They say you have to go through all the ‘firsts’ when you lose a loved one. All the firsts.
Mother’s Day is about one week away and I’m already over it. The television commercials. The radio promotions. The flowers everywhere. The card displays. The heartfelt testimonials.
I remember seeing a post on FB one year that said something like ‘please remember the people who don’t have a mother or father on these days to celebrate.’ I had never really thought about that before, how all of the hoopla could affect someone who didn’t have a parent. I remember trying to figure out how to balance that. Like, what do you do? Stop posting your declarations of love? Post a disclaimer for those who’ve lost? But like most things I see on the internet, it fell off my radar eventually.
Well, now I sit in that box. I am the one dreading the arrival of that day. I am the one who has decided to boycott social media May 7-9. I am the one with a knot in the pit of stomach already, and May isn’t even here yet. I am jumpy. I have headaches. My stomach hurts. I’m irritated. I can’t think or stay focused. I can’t write. I can’t participate in life the way I need to right now because I live in fear of the day. I live in fear of the emotions that I already have, because I know they will be amplified.
To make matters worse, my family is spreading the ashes on that morning. I can’t even hole up in my house and pretend that the world doesn’t exist because I have to carry out her last wish. I WILL carry out her last wish. But I don’t know where I’ll find the strength. I don’t know how I’ll stand without my knees buckling. I don’t know what type of example I’ll be for my children, my family, our friends. I don’t know that I can make her proud with this one.
I just want all this to be over. This year of ‘firsts’. The drop in my spirit when I mistakenly think I can call her, and then realize that I can’t. The instant tears that come with puppy commercials, movie previews, and Kleenex ads. The migraines that follow my every move. The feeling that I just can’t. Can’t get up. Can’t put clothes on. Can’t eat. Can’t stop eating. Can’t answer the phone. Can’t go to work. Can’t see my friends. Can’t care about life. I just can’t.
Please don’t give me the ‘she wouldn’t want you to…’ speeches. I know what she would want me to do, and right now, that means nothing. If I could do what she would want me to do, there wouldn’t be a need for The Grief Series. If I could do what she would want me to do, I would have strength to make it through my day. If I could do what she would want me to do, I’d breathe with ease, walk in confidence, and halt my tears. But I can’t. I don’t know how right now. I don’t even know if I want to.
All I want is more day. Maybe just one more hour. One last time.
And for May 9th to quickly come. And then June 26th. And then August 2nd. September 29th. November 25th. December 26th. January 2nd. And January 14th.
I am silently hoping that, since you say all the ‘firsts’, I will wake up on January 14, 2017, one year and one day after her death, and feel renewed. I am praying that life will take on a new glow. I am wishing for my strength to be renewed. Because I will have survived all the ‘firsts’.
The first time I tried to call her with good news and realized that I couldn’t.
The first time I sat in the parking lot of her old apartment to eat breakfast just so I could be close to her essence.
The first time my son realized that she wouldn’t be here for his 10th birthday.
The first time I found my daughter crying, and I couldn’t comfort her because it wasn’t me she wanted.
The first time I realized that my biological mother really does hate me, and the only mother I’ve known is gone forever.
The first time there was no seeing her dress up for Easter.
The first time I walked into the church and didn’t see her sitting in her chair, and remembered that I never would again.
The first time I cried all the way home. In the rain. While driving.
The first time I had a panic attack because I wanted her and she wasn’t there.
The first time I watched the footage from the funeral and lost it.
The first time I dreaded Mother’s Day.
I will have survived all the firsts.