No, this won’t be a year-in-review type post. Just remembering where I was, what I was doing a year ago today, Christmas Eve. I was here at my home, living in a blur world.
My mother’s in-home caregiver had called me hours earlier, telling me that she thought my Mom was dead. I had just gotten home from the grocery store, and had opened the rear hatch of my car when the cell phone in my pocket rang. I sat on the rear bumper of my car, crying, as my husband drove in, returning home from a night shift. While I was on the phone with the caregiver, the fire department showed up at Mom’s house. A paramedic went upstairs to check Mom’s body while I waited on the phone.
Then came the confirmation: yes, for sure, Mom was dead. Next came the shock: she had left a note behind, mentioning that she was now in a better place. My world stopped.
Yes, life with Mom was at times a challenge. But we also had our good times as well. For all the difficulties, when your mom dies, it puts your knees to the dirt. I could barely think about Christmas. I don’t even remember wrapping presents that night or opening them the next day.
I remember calling my brothers, sharing the bad news. Hours later I spoke with my older brother and asked him what his travel plans were; assuming that he was going to fly to our parents’ house to deal with Mom’s body and everything else that needed to be dealt with in the immediacy. There seemed to be some major disconnect in his brain because he didn’t see the need to hurry and take care of things. He seemed to mention something about the home caregiver doing this or that. Not her j-o-b! Her job just ended.
So, I spent Christmas Day trying to be at least the tiniest bit present for my son. I hopped onto the computer to find a flight across country, and found a red-eye the day after Christmas.
The next few days, I was a zombie. Having buried Dad only 10 months earlier, I called the same funeral home and dealt with the same, kind, people.
Mom’s body was taken by the state’s medical examiner because her death was not run of the mill. I had to sign paperwork so the funeral home could take custody of Mom’s body. Then I went through all of the paperwork with the funeral home.
At the same time, there were 2 seven-year old cats who needed new homes. With my husband allergic, our taking them was not an option. After trying to contact a slew of no-kill shelters, and dealing with one certified whack job, I “lucked out” and found out about a shelter who was about to hold an adoption weekend event; and they hoped to have room for the cats after the weekend. As it ended up, a family friend was able to take one of the cats, and the shelter took the other (who was adopted within 2 weeks).
So, after a whirlwind trip dealing with Mom, the funeral home, and the cats, my time had run out and I needed to return home for my husband to return to work on time. Zombie state was moving out for grief to fully move in for a while.
A year later, the grief has done a fairly good job of moving through. Once in a while it comes back, but fortunately doesn’t stay too long. It’s been here and there today, visiting and then moving through. And from where I sit, that’s what it’s all about: moving through. It’s perfectly ok to be sad, to cry, to grieve, as long as it can keep moving through.