It’s been four weeks now.
I’m in that weird stage where it hasn’t been nearly long enough to be “over it” (I will never be fully over it), but yet it’s not recent enough that I get a pass from being a functional human being.
No one is bringing over lasagnas anymore, and the flowers they sent have all wilted and died.
The funeral is over. The ashes have been put into the urn and the urn has been put into a cabinet in my living room. The death certificates are ready.
I’ve gone back to work. I’m planning Georgia’s birthday party and driving Ruby to and from a million social engagements. I deep-cleaned my upstairs bathroom and had a dinner date with my husband. I ordered shorts and beach towels and dishwasher-safe water bottles for Georgia for summer camp. I scheduled Ruby’s oral surgery. I’m moving forward. I’m living my life.
But then I find an old Christmas card from my mom while tidying up the front room. Or I get an email reminder that she Venmoed me $25 the week before she died and I never claimed it. Or a silly video she posted on my Facebook page pops up in my “memories.” Or I start reading a book I know she’d love and I make a mental note to set it aside for her … and then I remember.
In a way, these painful events are welcome because I’m not ready yet to move on, to leave my mom in the past while I keep going into in the unfolding future. In another way, they’re frustrating setbacks that leave me in tears when I’m really sick of crying at this point.
I probably look OK to most people most days. They ask me, constantly and genuinely, how I’m doing. And I shrug and say, “Hangin’ in there, I guess!” which is true but not the full truth. I am OK, in a very real sense. But I’m also not at all OK and don’t know when or if I will ever be totally OK ever again.
I’m tired of being sad. I’m not quite ready yet to be happy again. I don’t know how to articulate what I am right now … except “hangin’ in there, I guess.”
It feels like the start of a new season – school is out, summer is here, people are vaccinated and can start to live their normal lives again – and it’s one I’m eager to embrace. But it’s not one I was ready to begin without my mom by my side.
I’m grateful for what I had. I’m devastated by what I’ll never have again. But I’m still here. I’m still going.
I’ve made it four weeks. Now I have to make it the rest of my life.