched up with a student. (If you’re interested: in2books.com). Two days after her funeral, I received an email from this program asking me to mentor a student. I debated. Would I be able to? Would I feel up to it? I did and was richly rewarded. I also joined a dog rescue group. Being able to focus my attention on other living beings who needed me helped. This is the part of the reason for this blog.
Chat It Up
When my friend, Bu’s, mother died, I remember calling her and trying to find the right thing to say. And I simply couldn’t. It wasn’t because I wasn’t sad or didn’t want to ease her pain–it was simply that I didn’t KNOW. When my mom was in the hospital and dying, she was the first person I called. And she was there–dispatching advice, listening, and simply being there. For me, I find it’s helpful for me to talk to other people who’ve lost their moms and find themselves in similar situations. We talk daily.
With the people who make you feel good. Who will listen. Ask. Your friends want to help–but may not know the best way to let you know. People will say, “Let me know what I can do.” Let them know. (I struggle with this.)
Get a Dog
Just get one. 🙂 (Okay, who’s projecting? Me again. :))
If you’re hurting and depressed…there is no shame in talking to your doctor about antidepressants, etc. or seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. (Personally, I did not find the latter helpful, but that was just me.)