Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grief delayed

Well, I knew that something would trip me up in the end.

Mother died last November, and here it is summer and I have started having all of these doubts about what kind of son I was and if I tended to her as I should have.

And what has caused me to revisit Kubler-Ross' stage 4?

We've had contractors in and out of  Casa Cookie doing work that has been postponed for years and all this waiting for them to show up has me thinking about life, and the meaning of my life, and whether or not I was there for her as I would hope someone would be there for me.  In the greater scheme of things are beautiful hardwood floors, with a satin finish, going to make the world a more beautiful place?  And if I didn't do everything for her that I could of, will I take care of these floors and keep them fresh looking for years to come?

Was I the son that did for her as she did for me?  Well, was I?

And what has come out of all of this is that while I loved her, I allowed her to run parts of my life as she ran her life and frankly, I find that it's just not an sustainable model for living that I want.

Could I have done more? Probably.  But I was in denial as much as she was.  She just wanted to have conversations that were about anything but death - she wanted to live in her own world.  And that's what I let her do.

So, I have re-evaluated myself and accepted some things about myself and my first take away is that I can't fight the fact that a large portion of my life - the relationship with my mom  - is gone, and it is never coming back. So I have to make changes to my life and allow more people into my circle of trust. 

For starters, I have decided that I am not a outgoing person - that for all the pushing I have put myself through, I am really an introvert - and being an introvert is not a sign of weakness, it just is who I am.  Yes, I need to be around people, and yes, I get lonely.  But I need to be with myself and recharge my batteries, and that is something that by and large gets done when I am on my own.

I have made the appointment to close out the estate, me having discharged every duty, and paid every bill as I should have.  This is making me a bit sad because after this estate is done, she won't be in my life because she won't exist in a tangible way.

So where does this leave me with my Mom?

Well, she's dead and she isn't coming back.  I know it's harsh, but its the truth.  And I still miss her and would love to talk to her, but that isn't going to happen again.   "But'" people will say "you can still talk with her."  As if that is going to happen. Seriously, she not going to avail herself and start chatting with me.  You and I know this.  That's the part of grief that folks don't understand - that it hurts, that it's loss that can never be replaced by anything or anyone.  And they aren't coming back as hard as we wish they would.

So what do I do?  I get on with my life, that's what.  And in the coming months I have to work to remove her energy from my day to day life and work to allow myself to invest my energy into improving the lives of others. 

You are saying to yourself "Cookie? Helping others? Seriously?" because you know that selflessness is a whole new thing to me.   I better see some comments containing words of wisdom from you cunts on this selflessness thing, NOW!

If, after reading all of this you are somewhat confused, truth be told, so am I.

But it's part of the process of healing. 

Love you all for reading this and allowing me to work through it.


  1. Selflessness? I'll go look it up in the dictionary and get back to you.

    I think of my mother everyday and will always miss her.

    I remember my mother wondering if she had been a good daughter to HER mother.

    Many of us have the same doubts.

    Know that you're not alone in your feelings and that ups and downs are to be expected.

  2. Grief delayed isn't grief denied. My mother passed away almost two-months ago on May 26th. In many ways, I still can't believe it - it just doesn't seem possible. And yet, it is true. Between my father and my sister, I found that I didn't have time or even room to grieve - their grief was larger than life.

    I only live four hours from my parents but I didn't see them except for a couple of times a year. When I became an adult, ours was a "telephone relationship" - lot's of childhood drama lead to my consicious choice. Despite all of that, I still worry that I wasn't as good a son as I should have been. Then I realize that I am a product of my parents - both physically and emotionally. They raised me to leave the small PA town where I grew up. So while we don't meet some Saturday Evening Post standard of what a family is meant to be, I met my parents expectations by surpassing their standards. And in that, they are/were proud.

