Today marks three years since my mom passed away.

As usual, it’s been the days leading up to today that were the hardest and not the actual day itself. I think the anticipation is what stresses me out the most because really, today is just as bad as any other. It’s not like I miss her more today than every other day of every other year. It’s not like the hole in my heart grows bigger today or that her memory is stronger.

Maybe I’m doing this whole grief thing wrong, but it doesn’t really get easier. Sure, it’s not as intense and all-consuming as it was in the very beginning, but it hasn’t really lessened either. I don’t cry uncontrollably every day anymore, but I still think of her almost constantly every single day. I still miss her. I still feel incomplete without her here.

Three years ago today my entire world came crashing down and my identity was tossed up in the air. I don’t know what it is, but losing my mother, watching her suffer for months and then die, really messed up my sense of self and who I am. Despite the fact that I was 29 years old at the time, married, and living on my own, I was still her daughter – and now who am I if she’s not here? This loss is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced.

Three years ago today I learned a very difficult lesson: praying about something, begging God for something, won’t make it happen if it’s not in His plan. And oftentimes, His plan is very different from our plans. I prayed harder than I ever had in my entire life for God to heal my mother, for Him to take her cancer away and give it to me instead, but it didn’t matter because that’s not what He had planned. A year later when I prayed and prayed for Christina not to die, that didn’t matter either. She died anyway. I realized today when I was thinking about it, that it’s not that I’ve suffered a blow to my faith in God, but rather that I don’t believe prayer does any good anymore.

I realize this all sounds very depressing and gloomy, but let me assure you that 99% of the time, I am OK. I go to work and out with my friends and laugh and have a good time. I am a functioning member of society. I do what I need to do, but I also have my moments and I think that’s OK. I think it’s OK for me to still miss her. I think it’s OK for me to still hurt. I think everyone grieves differently and that it’s OK if I’m still dealing with this loss three years later. It has not stopped me from living my life, but I am most certainly not “over it” like many people probably imagine me to be. I don’t think I ever will be, as her death is something that permanently changed me.

I have not yet reached the point of being able to talk about her and smile about the good times (key word in that sentence is “yet” – I am still hopeful). Just having to say the words “my mother” out loud brings me to tears. I don’t talk about her with anyone other than my husband and dad, and even that is rare. It’s not that I want to forget her, it’s that I’m tired of feeling sad about her and it’s easier for me to just not talk about it. I deal with it in my own private way and that works for me.

8 thoughts on “Three.

  1. Looking down the tunnel to the future, I don’t really see how things truly get “easier.” I’m with you that I understand the sentiment and I appreciate that other people want to say something comforting, but what they don’t always see is that we had made plans. We had made plans with our mother’s without knowing it, to be with her when we turned another year older, to laugh, love, and cry with her. Then suddenly, you realize that those things will still happen, but without her presence, and it makes it all so bittersweet. You’re also right in allowing yourself to feel it. Give into the moment when you’re having it, because she was a big person to you. She was a big person to life. Stay wise, Erin. I wish I could say I had an answer to make her presence feel more present, but all I can console you with is that everything you’re feeling is right on as far as I know. Take care. ❤

    • Thanks, Colie. “Easier” is a tricky word – it definitely gets different as time goes on. I was told in the very beginning that grief never really goes away, but that it becomes a part of you and you learn to deal with it. I’ve found that to be spot-on. I’ve accepted my grief and I do what feels right. If I feel like I need to cry, I cry. If I need to laugh, I laugh. If I need to look through pictures of her, I do that.

      You’re right about the plans. I think that’s the hardest part. Whenever I used to think about the future, she was there. I kind of took that for granted and assumed she would be around for everything, and now that she’s not, it all feels kind of lacking. Even the little things – which is what most people probably don’t understand – like wanting to call her and tell her about my day. I can’t do that anymore and it hurts.

      What’s helped the most has been talking to other people who have been there or are currently going through the same kind of loss. It makes me feel just a little less crazy 😉

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose your mother. But you wrote about your feelings and how you deal with it every single day with such emotion and clarity, I hope that the writing or the talking about it helps you find some peace. All the best –

    • Thanks, Kim! Writing helps a LOT. Sometimes I feel like this blog has just become one big Debbie Downer whine-fest, but I need to get things out of my head and it’s so much easier to write about difficult feelings than it is to talk about them.

  3. Aww Erin! Hang in there sweetie. I was there. I couldn’t even look at a photo of my dad or speak of him. I had a break down once inside a store because I saw a box of Jujy Fruits and they were his favorite. Now, 15 years later I will buy that box of jujy fruits just because they were his favorite.
    I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to deal with grief. You have to do this however if feels right to you. Nothing is going to fill that void of your mother and its OK to feel sad, pissed off, angry or whatever about it. Holidays and birthdays are always hard and I think they always will be.
    I don’t think it gets easier, I just think you adapt to a different kind of life/thought process. I miss my dad every day, that won’t ever change, but it seems like a lifetime ago that he was here. Its just different now. I love you!

  4. I think this sounds spot on. Not like you are “doing it wrong” at all. I know I still have a long way to go, but I imagine that’s how I will be about Noah’s death.

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