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Saturday, October 11, 2014

A New Normal

I hear that phrase tossed about all the time.
Getting used to "a new normal", usually used
in reference to learning how to get your life
back on the rails after the bottom has dropped out,
or in the face of some other calamity.

I haven't faced any calamities.
I recognize quite clearly that by all measures,
I am a blessed person.
A good job, two good jobs, in fact.
Photographer and Respiratory Therapist.

I have a husband who is a good, solid man.
He loves and supports me and puts up
with my BS on a regular basis,
God only knows why.

I have friends sent from God.
Honestly, I won the friends lottery.

I am afforded the opportunity to do things
that I dearly love, like photo shoots for websites,
shops, and see my work appear in magazines.
I'm lucky and I know it.

But every single day, there comes a certain time.
Sometimes it hits me on the drive home.
Often it hits me when I hear certain songs.
Two days ago it hit me when I went into
a grocery store I hadn't frequented in over a year...
the grocery store she shopped in all the time.

I remember.

The waves of grief, which I thought had lost
their magnitude over the past 3 years,
wash over me tsunami-style, 
and leave me struggling for breath.
I miss her. I miss my mom.

She was my best friend, my fiercest defender,
my biggest supporter and number one fan.

I feel her presence when all is quiet.

I imagine the talks we would have.
"Hey, guess what Mama??? I just found out
that I have two magazine features coming out this Christmas!"
And she'd cry and be thrilled and gush over me
shamelessly as only a mom can.

"Hey, Mama? I'm really struggling
with some physical and emotional changes lately."
And she'd listen. And listen. And listen some more.

I go to sleep most nights knowing that 
even though my husband loves me completely,
no one has ever loved me as fully and unconditionally
as she did. I was her only child. I was her world.

We were a team, she and I.
My father was a good-for-nothing,
and it was the two of us against the world 
most of my life. 
Now I feel as though I'm fighting
so many of those battles alone.
Not literal battles, but the struggle to project a sense
of normalcy to the world at large while also
fighting to keep the PTSD under control.
She was the rock...who talked
me off ledges, figuratively speaking.

My new without my mom.
Three years on after losing her,
it still feels anything but normal.

I stumble, I fall, I say and do the wrong things.
I really do strive to lead an honest and honorable life,
but some days, just the mere act of making it through the day
without crawling into a ball in the corner 
is an accomplishment of the highest magnitude.

I've closed the blog to comments for the past year or so,
but I'm opening them up again for this post.
{ comments closed as of 10/12/14-my apologies }
Maybe some of you can relate and want to share.

Maybe some of you would like to tell me
to snap out of it and knock off the pity party.
Or maybe you just wanna say "hey...I get it."

Their is a certain beauty in grief,
at least I've found that to be true.
I've tried to become a kinder, more empathetic person.
I appreciate more fully the fragility and brevity of life.
I want to make the most of every moment
that God sees fit to give me.

I miss my old normal,
but I'm ready to embrace the new.

Due to a security glitch this morning,
I was temporarily locked out of my blog.
This post is now closed to comments as a result.
Thanks to each of you for sharing and for your
most generous and caring words.


Beth R. said...

God bless you, sweet lady.
I've been in your shoes and I know what it feels like to wonder how your going to make it through the day. Losing my husband followed by my oldest son just a year later sent me into the worst depression of my life. That was about 10 years ago, but grief doesn't ever really go away. It's always there but it does get easier with time.
Will be praying for your peace.

Dixie said...

Anne, I know exactly how you feel... Except I had a worthless mother and was raised by an adoring dad. My dad passed away when I was 21 and he was 46... CANCER. His diagnosis was stage 4 lung cancer, 6-months to live. I saw him nearly every day during those last 6-months, and spent the night at his house the night before he died. That was 36-years ago last September 4th. He is buried in Mississippi, where I grew up, and where that cabin is we just purchased. My sweet husband knows that I am Going to want to go by and visit Daddy every time I'm there. 36 -years and I still miss him immensely. I still tear up thinking about him, still wish I could hear his voice, his laugh... Get one of his big bear hugs.

You will always miss her. There will always be something you want to tell her, or advice you wish you could get from her... You're not weird... You're just grieving the loss of someone irreplaceable. It's okay. It will be easier over time, but you will still tear up when you think of her... And you will visit her resting place until the day you join her.

Hugs. Joey D. Aka Dixie

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I hate the words "new normal"; despise them in fact. It's almost 3 years since Dave died and there's not a single day that's easy. Not yet, maybe not ever. I hate his being dead.

elizabeth said...

My mama's been gone almost four years. The other day I longed for some of her New England boiled dinner. (Mama was born on PEI in the old family farmhouse by the sea, and she grew up near the sea in Maine). I looked up the recipe in some of Mama's old cookbooks but I know for a fact those recipes are not the way Mama made hers. The fact that I never noted exactly how she made it grieved me. Her recipe is lost to me now, for it was more a method than something written.

Anonymous said...

Grief is a part of life. It's not pleasant, but it's something we all go through if we are caring human beings.
If you only lost your mom 3 years ago that's not a very long time. I lost my over 20 years ago and I still have those kinds of days like you mentioned. I think that the love you and your mom had must have been really special. I hope you know that she's with you.
That's what I beleieve about my mom and they even send us little signs sometimes. Those give me comfort.
I hope I havent rambled too much. Just sharing my journey.


Rose Garden Romantic said...

Dear Anne, I can't imagine how hard it must be. I am very close to my sweet mama and I have had nightmares my entire life about losing her. My mama is now 71 and not in the best health. I worry about losing her all the time. I'm so sorry that your mama is not here on earth with you anymore. My heart hurts for you, sweet friend.
Hugs, Michelle

lynn said...

