In the wee morning hours of Sunday, January 22, 2012, my Mom died. She bravely endured dementia and Alzheimer’s but her little little body finally gave out and God took her home to be whole again. Even though I knew it was coming, I’ve never endured such a searing and painful loss in my life. I wasn’t ready to lose her yet, even though her mind had been gone for quite some time. Her physical absence is harder to cope with than I thought it would be.
As much as life needs to get back to normal, it’s not. I forget things I used to just naturally remember. I walk in circles a lot. My brain operates in a different mode now – not that it’s altogether bad. I’ve never experienced grief like this before – physical, emotional, social and spiritual. The toll it has taken and continues to take has been a bigger mushroom cloud than I thought it would be. But this I know: pain = growth, right? Please nod your head, ‘yes’.
Oh, and there is the crying at wholly odd times. For example, we used to give Mom a hard time for using too much toilet paper. Yep. She was guilty of ‘THE MIT’ for even the lightest of tinkles. So the other day I burst into tears in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store. She loved Neil Diamond, so listening to ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the car Tuesday prompted me to have to pull over. Sheesh. Ironically, Mom was a nurse and one of her many specialties was dealing with death & dying. She’d do work to prepare the patient and then would walk the family through what to expect. Oh how I wish for her now – for some of that wisdom of how to lose her – gracefully.
But angels are all around. I am so grateful for the caring support of our tight family and the shoulders of precious friends that don’t mind tears and a tiny bit of snot on them. The flowers, calls and cards have been a groundswell of love that make me – well – cry. Again.
I have found healing and solace in curating the beautiful photographs that were taken of her & by her over a lifetime. I’m preparing a memorial ‘Lyn’s Life in Pictures’ for her memorial service and I’m strongly pursuing the best avenue for this. Animoto? I am not sure yet – it needs to be able to support the pictures & accompanying music and possibly text on the pictures…
Not-so-brilliant discovery: It is going to take time to accept this loss – a lot of it.
Brilliant discovery: there is no RIGHT way to grieve. Conversely, there’s no wrong way either.
I have two older sisters and we are all processing the loss differently. This grief, pain and loss has made me love deeper and to be more compassionate of the challenges in the lives of the people I know and love. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.” ( It’s attributed to both T. H. Thompson & John Watson.) I find that I look at people with a sweeter love filter now because honestly folks – we have no idea what others are enduring at any given moment.
Here are a few Apps (don’t be too surprised) I found that actually offer support without having to go to a group, read a book or otherwise do something that is outside of my pain-zone:
- Grief Support ($0.99) – Created by Joe Prainito, who is a Pastor, Grief Counselor & author, he offers audio, video, blogs and discussions on the many faces of grief. There is a companion book for those who want to go even deeper.
- Discuss Grief ($3.99) – this is a walk through the grief process of one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. He wrote a book by this title after his beloved wife died. The creator of the app has really made this a study one could possibly lead later on. In the meantime, it’s just good soul food.
- Talk Life (free!) – I like this one because it aims to help you through tough stuff in all areas of life, not just losing your Mama.