  3. Cookie Darling.... Just be kind to yourself. Grief is a cunt to deal with and fuck Kubler Ross. The sooner we realise that grief can and will effect us at any time and we all grieve differently the better. It's an individual response that doesn't move through stages in a linear way and you cannot compare your grief to the grief of others or try and fit yourself into a suitable compartmentalised box. It serves us no purpose. The alleged "stages" of grief are transient and circular... and that is the cunt part! We think we have gotten through a stage on the linear path and moved on to the next and then "Oh fuck why am so angry numb, shocked, whatever the emotion is that we re feeling... "I thought I'd worked through this shit".

    Grief does this. It's normal and it can piss us off. Expect things to be rocky for a while yet it's only early days...

  4. I just came back to say CUNTS!

  5. Sweetness...grief has no calendar. I've had a lot of loss - sudden, suicides, and expected. You don't grieve and get on with it. Just yesterday I thought I saw the face of my ex who passed away two Thanksgivings ago. Also, the Kubler-Ross stages have been debated over the past few years. They are not really the only way.
    Your path is your path. Whatever it takes to feel better. xoxo

  6. Princess nailed it.

    One only becomes an adult when one's parents are dead.

  7. MJ said...
    Selflessness? I'll go look it up in the dictionary and get back to you.

    My mother used to say "If you're looking for sympathy it's in the dictionary between 'shit' and 'suicide'" and when I tried to point out that the word 'symapthy' came after the word 'suicide' she said "No, I think it's anger that comes after suicide."

    Scooter said...
    Cookie Darling.... My mother passed away almost two-months ago on May 26th. In many ways, I still can't believe it - it just doesn't seem possible. And yet, it is true. .

    Condolences on your loss. It's something we all will go through but its something unique to each of us.

    Princess says
    Grief is a cunt to deal with and fuck Kubler Ross.

    But what I like about Kubler Ross is that it's simple. It lacks details. I need her, but only in her texts.

    MJ says
    I just came back to say CUNTS.

    And Bless you for that cheer up!

    Donna Lethal says
    ...grief has no calendar.

    I know - but there are this moments that creep up behind you and say BOO! Like when the doctor told me I needed the surgery my first thought was to call Mom. But you can't. Thats what sucks.

    Will says
    One only becomes an adult when one's parents are dead.

    I'm there.

  8. Becoming more introverted seems more to be part of our age. I'm just not the chatty type I once was.

    I think you become resigned to the loss, but you never get used to it. Well, resignation can be useful.

  9. I found your blog by a link to your posting about the Studebaker. I came for the car, I stayed for your classy blog and fantastic links.

    It never goes away, you just learn to live with it. My Ma died in Feb 2009. My son and I were loyal to the end. She just retreated into herself and we had to let her go. I woke up @ 4AM the day before she died and I knew I had to go...immediately. My partner watched me getting dressed. I sat by her bed. I didn't know if she could hear me, she was making rumbling noises. I told her it was OK to go. I told her she did a good job raising us and that we were all adults now and while we would miss her very very much (OH if I only knew then how much) that we would be OK. She shouldn't worry about us. She died the next day.

    Xmas 2009 I was ironing in my living room. Thankfully I was home alone. I stopped, stared straight ahead and said in a loud voice "I don't want her laying in the cold ground, not for Christmas!" I collapsed and cried for about 1/2 an hour.

    You won't know what will trigger it or why or when it will happen. Just know it will and it's normal and it's OK to cry.

    The following Spring I went to the cemetery to clean the graves and plant flowers. My partner came with me. They're all there, now. More it seems in the ground than left walking above it. I was OK until the last one left to clean, my parents. As I cleaned the marker it happened again, but this time I must have been channeling Joan Crawford as I held up a chunk of sod in my dirt encrusted hand as tears rolled down my face and I said "I never thought I'd have to do this." I can laugh about it now, because if I didn't do it no one else sure as hell would.

    Like I said, you never know where or when or why, but a trip to the cemetery is a good warning of something brewing.

    There will be times of doubt, where you needlessly torture yourself for what you realize later is nothing. You were there, you cared, that is what's important. Let the rest go, keep the memories good and bad. And be kind to yourself, you're only human.