Time Heals All Wounds….and Other Lies

All my life I knew exactly what day my grandmother died. I knew this not because I was there, I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be born for 6 more months. I knew it because my Mom was always sad on that day. Ten, twenty years post, and still that one day in January…always a bad day.

So I kind of figure I will be sad tomorrow. I’m planning on it, but I’m kind of annoyed about it. What right does a day on the calendar have to control my emotions. That doesn’t seem fair. Especially such a run of the mill date. Mother’s Day, ok, you are a special day and I give you permission to make me sad but November 16th? Who do you think you are? You’re not special.

I guess it is special. I will have made it one whole year without my mom. In some ways it feels much longer, in others ways much less. One thing that feels just the same is how unfair it all is. I personally don’t think those feelings will ever change. A common phrase is “time heals all wounds.” What a pile of shit. It does not. No amount of time is going to change the facts. The fact is that when I was 24 my mom died. And she’ll never see me get married. And just like me, my kids will never know their maternal grandmother. And I don’t get to turn to her in times of crisis. And I don’t get to share with her all the great times. And it’s been a year and those are still the painful facts. And you know what, ten, twenty years from now I’ll probably still think its unfair, and I get to think that.

Because if there is one thing that has changed with time this past year it is how I’m dealing with her being gone. In the beginning I kept feeling like I just needed to get through this. I quickly realized that what I need to get through was the rest of my life. And that sounded awful. “Getting through life” and “living life” are not nearly the same thing. Once I realized that it was a lot easier to give myself permission to feel however I wanted. And that included, angry, frustrated, annoyed, nostalgic, and happy, sometimes all at once. If you give yourself some slack and accept that you’re allowed to feel whatever you are feeling life is a lot easier. I don’t think that applies just to grieving either I think that applies to everything. I don’t see why they don’t teach you that in Kindergarten, could save the world a lot of time.

This is my favorite picture of my parents ever. It's one of the things I let myself feel, annoyed, angry, nostalgic, and happy about all at once.

This is my favorite picture of my parents ever. It’s one of the things I let myself feel, annoyed, angry, nostalgic, and happy about all at once.

While I’m reflecting and knowledge sharing, this past year I’ve also learned a couple other things I think are useful. The one most pertinent to this post is that everyone grieves differently…and that’s ok. I, personally, mostly grieve in private. To me, those are intimate feelings tied deeply to who I am as a person, so I just assume keep those to myself. Some people don’t grieve like that. Some people grieve outwardly, publicly, loudly. And that is ok too. Because you know what? No one has figured out how to grieve perfectly. In fact, I think it might be the one thing humans are just not meant to figure out. We might one day discover time travel or how to get to other parts of space, but I don’t think we’ll ever discover a perfect way to deal with death. Because we’ve been trying for millennia and we haven’t gotten it down. Hundreds if not thousands of religions have been part of the scene over time and not one has a fool-proof solve for how to lose a loved one and not be sad. Even modern medicine with its many feats can’t give you a pill that just gets you over it (I’m not counting anti-depressants because arguably to be prescribed them you’d need to suffer a lot of grief first). So grieve how you want, and I’m not going judge you.

Tomorrow, might be a bad day. It also might be a perfectly fine day. We will have to wait and see. It will, like all the days over the past year, be a day I miss my mom. What it will not be is just another day to get through. I’m putting my foot down on that one. November 16th, I’m going to live you tomorrow with whatever you bring and you can’t stop me.

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