Grief Never Stops Teaching

I’ve spent the last 11 hours wrapped up in a quilt made by a woman I never had the pleasure of knowing. My maternal grandmother, Uma, as I’d inherit calling her from my cousins, died 6 months before I was born.

All my life, every couple of years my Mom’s birthday would fall on Mother’s Day. I obviously knew that thinking about her mother made her sad. But from my perspective, since she had me, was a mom in her own right, and it was her birthday, she must have been having a great day.

Sitting here I think I’ve only just begun to realize how bittersweet that day must have been for her. I’m not sure there are many things worse in the world than not being able to call up your mother and wish her a Happy  Mother’s Day. Other holidays while not easy aren’t nearly as hard because they come with a lot more distraction. A Mother’s Day on May 8th for me has no distraction. I have no choice but to bluntly face my loss. And I’ll tell you what…it’s no walk in the park.

Any other day I know how lucky I am. How lucky I am that before she died my mom and I had moved past the distance teenage angst can put between a mother and daughter. Lucky that I had an amazing grandmother in my dad’s mother that through her strong silence taught me more about being independent and strong than anyone else in my life. Lucky that I have a beautiful support system of friends near and far. Lucky that my mother left me her best friend as my godmother so I’d always have a tie to the southern roots she raised me with all the way up north. Any other day I know those things.

Somewhere, under the pain of today I still know them. And at some point I’ll get up from under this quilt, Uma’s blanket, because of that knowledge. But I think my newest life lesson in grief might just be that everyday is bittersweet some days the balance is just thrown off…and it’s OK to be upset about the bitter taste in your mouth.