Wow! Acknowledging that it’s been 293 days sent chills through my body. Momma, it’s been 9 months and 18 days since we watched you take your last breath. We will hit the one-year mark in 72 days. Wow! That’s the only word that comes to mind right now. Saying that I miss you is a misrepresentation of how I feel right now. I am saddened by the massive hole that your passing has left in my life; but I’m also grateful. I’m grateful because I am keenly aware that God has kept my mind and has been healing the broken pieces of my heart. It hasn’t been easy; but by the grace of God…here I stand 293 days later.
Momma!! I have so much to tell you. The last 293 days have included a lot of “firsts” for us. I celebrated my 1st birthday without you. I sobbed that morning until I had no tears left as I realized that my birthday card from you would not arrive in the mail. One of my girlfriends was gracious enough to give me a card with $42 in it. It didn’t replace your card; but it let me know that I was seen, heard, and loved. I’m beyond grateful for friends like her. She made that day easier for me.
We celebrated our 1st Thanksgiving without you. I can sit and laugh today; but let me tell you…I was a mess that day. I woke up in tears. The thought of going downstairs without you that morning was too much for me to bear. I had a complete meltdown in the kitchen; but we all supported one another and made it through the day together. We did our best to make you proud! And then came Christmas….
Christmas was your favorite holiday. I vacillated between wanting to celebrate because it’s your favorite holiday and wanting to completely skip the day because you weren’t there. Honestly, I just wanted to stay in the bed that day. But the “true” reason for the season and the love for family that you instilled in me made me get up and help prepare dinner for our family.
It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences without you here. But I’ve learned a couple things over the last 293 days. One of the most important lessons is that my grief process is my grief process. My daughter’s process is her process. My siblings process is their process. And no one process looks, sounds, or feels the same. I learned to honor my process, how I was feeling and not compare my process to others. I learned that comparing my grief to others or trying to grieve according to society’s timeline was keeping me in a dark place. Learning to offer myself compassion, love, and space to grieve was a pivotal point in the journey.
Momma, I also learned that gratitude is a balm. I don’t know when it happened; but I realize that the more I intentionally practiced gratitude (looking for and reflecting on the good all around me), the more I experienced joy and peace. The more that I experienced joy and peace, the more I was strengthened and comforted. For example, the more that I reflected upon the fact that although you are physically absent, all that you poured into me remains; the more grateful I became for the deposits of love and wisdom that you left embedded in my soul. And the more grateful I become, the more I was able to withstand the bursts and waves of grief that continue to come. Gratitude become a restorative agent and began transforming me from the inside out.
So, here I stand 293 days later. Missing you; but full of gratitude and completely transformed by the grief process…