on grief: all was calm, all is bright

So about Christmas.

Last year, Christmas was wretched.

It was so, so hard for me. My Mom died and I was living in a fog.


I just re-read a post from a year ago. In the post, I was getting a massage that my sweet husband scheduled for me. I called him after the massage and asked him what he was doing. He was taking down the tree and I immediately cried. Because, well, I think maybe I just needed control of something... and taking down the tree meant the new year was coming  -- and the new year wasn't what I was ready for.

I wrote this:

When I just re-read that post, I got the chills. Tears welled up. I remember how I felt. I remember the reasons why I felt that way. I remember the rawness and the pain of that time. I remember the fear of losing contact with 2013. The fear of losing contact with her.

At that time I was literally incapable of visualizing the future.

I would never want to re-live that time.


Fast forward to the present. I posted this on my instagram account on Christmas Eve.


This Christmas, thank God, was different.

But I'll get to that.


The month of September is quickly becoming my least favorite month. (I apologize to all of you who were born in September (my Dad, my brother) or who have other happy moments within September.) But in September 2013, my Mom died. And in September 2014, my community was destroyed by Hurricane Odile.



In it's wake, there has been a lot of change. First, the entire landscape changed. Trees gone. Street lights gone. Restaurants, businesses, homes... all.gone. Leveled. Broken glass, broken windows, broken dreams. Melodramatic much?


[I wrote about it here.]

The sound of the wind is something I will never forget.
Waking up and looking outside at what now was is something I will never forget.
Embracing friends and family as I found out they were ok is something I will never forget.
Being so scared, wondering if this is how we were going to die is something I will never forget.

[The drama is about to stop. Trust me, it's even too much for me. But truthfully, that's how I felt. Scariest.thing.ever.in.my.life.]

So because of that hurricane, life has changed.

I've talked to many of my Cabo friends and before the holidays they couldn't hardly muster up enough energy to decorate, to find a tree, to do much of anything. They were exhausted... physically and emotionally.

I could relate.

Last year, that's how I felt.


The death of my Mom prepared me for that hurricane. Last year, everything in my life was different after September 9, 2013. Every day, every wake up, everything was different. My community looked the same; my life was essentially the same, but within me something changed. Simply put, the death of my Mom reenforces that there was simply a before, and there was an after in the story of my life.

I believe that everyone who loses their Mom (or a close loved one) experiences this the first year. It is almost more change than you can handle. You fight it, or you try to control it in the beginning. But finally, you throw your hands in the air, close your eyes,and ride the lion while tears drip down, or sometimes pour down, your face.

You just go with it.

Why? Because resistance creates more stress and more pain. And more tears.

Enter, the hurricane of September 2014.

Our entire LIFE is different than what it was.
Our home, is obviously different.
My brother and his wife and my dear nieces and nephew have moved. They're no longer part of our daily life and we grieve their loss in our lives.
My sister and her children, who also live here, sold their house and they haven't been in town for weeks... and we miss them... and that's different.
And we live down the street from their old house... so we drive by it, everyday... and it's... different.
The girls have returned to school, but there school has been visibly changed by the storm.
Not all of their friends have returned to Cabo yet, so classrooms are smaller and life is... different.
Their playground is... gone.
The grocery stores have slowly come back to life; when we grocery shop we don't have to hear jack-hammering anymore. But, it's different.
There is still peeling paint and there are sad trees and broken roof tiles and life, well, it's different.
Just today I was cleaning a wall in my house - and shrapnel from the storm was all over it... still.
Life is slowly getting back to normal... but it's once again... the dreaded "new normal."

So what am I getting at?

The death of my Mom spurred far more change than I would have ever welcomed. But it prepared me. It prepared me to roll with the post-hurricane changes.

I'm not fighting what is; I'm relishing it.

I've loved every single minute of this holiday season.

Decorating our Christmas tree.
Decorating the house.
Reading our Christmas books.
Baking cookies for us. For our neighbors. For our friends.
Wrapping the gifts.
Basking in the glow of the Christmas tree.
New experiences with old friends.
With new friends.

It doesn't mean I'm not sad, or that I don't miss what was...

It just means that I know that change is inevitable; you can fight it, or you can roll with it.

I've learned to roll.

Because of Shirl*, I've learned to roll.


So how was Christmas 2014?

Just right.


*Oh how I miss her, oh how I love her. Present tense.


--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, 20 14  ::  Another feather. Post here.


1 comment:

  1. You are so so very strong. I just don't have words to express how you inspire, encourage, and uplift me with your raw honesty.

    Thank you for being there, here, always.

    I love you, my dear Friend, and am proud of how you've chosen to walk your path.

    I am better for knowing you, Kylee.


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