on grief: almost six months

I wrote this Wednesday night.

The Cabo sky outside of my office - 3.6.2014. Love that one cloud. Beautiful.


I'm so sad. We're just 4 days away from the six month reminder of her death and I'm sad.

If I were to do a survey of, "What it's like to lose your Mom: 6 months After" I'd say this:

The audible inhale that happens in response to a shocking and tragic death has left my everyday life and has been replaced by a conscious reminder to lower my shoulders and exhale. "Breathe, Kylee. Relax." 

By the end of the day my body hurts. My neck, my back, my shoulders... they're just the physical reminders of the physical effect of grief. (Because you totally need a physical reminder since the emotional ones aren't enough. Ugh.) I remember in the days after her death my sister and I both commented that we hurt physically... our bodies and our hearts.

At six months, the Niagara Falls of sobs have been replaced by scattered instances that produce round, full tears that seem to drip from my eyes without me knowing. At any time of day.

The instinct to call her 15 times a day has decreased to just once a day.

In fact, a few weeks ago I called her home phone number and waited for her to answer. Before I said to myself, "Kylee... What are you doing?" But I think I just wanted to mindlessly dial my Mom's number, like I used to, like I took for granted, and hear her voice just one.more.time. My heart even sped up a little bit when I heard the phone starting to ring...

I let it ring about 20 times.

...and then I hung up and I cried.


I feel like these past six months I've been holding my breath and when I talk to her again, I'll be able to exhale. I feel this has all been some sort of awful dream that I can't wait to wake up from and tell her all about. Because she's my Mom. And this is boring, regular stuff we usually talk about.

(I find that I still confuse my tenses when I talk about her. Past tenses has slowly sidled up to present tense and it's taking over.)

In losing her, I lost my ally.
In losing her, I lost my always-loving ear.
In losing her, I lost my compass.

It's like when something ridiculous happens and you literally cannot WAIT to share it with your best friend, or your husband, or someone who really gets it... You literally could burst because, "AH! You're not going to believe this!"

It's like I want to facetime her and forego any unnecessary salutations (because that's what you do with your Mom) and just blurt out, "Whew. Ok. You're there. So listen to this DREAM. This all happened. Car accident in September. We didn't know where you were. It was terrifying. State trooper. Coroner. We had the most lovely memorial, just as you wanted it, and then everyone went to your house and we had a campfire and everyone saw how **incredible** your little piece of heaven is. And you totally laid out and planned all of the details and directions for us because you're cool. And Taryn and I cleaned out your house. We went through your things... respectfully... and gave away some, stored some, and your house was as clean as ever... and then things got tough because your husband stole everything out of the house, even though your will said it was ours. And then the police department wouldn't listen to us and they lost our police report and gave us the run-around for weeks and it was just a ridiculous big mess because small town politics are dumb and we never got anything back, and then your pipes burst because this winter has been the worst EVER, but we fixed them, don't worry. And then we put your house on the market and insanely enough, we accepted an offer a couple of weeks ago, and you met the people a few weeks before you died, you knew them. They love the house. It's almost a done deal. It's going to carry on and be loved, just as you wanted it to be. And we're going to close on it on Grandma's birthday in March, can you believe that coincidence..."

And then I'd say, "Yeah, wasn't that the craziest dream ever?"

And you'd say, "Absolutely. I'd say that was one busy dream. I'm sure you're exhausted."

And then we'd laugh. And I'd tell you I love you. And you'd say you love me, too. And then we'd hang up the phone and I'd go to bed knowing that you were ok and most importantly that it was all just a dream. 

And the world would feel whole again.


But that's not the truth. 

All that stuff DID happen. All that stuff has happened. And she's gone.


So six months later, I cry. I cry because I miss her.


The other night I was watching a movie. One of the characters got into a car accident and it showed the impact of her body slamming into the steering wheel. 

It took my breath away.


So six months later, here I am.

