Three years and coping

It seems a little surreal and hard to believe that today marks three years since mom’s been gone; seems just like yesterday and an eternity at the same time. I received sweet texts this morning from my daughter-in-law and friend, and phone calls from my daughters. I’ll visit mom later today and go to minyan tonight even though I went last week for her yahrzeit, the anniversary of the day of death in the Jewish calendar.

I went back into my email correspondence with Ted, trying to find something. I often referred to Ted as “T.” in my writing, and came across L’s exquisite eulogy that so embodied the essence of mom.

During the heavy grieving period we all cope differently. For me, it was wearing mom’s clothes and using her nail polish on my toes so when I looked down at my feet it was like looking at hers. And today, I’m wearing one of her sweaters and a pair of sandals that I bought with her.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of mom or tell her how much I love her. As Ted so poignantly and elegantly told me as only he could, “nothing dies that is remembered.”

In that case, mom is very much alive in me … and always will be.


Second wave of grief?

A second wave? Really? Didn’t know I was over and done with the first.
I received a follow-up letter from my hospice bereavement counselor, basically a form letter but personalized with my name, seeing how I was doing and letting me know that about this time it’s not unusual to go through a second wave of grief and that her services are available to me. A sound, a picture, a type of food – almost anything that might remind us of our gone loved ones can trigger it.

Whether it’s a “second wave” or a continuation of my initial grieving state, I’ve cried for the past two weeks – in the car, at work, in the grocery store. It doesn’t matter where I am, it just takes over. I’m sure it probably has something to do with the fact that we had mom’s unveiling the day after Thanksgiving when all the family was in. I stressed over the wording and the look of her headstone, consulting with my brother who said whatever I decide is fine and then approved  what I sent him. It was lovely and paid mom a loving and respectful tribute – “Beloved Wife, Mother and Nana.” But of course, gazing upon it as the rabbi recited blessings, I realized I should have included “Friend,” out of respect for T. I mentioned this to my family and of course they said it was fine as is. To satisfy my second-guessing, I reasoned with myself that “Friend” is just automatically understood and mom and T were essentially “husband & wife.”

Following the service, we all headed for BBQ for lunch in honor of mom, who developed a love for it since moving to Texas five years ago.

But back to the crying. It continues. I’m tearing up as I type this. I’m in a funk. I’m hardly productive at work and have thought of leaving. I’m tired of what I’m doing and feel I need a change but not another job. I need something more meaningful. So while I’ve always had a soft spot for “seniors,” I’m thinking of maybe doing some volunteer work with them, particularly those suffering with dementia (Note to self – I should have finished my masters in gerontology oh so many years ago).

I realize it’s time for another counseling appointment and I made one with Dr. R. for next week. Some friends say with the wedding now behind me I don’t have anything occupying my time. This could be true. I need projects and that consumed me for nine months. In cleaning out my closet I found a gem – a tablecloth mom started cross-stitching eons ago, maybe when I was  in high school or college. I initially found it when we were moving mom to Texas and said I’d finish it. It went into my closet and forgot about it.

I haven’t touched it…until now. I now have a new project, one which will be a labor of love.


This and That

Last night was my last grief counseling group session. I can’t say that I’ve experienced any life-changing epiphanies, rather, it’s given me a place to talk and express my feelings and cry. I must be doing better because last night only required one tissue. I’m glad I signed up for it.

I also had my first private session with Dr. R  last week since mom passed. There was so much territory to cover I was all over the place. An ever-present constant is that I just  miss my mother so much. And I can’t help but to continue to ponder the “what ifs” — if we waited a week to move her into Assisted Living she wouldn’t have fallen and my daughter’s upcoming wedding date — the same date that my mother fell last year — would not be ingrained as a reminder to me that it basically signaled the beginning of the end for her.

I still lack passion for anything. Nothing excites me. I just feel blah. However, I did go the museum yesterday during lunch to walk the space and size things up for D’s wedding. Much to my surprise it was the first time I actually got a little excited about it. The space caused me so much unnecessary angst. Not anyone else, just me. In the end, I know it will turn out beautiful.

And tonight I’m using the gift certificate I got mom for Mother’s Day last year for a facial. During the year we had to cancel appointments twice because she wasn’t up to it.

Just another reminder of how much I miss her.

The grieving process

This past Tuesday evening I had my first grief counseling session with a counselor from hospice. I did a lot of talking and crying, so much so that I could barely breathe from swollen sinuses. So did the 90-minute session help?

Grieving old man

Image via Wikipediahospice.

I guess so. It certainly didn’t hurt. What I already knew about myself  — guilt I’m feeling, second-guessing of things I did or didn’t do — was just reinforced. In short, as a quasi-perfectionist, I’m being just too hard on myself. I know this is something that I need to work out and over time I hope to.