Melancholy

Grief knows no calendar.

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I guess I will always feel a little melancholy in January.

I lost my mom two years ago this month, and I continue to be surprised at just how much harder it is to move on from her death than what I’ve experienced after losing our other parents.  I don’t know if it was the fact that she was our last living parent, if it is because I was closer to her than any of our other parents, or if it’s something else.  Without a doubt, though, grief is taking it’s sweet time with me, it seems.

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I think most people tend to give a lot of leeway to family members and friends in the first year after the loss of a close loved one.  Tackling all those “firsts” can be so, so hard, and I certainly found that to be true after losing my mother, just as it was after we lost our other parents.  I had quite a bit of support, especially from my closest friends, and I’m grateful for the love shown that truly helped me through that first year.

Grief didn’t care about that calendar, though.  Not one bit.

Last year was my second full year without Mom, and I swear it was just as hard on many occasions as it was in year one.  Understandably, most people assume that after that first year, all is fine… or at least better, so I started to just keep my feelings to myself and not burden others with my continuing feelings.  Friends have other interests in their lives and suffer their own heartaches.

Life moves on for all of us.

But, as Shelby’s mom said in Steel Magnolias after the graveside service for her sweet Shelby…

“I’ll tell you what I wish. … That’s what my mind says, I just wish somebody would explain it to my heart.”  (Steel Magnolias… 1989)

Oh, how very true that statement is.  So, so true.  (I’m not sure a movie ever truly captured such a true manifestation of grief as this particular scene at the cemetery.)

I have no sage wisdom to share today, except to simply acknowledge that grief doesn’t stick to a one-year calendar, despite that conventional viewpoint these days.  Acknowledging the ongoing grief helps a bit, and that’s why I’m writing today.  Simple acknowledgement.

I hope this lesson sticks with me and reminds me to have a tender heart toward others in the future, perhaps by simply marking my calendar and letting them know that I’m thinking of them and offering a heart-felt, sympathetic prayer for them on their own hard anniversaries.

I want to make it count, this often hard path I continue to find myself on without my Mom in my life.  (The article linked is absolutely fabulous.)

During this anniversary month of Mom’s passing, I’m reading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, and so far, it is quietly speaking to my broken heart.  Ann’s writings are best savored slowly and deliberately, and every day, I’m slowly “getting it.”  Perhaps if you find yourself with a broken heart right now, this book might offer some insight to you, too.  If not right now, perhaps make a note of this great book for a time you might need it in the future?

Ann is “explaining it to my heart,” and I am grateful.

 

Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

7 thoughts on “Melancholy”

  1. Wow, finding it hard to believe that I’m the first to comment on such a beautiful post. The blog link you shared, and the book you’re reading, both are a testimony to grace under pressure or just…grace.

    I love posts like this, where writers give you so much in difficult moments like you did, a delicate rose in the darkness.

    My father died in 2012, and this past Christmas, I missed him more than ever while I watched Christmas movies that often had beautiful moments between fathers and daughters. Those moments are over for me.

    Just recently, I met someone so much like my father, I felt like I had a piece of him back. He is another RVer, and we spent several days in the company of he and his wife, both wonderful people. We reached out to them because we thought they might enjoy the company, having traveled so far from Alaska. Since Dad’s passing, doing kind acts for others have helped me keep the pain in perspective.

    As it usually happens when I set out to show kindness to others, the Alaskans gave us more than we gave them, and for a few days, I had my father back through memories this man so like my father activated in me.

    I’m reminded by your post too, to enjoy what I have, cherish what I’ve lost. As we reach out to one another and others, may we find pieces of everyone we’ve lost through them–until our sweet memories are as plenteous as the stars.

    Thank you for your blog post today and for choosing us to share it with. To you, the Alaskans, and people who everywhere who touch our hearts…bless you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to sincerely thank you for your most thoughtful response. I confess that I’m a little teary over your generous comments on a post that I figured very few people, if any, would probably even read. I loved your story about befriending the people from Alaska, and I can attest to somewhat similar situations in our own RV travels, too. A few years ago, we met a couple quite a bit older than us that were camped across from us in their nice RV. The woman was battling cancer, but she wanted to continue to travel in their RV (part-time) for as long as she could. That’s just one of several inspiring stories of people we’ve met that have so inspired me. Not sure if you followed Driving Miss Norma on Facebook before Norma passed away, but I think their stories were pretty similar in that regard. How special for you that you got your “father” back, at least for a little bit. I’m honestly still in a transitional phase after Mom’s death and after our kids have left home and even moved very far away. There are times it’s just really, really hard. However, the comfort of my faith wraps me up like a warm blanket in so many of those moments, and direction and kindness always seems to find a way when things are really hard. I thank you for your beautiful kindness today that has so touched me this morning.

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  2. Dear friend, my heart is with you in your melancholy and my prayers are too. I’ve never lost a loved one in this month, but I too find January a bit hard. Maybe it’s the aftermath of the holidays, the long dark days, I don’t know, but it affects me with touches of sadness. I’ve heard so much about Ann Voskamp’s new book both on her site and other places, I’ll have to put it on my to-read list. May God bring you a warm memory that evokes happiness today. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, January is a hard month just because it follows the holidays, even though we often have some beautiful weather here, unlike your neck of the woods. Losing Mom in January hasn’t helped, for sure. As I choose to be an adult in these later years of life, though, I’ve also chosen to be more honest about my feelings and not sidestep them. That approach didn’t work then, and it won’t work now or in the future. Not everything is appropriate to share in this online medium, but perhaps this time, it is appropriate if it helps someone else. I’m so thankful for a special lady that helped me on this front some years ago… to know that it’s ok to feel my feelings but not be overtaken by them to the point they start to destroy me. I also choose to believe that God uses every single thing in my life to bring me closer to Him, even if it’s not easy. Ann’s book is offering some fresh insight on this for me, and I’m planning to start her study next week on the book, too. What if those who mourn really are truly blessed? Not sure I really believed that before now but I’m getting there, digging deep for answers and hoping to “make it count.” (The article I linked on that is wonderful.) Blessings to you today, and thanks for your sweet comments, as always. So blessed to call you friend, even across the miles!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I so agree. It’s incredibly hard to accept that they who mourn are truly blessed. But if we didn’t mourn, how would we ever be thankful for those “good” moments we have? As I accept the hard times, I’ve learned that and so much more. God will show you amazing things as you dig deeper. I’m blessed to call you friend too and ever thankful the Lord caused our paths to cross.

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  3. It sounds as if Ann Voskamp’s book is a word in due season. It’s been almost 20 years since I lost my mom. It was very hard the first couple of years, and then it began to get a little better. The hard moments were fewer and further between. Silly me, I’d read the grief process could take 6-18 months, so I determined six was a good number, by then it would be the first of the year and I could start anew. Ha! Each of us is different, I suppose, but I can surely identify. I hope your broken heart mends a little each day as you read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your very kind words of support today. Yes, I’m very interested in the premise of Ann’s book… a new, Biblical way to look at brokenness that I’ve never considered before. Maybe just getting through grief and any other brokenness isn’t really the point in all this. It’s a good, good message to consider going forward. Again, thank you for your thoughtfulness! I appreciate it very much.

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