Gosh reading this brought a lump to my throat as it told of me & my daughter's life... like it was she & I against the world so much of her life. (Similar stories as a mom & dtr of you & your mom). That is such a powerful bond and I imagine your mother felt about you as I do my daughter. Fierce love. Remember, she is still with you, just in another form now. She was probably crying alongside you. Thank you for sharing your feelings, it was very beautifully written.

Terri Gordon said...

Dear Anne, I just had to comment, I know what you are going through, I lost my Mom in March of 2013, she was not sick and was gone in two days, my sister and I were in shock and my Dad had poor health, so we had to help him and he passed away 10 months later, January 2014. I still can't believe they are both gone, I think about them each and every day and wonder if there will ever be a day that I don't. I see my aunts and uncles and it is so hard to not have parents anymore. Sometimes I feel sorry for people who still have parents because they still have to go through the pain of losing them. Thanks for your post, I appreciate your words. Remember that she is with you always, look for the signs, they are there. Hugs, Terri

Debra@CommonGround said...

love you, I'm always here, just a phone call (or text message) away. My daddy's been gone 15 years. Occasionally, I have the most vivid dreams where I see him and we have conversations. a little like an angelic visitation. Look forward to the time you'll be with her again in Heaven. xoxo

Sonny G said...

How I wish I had the words to ease your heart..
You have the right to grieve in any way you wish and for as long as you need to.
I have heard others say that the more you talk about it, the easier it becomes.
Speaking your truth is a form of release, so speak it all you want to.
I agree with the others, she is still here, but in a different form.
sending you love and light and hoping your heart can be peaceful.

Elaine said...

Dear Anne,
God loves you and knows your heart. It takes a lot of courage to be so open and honest.
Wishing you God's best in your new normal.

Lin from A {tiny} Cottage In The Woods said...

I hear you, and feel the exact same way. We are supposed to continue on, but it's a lot harder now.
Sending hugs.

Tilda said...

It has been 37 years since my dad, my whole world died. I have days like yours. I never know when it will hit me. Odd places, odd reasons, and I cry for this man I loved so much. Normal, I don't know if it ever gets normal.

C. C. said...

I remember reading your blog when you went through a very hard time 3 years ago! You had several hard life experiences if I remember correctly! I am writing because in just a couple of days it will have been 20 years ago that my Mom died -- just 6 mo. after a cancer diagnosis. Her death changed my life immensely just because I was unprepared to lose her. I understand your grief, your tears, your feelings of loss!

We each grieve in our own way and in our own time. I still miss my Mom, I still cry often when thinking of her. I would give anything to hear her voice again! I don't believe this will EVER change. But I have found that for me, time does have a way of easing that immediate and often constant stabbing pain and emptiness.

There will be good times and hard times -- but having had such a WONDERFUL mother, I know you realize all the blessings that she gave you -- and we know that one day -- she'll meet you in heaven!!!

Praying for peace and for comfort for you! Thank you for all you have shared with us!

Revi said...

I get it. I cried like a baby while making a pea salad a couple of Thanksgiving mornings back. I'm thankful for the love, and it is worth the loss on this earth.

Rita Joy said...

Oh, Anne, I read this with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I identify a bit...only my mom has dementia and doesn't know who I am. The mourning over losing who she was comes in waves, and lately I've been missing her so, so much... Big hugs to you today. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Your post is poignant one and speaks of an unconditional love, how very blessed you fortunate to have a mum and a best friend. It doesn't happen to everyone. It's okay to feel that deep pit in the stomach feeling, it's totally okay. Recognise it, allow yourself to feel what you do, but also recognise and remember the deep love and friendship you both shared...such memories to treasure...Sharon in the UK.

Tressie said...

My heart sincerely goes out to you. I had a mom who loved me in that same unconditional way. I grieve for her still 10 years later but feel lucky that god chose her as my mom.
I'm praying for you.

NanaDiana said...

Oh sweet girl- I KNOW how you feel. I lost my wonderful Dad when I was 21 years old and my Mom when I was 35. I was the apple of my Dad's eye...his firstborn and he was 53 when I was born. There are still days when my heart will just seize wishing that I could "show" him something or "tell" him something. My biggest loss is that he never got to see his Grandkids. Oh-what a time he would have had with them.

I think the thing about it is that our parents are probably the only people in the world that ever love us unconditionally...even married love comes with certain expectations of "who" we are.

I am typing this with half-sight because I just had some eye surgery but I wanted you to know that you are not alone....for me--my only hope is that I will spend eternity with those that I have loved that have gone before me.

Love to you- xo Diana

WendyW said...

Hi Anne, thank you for sharing your heart and feelings of the loss of your Mother .... You had such a great mother/daughter bond which will never go away. She is always with you. You will have many times of weeping ahead but the pain will get less as the years go on but you will always miss her. I lost my darling Dad 17 years ago and my darling Mother last December .. My thoughts, love and prayers are with you
Wendy from Australia xoxo

Carol D said...

I lost my mother six days ago. I don't expect my life to ever be the same and don't expect to ever stop grieving. I can only pray for the both of us to still have hope and some measure of happiness. Death is not natural, it is not what God intended for us, so the longing is always there. Pray for comfort.


Ah, dearest, I am posting tomorrow about my mom, too, as it is 9 years tomorrow, since we said goodbye.

The loss does get sweeter and less grueling, but I miss her often.

Sending love and prayers as you remember your sweet mom.


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