On grief. I guess I just miss my Mom.



I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

I'm not a huge fan of September. I never really have been. I have a summer birthday and as kid, I'd wait and wait all summer for the Amazing Month of August to arrive so I could finally celebrate my big day. It was the peak of All Things Wonderful in my life and then boom, it was over. Because, school started.

Long crescendo, peak, fall of the cliff, go back to school.

And then, before I knew it, it was September. Goodbye swimming in the pool. Goodbye flip flops and sticky popsicle wrists. Goodbye staying up late. Hello, getting up early for school and packing your lunch. Welcome back, homework.

Blech.

You may ask, how can I disregard an entire month? Easy. September, for me, is a necessary evil. It's merely a bridge to October, a far more enjoyable month.

September is the month of transition. It doesn't know if it's hot or chilly. It brings change and transition and routine and darker evenings. September is the sneak preview of the long movie we know as, winter.

September has always been tough, too -- because for the past 11 years we've been going back to the States from Mexico each summer for 4-8 weeks. It's an amazing time where we get to live in the community that we once took for granted. It was our first home.

Coming back to Cabo after pontoon boats and summer walks, bike rides and metro parks, family time and sidewalk chalk, good friends and Target trips... it's just so hard for me. We get back and it's hot. I sweat. All of the time. It's like my body has forgotten about the oppressive heat and has to readjust and it takes a month to do so. My friend calls coming back from the States to Cabo, during the summer months, "re-entry" and that's exactly what it is. Our normally temperate, incredible weather is replaced with oven-like heat combined with ridiculous humidity and hurricane season. It exhausts me just thinking about it.

When we arrived back in Cabo just 3 weeks ago I wasn't excited. At all.

Never ask me if I'm ready to move back to the States in September. The answer is always, "YES."

I miss my family. I miss my other life. I miss central air. I miss it all.

I guess I miss my Mom, too.

When I'm home in Ohio... I have memories of her everywhere. And I love that.

The other day, we were driving here in Cabo and I noticed a vacation home rental and I asked Craig, "Hey - isn't that where my family stayed for my cousin's wedding?" He confirmed that was the house and I said, "Aw, I love knowing that my Mom was in that house." I love knowing that she drove on this street, saw this view and turned right there.

The shared memories keep me close.

::

September is also the month my Mom died.

I have the Time Hop app on my phone and it's both a blessing and a curse. Each year, right around this time, for the past 4 years, the photos pop up and they kill me a little bit each time. They're of my life before... and then I know in a few days, I'll see the photos from my life after.

This one popped up today.


That's my Mom, eight years ago, holding my sweet Baby Lila.

Look.

She was alive.

::

Oh, September.

And then 3 years ago, right around this time, my community was turned upside down by Hurricane Odile. He was a category 4 and it was the single-most scary event I have ever been through in my life.

My Mom died the year before. And I thought we were going to die the year after. (I'm not kidding. I really am not prone to drama. I wrote about it here.)

September is PTSD. September is anxiety. September is preparing for hurricanes and storms, then waiting for them, then living through them, then cleaning up after them, then doing it all over again.

My heart goes out to those who have recently been affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Coastal living isn't for the weak. It's terrifying.

All of this makes me emotional and slightly anxious...

It's a lot.

And when there's a lot going on, there was someone who I'd talk to.

Sigh. I guess I just miss my  Mom.

::

I fully acknowledge that there are amazing things that have happened during this month. Incredible birthdays. Sweet weddings. Good things. I know this. But those, my dear friends, are simply the river rocks that I balance on, trying not to allow the fast-moving river of emotion knock me over.

I'd love to close my eyes and fast-forward through this month.

::

I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

Usually about this time each year, my little sister and I tap in with one another. "You doing ok?" This year has been no different.

This year, for me, four years after she died, I'm mad.

Yep.

I'm mad.

I'm angry that I haven't seen or talked to my Mom in four years.
I'm angry that she's gone.
I'm angry that the memories are becoming more distant and that I have to read my blog to get the details.
I'm sorry that I've moved on.
I know it's healthy, I know it's what she'd want.
But I'm sorry, because I never wanted it to be like this. I wanted her to live longer, in a super-healthy body, to laugh at Vivi and facetime with Lila.

