Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Grief

Mother's memorial service display of flowers with our baby pictures.
The first Sunday without my mother was the day we celebrated her life with a memorial service.  I was surrounded by family and friends.  I was in a daze.  I felt fine.

The second Sunday without her I was so tired and numb from the array of emotions leading up to her death that I didn't feel much.  In fact, it was a rather normal day.

The third Sunday I was driving home from church and suddenly a wave of grief came over me as I realized that normally Tom and I would go and visit her in the evening.

We would not be visiting her anymore on Sundays.  Not any day of the week. She is really gone.

It was a very rough day.  I tried to nap but my puffy eyes wouldn't let me.  I didn't want to ride the motorcycle because my last memory of the motorcycle was trying to get home from our long trip on bikes in time to see her before she lost consciousness.

I cried most of the day. My sister called from Canada but between my own tears and a bad satellite connection, we were unable to talk long. How can it be so awkward, even with family?

There were some Sundays in the past that I would have rather stayed home to sleep or ride my motorcycle than go and visit.  Now I am free to do any of those and they aren't as appealing.  I miss her, I admit as I sit here wearing her blue gingham pajamas.

I can feel a growing apprehension of facing Sundays without her. I don't want to start a new pattern of dread in my life so I tried to approach this Sunday differently.  Knowing my husband had a meeting after church and I would go home to an empty house (which is very hard) I decided to see if a friend could have lunch with me.

I was nervous as I pulled into the restaurant parking lot.  Maybe this wasn't a good idea.  Grief can hit at the worst times and I prefer to be alone when it happens.  I wondered if I did the wrong thing by suggesting we meet.  But I am so glad I did. As she shared her own story of loss, we found similarities in our journeys. Both surprised that we shed very few tears at the funeral. The tears come before and after, but during....not so much.

I find this to be a tricky path.  My heart is full of emotions. I have a certain sense of composure that I want to maintain around the public. What's strange is that I want this composure even around my closest friends and family.  I don't want anyone to touch the faucet that controls the tears.  It makes everyone feel awkward if I cry so I don't want to talk because talking makes me cry.  It's not that I don't want to talk about her. Or about my feelings.  I just don't want to cry in front of you.

There are still so many more rivers to be released and once they start, they are hard to stop.  A few drops of rain are manageable.  A flood?  That's messy!

No one knows exactly how to handle their grief.  It's different for everyone.  There are days I want to be with people - it helps take my mind off of the loss.  There are other days when I want to be alone. I don't have anything to say.  I don't want to have to talk.  I just want to be quiet.

This stage is hard for friends.  It's awkward.  I get that.

Someone asked me today if I am attending a support group for grief.  I guess it hasn't crossed my mind too much.  I find support as I write out my thoughts.  There are so many of you that have walked a similar path and you've told me how much you relate to what I write. There is a sense of healing that comes every time I read your story, hear your path. Hear what you wear that belonged to your mother.

Just today, someone told me that they used to take Sunday afternoon drives with their mother.

Another used to go have dinner with their mother on Sundays.

Others tell of how hard it is to go home to an empty house when their spouse passes.  Especially Sunday after church.

Thanks to the friends who wait patiently for us until we figure out what it is we need. Sometimes we just don't know what we need or we are too afraid of uncontrollable emotions if we open our mouth to say what we need.

It's Sunday afternoon again.
I had lunch with a friend.
Tried to sleep.
Went for a long walk.
Remembered the friend who told me today that her mother died a year ago.  Her husband passed away 8 months ago. She found a part time job to help her face the grief and the lonely house.  It's helping.  But of course, she said it with tears in her eyes.

I understood. It's that 'Sunday afternoon grief' that comes any day of the week.