My mother passed on 17 months ago aged 63 years. One day I am going to write about her life and her death, but not today. Today, I write about the overwhelming pain of loss I felt and still feel. Today, I write about this thing called grief.
In this post I will be focusing on the things I experienced at different times especially in the first one year after her death. In another post coming later, I will share how I have been able to deal with some of these things and how I am finding healing and purpose in the pain.
We all don’t experience or deal with loss in the same way, so I do not imply everyone has or will go through these after loss, this post is just me sharing my own experience and also hoping to be of help to someone who is going through the same.
Cocktail Of Emotions
There are so many beautiful memories of my mother, so many amazing moments of joy and answered prayers we shared with her. She did a lot of good and she had beauty and love in her life, but in the days and weeks after her death, I did not remember any of those. All I could think about were the things that went wrong, the things that could have happened and the things that never became. It was a cocktail of emotions and feelings – anger, regret, shock, helplessness, and more.
I have suffered severe sleeping problems for some years, I have problems falling asleep and staying asleep at night. This changed in the months following my mother’s death. In the first six months, one of the things I found easy to do was sleep. When pain rushed at me, I shut it down with sleep. Sleep was an escape at this time.
Sometimes I just did nothing. Not working, not sleeping, not fiddling with my mobile phone, not watching TV or reading a book, I just stayed at home for hours, doing absolutely nothing. I never knew I could find so much comfort in nothingness.
I keep a gratitude bowl, I write one thing I am grateful for every day and drop it in my bowl as often as I could. This became really hard to do in the months after I lost my mum, every time I wanted to write something I was grateful for, I remembered my mother’s death and suddenly it all paled in comparison to my loss. I remembered after the funeral I wanted to drop a gratitude note for safe journeys but then I thought if she had not died people wouldn’t have needed to travel with us anyway. Crazy? I know!
So bad I had to stop driving for a while! I struggled to keep my mind where it needed it to be.
I have talked to God about so many things in the past 17 months, but I still haven’t been able to talk to him about my mother’s life and death. I just can’t yet.
I know everyone will eventually die but to know is one thing, to experience it by losing someone really close is another. This experience brought fear, in the first few months I was so afraid of losing someone else. I felt, if she could die, anyone can die. I can die. I was so afraid of death.
I had this heaviness in my chest, so heavy I could literally feel the pain. There were times I thought I was having a heart attack, I did x-rays and tests, and they all came out clear. Maybe they were panic attacks, I don’t know. I never knew an emotional pain could be so intense to cause physical pain.
Ha! I can’t even describe this one. Utter exhaustion!
The events of the last few days before her death were distressing. I didn’t know how traumatized I was until these memories started replaying in my dreams every night for a very long time.
One day at the airport an elderly woman was complaining about people jumping the long queues, and I started shedding tears. I can’t explain it. For a long time, random things would just remind me of her and I would feel my chest tightening and a lump in my throat.
I have never been out of control in my life as I was in the months after my loss. I lost control of my emotions, I snapped at people, I was easily offended, I was angry. I lost discipline in many areas of my life as well. I was totally out of control for some time.
ID and Crime Investigation were my favorite TV channels; I could spend hours watching one story of horror after another, and another. When my mother died I just could not, I still cannot. For a long time, I also could not listen to gospel songs, I don’t know why but they made me so emotional.
After my mum died, many people knew a lot more about me than they have ever known. I always wanted to talk about her, about my family and my life. I just wanted to talk.
I go to bed looking forward to seeing her in my dreams. I just wanted to know she is okay and happy where she is. I needed a sign so much. Sometimes I think maybe she is still trying to settle down wherever she is, maybe when she is well settled she will give me a sign that she is okay.
My heart was broken for my father, it still is. I wish I can take all his pains away.
For some time, I felt completely lost in life. I doubted so many things I once believed and had so many questions about life and why we are really here.
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