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.
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.