Thank you for surrounding me with love. The hundreds of blog comments, emails, cards, and letters of condolence have touched my heart in ways I can’t even begin to express. Through my tears I’ve read them all, most of them more than once, grateful for the kindness and the wisdom you shared. I have printed the e-stuff, punched holes in the letters, and put the cards in plastic pages all in a big binder because I’m going to read them again. Some are so profound I want to use my yellow highlighter!
I’m discovering that grief is a lot like menopause. Tears come like hot flashes, when I least expect them. Unlike the hot flashes I am learning to recognize the triggers: sights, smells, songs, basically anything that reminds me of Mom. Yeah, I’m a mess. I should buy stock in Kleenex.
But, I am acknowledging my grief. That’s a good thing. For so many years, I just put a cork in it and soldiered on. It’s a new experience.
And what am I learning?
1. Blinking quickly doesn’t make tears evaporate off your eyeballs. You can’t blink that fast. Best to just give it up and wipe your eyes. A good nose-blowing works wonders too.
2. Don’t attempt to acknowledge condolence cards in public, like on an airplane. (See #1.)
3. Don’t NOT think about the person you lost because you’re cheating yourself out of the experience of remembering. Let your mind wander and go where it needs to go, otherwise your head might explode. (Just wait until you land.)
4. If your mom wore Channel #5 go the the perfume counter at the department store, find the free sample, and spritz some on. Sometimes walking around all day smelling your wrists is just what you need to do.
5. In the depths of your sorrow, if you have an urge to build a snowman, obey the urge. It’s great fun, especially with your grown-up daughter. While you’re embracing memories of the past you need to make memories for the future.
6. “Final arrangements” should comfort the living. If you want to throw a party to celebrate the life of the one you lost, the people who love you will not only understand they will help. (Hey! I’ve got some serving dishes and spoons with no names on them that aren’t mine. If you’re missing something, I’ve got them!)
7. There’s no “right way” to do a lot of things. Grieving is one of them.
8. There probably IS a “really good way” to sew little squares cut from Mom’s cotton/spandex shirts into a quilt, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is. Special needle? Stitch? Foot? WHAT?! Can you help me out?