Letting Go, Part 2

Two days after Thanksgiving, I lost my mom.  Death, a natural part of the Circle of Life, visits each of us.  We are all touched by it sooner or later.  Knowing this does not make it easier when it takes a loved one from us.

The mom I knew had already disappeared into a sea of confusion, fear, pain, and suffering.  The once strong, determined woman from humble beginnings had, over the years been overtaken with so many physical ailments it was hard to recognize her as the same person that used to cook wonderful meals, sew intricate patterns, and take care of her family.  Losing her, along with my dad a few years ago, means that the two people who brought me into this world, the very ones that anchored me in life, are now gone.  They were not perfect parents (not that any are) but, in spite of the flaws and mistakes that make us human, I know they loved my siblings and me.  

So now, grief will have it's way.  Although mom is released from her suffering, her death leaves a void in all who loved her.  Grief is a deeply personal response to loss.  There are no rules for how many tears should be shed, how long sadness camps out in our hearts, or how soon is "too soon" to laugh again. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, introduced the world to the Five Stages of Grief:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  While helpful to understand the process of grieving, it was not intended to be a strict map that one follows in a linear fashion.  "They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives." (http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief)

"Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next day it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day at wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence."
— Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies 

"The road through grief is a rocky one. Traveling along it requires courage, patience, wisdom, and hope."  Candy Lightner

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”  Vicki Harrison

I believe that it's best not to dodge, hide from, or stuff grief.  To get past it, one must go through it.  There is no way around it. 

In May, a new grandchild will be born, a joyful occasion.  Letting Go and Receiving, Sorrow and Joy, Tears of Grief and Tears of Happiness- all part of our human experience.