Her death and my grief is like the ticker-tape at the bottom of the TV screen. The one that runs election results, or school-closings, or more importantly pop culture news on the E! network announcing who is pregnant or who is divorcing or that Chris Brown has anger management issues and is seeking treatment. The ticker tape is ever-present while the TV shows just keep playing in the foreground. 

Her death is ever-present and the shenanigans of my life just keep playing on.

That's another hard part. My life is moving forward. I have conflicting feelings because I'm making memories and decisions that she doesn't know about. I miss her input.

I miss her voice.

What I've been repeating to Craig over and over again is, "I just don't understand. I don't understand how someone who has been with me since the beginning of my life... someone who was such an important part of my daily life... is gone. My brain simply cannot rectify how that can happen."

But it has happened.

And I've had to take my hands from this keyboard and cry a couple of times while writing this because still today, tonight (because everything is worse at night), it's just so overwhelming. I've had to feel the before-bed-washed-face moisturizer sting my eyes as I sob. As I put my head into the pillow on my lap and audibly cry.

Grief isn't pretty. It's not silent, either.

And she's worth a sob or two.

Six months later, I don't sob everyday... like I once did. 


So six months later, do I feel normal? 


And I don't think I'll ever feel "normal". Nor do I want to.

My life is now different.

Pre and post.
Antes y despues.
Before and after.


So six months later I am less angry. Well, at least I'm not angry every day. I've reconciled the fact that everyone else's life has gone on, including my own. This truth made me mad in the beginning. People would speak to me about anything and I wanted to scream, "BUT DO YOU KNOW MY MOM DIED? Do you know how much I'm hurting? Don't believe me when I tell you I'm ok. Know that I am broken. I'm faking it. Can you you tell that I'm faking it? I feel so transparent."

I don't feel like that anymore. Well, not all the time.

In the the past six months others have lost people they love. I see their pain and I get it, as much as I can. I feel like it's second-nature to extend my arm and say, "No. It's not ok. It's not going to be ok right away either. Give yourself time. Feel your feelings. Be brave. But cry."

So six months later, I just want people to remember. To remember her.

I want people to know how incredible she was.
I want people to know that she was funny and smart and witty and cool and creative.
I want people to know that made the best mashed potatoes and that she'd make me an angel food cake balanced on a coke bottle on the kitchen counter for my birthdays.
I want people to know she was my Mom and that she made such a difference in my life and that I'm prouder than proud to be her daughter.

I want to hear people say her name.


At six months getting out of bed is a struggle some mornings. I don't even give myself an option during the week. I set my alarm and go. If I allow myself one...small...second, I'll stay in bed and I won't get out. Just.keep.going. Carry on, Kylee. "When you're lost and alone... or you're sinking like a stone... carry on... carry on, carry on."

And that's what I've been doing. I've been carrying on...

Some days I carry better than others.


Next week I'll take the same flight back to Springfield, Missouri. The one I took, alone, the day after she died on September 10th. I'll walk through the same terminal, alone. I'll hug my sister and I bet we'll cry. But I sort of hope we just laugh. Then at some point, together we'll drive down her driveway one last time. We'll sit on the floor of her abandoned house and I imagine we'll cry some more. I hope we feel her in those moments.

The finality of her death will be further cemented when we sign those closing papers.


It's funny how after we're gone, we're memories and spirits, sure... but the details of our lives are just that... details. It's paperwork in a file on someone's desk. With a quick signature what once was just dissipates and is gone...

In the blink of an eye. 

All of this... in the blink of an eye.


So at six months this is where I am.


Grief shared is grief diminished.

--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.



  1. friend. that Shirl was such a special woman. thanks for writing and sharing. i know it's a sign that you're taking care of yourself. i've cried some tears with you this morning and i just wish i could hug you.
    love you, Miss

  2. Love you, Sister.

  3. oh friend. i wish i could have met your mom. i know i would have liked her, because i like YOU. thank you for continuing to write, and to share so genuinely. xoxo

  4. sorry... it's abbe. i don't know why my 'puter is only recognizing the hubs today. :(


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