I’m not yet as coherent as I’d like to be.
I hope you like your blogs grief-flavored because that’s all I’m going to have on offer for the next … who even knows?
All I know is that exactly two weeks ago, I was writing something here about LEAP testing and sending out emails for my full-time job and taking one kid to fencing practice while arguing with the other one about her homework and texting with my mom about Mother’s Day plans. She was going to make strawberry scones. She said she loved me.
The next morning, she was dead.
In an instant or, to be precise, a 68-second phone call, all of the normal chaos of my life gave way to nothing but bottomless and all-consuming grief.
I don’t know what I do now.
I mean, I’ve done the things. The things one has to do. (Or my husband has done them for me or with me.) We set up the cremation and filed for the death certificate and duplicates and then went back to get her ashes. I picked out an urn. I read books on grief and ordered black dresses for my daughters and me. I met with the priest and planned the funeral service and wrote the obituary and picked out the Bible verses and readings and songs. I wrote and somehow managed to give the eulogy. My husband handled the catering for the reception afterward. My best friend made a photo collage. I made a program. My work friends helped me get it printed.
I’ve also kept doing the other things one has to do just to stay alive and keep children functioning: cooking and eating and bathing and washing clothes and helping with homework and walking the dog.
But I feel like I’m doing them underwater or some other dumb cliché. Nothing seems real.
I’m a classic catastrophizer, but I never saw this coming. In all the times I’ve worried about my mom – nights when I was in high school and she was too late coming home from a date, trips she took when she wouldn’t let me know she’d arrived right away, a day when she didn’t show up for work and her boss called me, literally every day of the pandemic until she got vaccinated – I never thought she would text me about strawberry scones for Mother’s Day and then die in her sleep.
Even though I logically understand that nothing is certain, no tomorrow guaranteed for anyone, my mother’s sudden and unexpected death makes it so clear how quickly you can lose anyone and as a result has made me (even more) fearful of everything. Car accidents. School shootings. Cancer. Blow dryers falling into bathtubs. Falls. Dog attacks. Poisons lurking everywhere. Abductions.
And although I fully understand she’s gone, I do keep thinking of things I want to tell her, picking up my phone to call her …
I wish there were an alternate reality in which we were eating strawberry scones on Mother’s Day.
I wish I’d known that Easter would be our last holiday together, exactly one month before her death.
I wish I knew how long this feeling would last.
But no one can know.
So I can make no promises about how long it will be until I’m back to normal. I hope you’ll bear with me.