I wish I had a Mom here.

**Now, I feel like I should always use a powerful disclaimer here. I am blessed. I have a small, yet fierce army of women of all ages who are incredible and who my Mom would have loved, or did. They support me, love me and encourage me and are great. But it's in times like these that nothing else compares.

I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

For me, the days leading up to this ridiculous anniversary are the hardest. The day of, September 9th,  I'm usually ok. But these days before... I can't help but remember. I can't help but think about the suddenness, the shock, the numbness, the physical pain that comes from an unexpected loss.

Oh man, that hurt.

Did you see that?

I just used the past tense.

"Hurt."

It doesn't hurt like that anymore. It isn't breathtaking.
I remember feeling as if a grand piano was dropped on my chest at any given moment. I couldn't breathe in the days and weeks and months that followed her death. There were times when I would stop what I was doing, without knowing and I couldn't move. I couldn't believe that in one instant, in one afternoon, she was dead. In a car. On the side of the road. By herself.

It hurt.

It still hurts. But in a different way.

I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

It's been four years since that day and my grief has changed shape. I don't think about or dwell on the accident.

When it first happened, I mourned the loss of her life. I mourned the way it happened. I mourned all the things.

Today, tonight, I think I'm crying for the past four years that I've lived without her.

Her absence has changed me.
It has impacted every facet of my life.
My priorities have shifted.
My life is different.
My choices have changed.
My life is ever-so-distinctly a two-parter: Before she died and After she died.

I know I've grown.
I know I'm stronger.
I know that she'd be proud.

...but I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

As I type through tears, like I used to do so frequently, I know what she'd say. "Why are you crying about the day that I went home? KYLEE. I was free. I was free from the pain. I was free from the failing kidneys. I was free from the ports and I was free from the medication. I was free from the hospitals. I was free. I went home that day, Kylee. I went home... and I'm happy."

And I know she'd say this to me with a smile on her face and tears and hope and joy in her eyes.

I know she's fine.

I'm fine, too.

::

...but I guess I just miss my Mom.

::

--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.
May 6, 2014  :: Mother's Day without a Mom  ::  Post here.
June 1, 2014  ::  Moving "forward"  ::  Post here.
July 6, 2014  ::  Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah  ::  Post here.
August 20, 2014  ::  So, I'm 35  ::  Post here.
September 2, 2014  ::  7 days  ::  Post here.
September 8, 2014  ::  The Day Before a Year  ::  Post here.
September 9, 2014  ::  Hello, one year  ::  Post here.
October 11, 2014  ::  The brain is funny  ::  Post here.
November 6, 2014  ::  Love  ::  Post here.
November 30, 2014 ::  Post here.
December 4, 2014  ::  Another feather. Post here.
December 28, 2014  :: All was calm, all is bright. Post here.
January 18, 2015  ::  They're always with us? They're always with us. Post here.
January 25, 2015  ::  And today I remember. Post here.
March 8, 2015  ::  A year and a half later. Post here.
April 16, 2015  ::  And here I stand. Post here.
April 29, 2015  ::  Joan & Shirley. Post here.
August 26, 2015 :: Perspective. Post here.
September 9, 2015  :: Two Years After. Post here.
November 1, 2015  ::  Watching others go through it. Post here.
January 25, 2016  ::  Happy Birthday, Mom. Post here.
March, 5, 2016 ::  Air Tears. Post here.
April 26, 2016  ::  Sitting Still. Post here.
December 27, 2016  ::  So this was Christmas. Post here.
December 29, 2016  ::  And our hearts sigh. Post here
May 10, 2017  ::  Phil Collins made me cry. Post here.

I feel like I can't share this post without extending a hug to all of you. Grief is so different for each person and I feel selfish sharing mine and not acknowledging what you might be going through. I cannot fathom losing a child, or my husband, or my sibling... but I do know that I have nothing but empathy for all of you who have lost someone or are in the process of losing someone. Feel your feelings. Know that there's no right way to handle this, from what I've learned. And know that it's ok to cry the ugly cry, and then get up and move on only to do the same thing the next day. I hope and pray that you aren't in this parent-less club, but if you are, and you ever need someone to talk to - message or email me. KyleeATtwopretzels.com. (Just change that AT to @.)

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