When you’re a little kid, everything seems so simple and the only thing that you need to worry about is whether to watch this cartoon or that. Of course, I do come from the age of Nintendo and Saturday Morning Cartoons. Instead of playing with an iPhone, I was outside with my brother and playing swords with broom handles.
Life was freakin’ awesome. I’d spend summer vacations playing with my toys and convincing my little brother that I was always supposed to be first in Mario Kart so I’d win. It worked for a long time. Then, one day…
He started to grow up and so did I. He finally realized that he could kick my butt if he wanted to. And things started to change.
I had to grow up overnight and I mean that literally. No, not because I could trick my brother anymore or because I had to get my first summer job. None of that. The days of trying to beat my brother at games was the farthest thing on my mind way back in 1996. I was 14 and hadn’t even had my license or a job.
Yet, there I was planning my Mother’s funeral. My Dad was there, too. He wasn’t mean or abusive. He was depressed and had a total shut down. The funeral director asked questions but he was just quiet. That’s the thing about Dad. He talks a lot but, when he’s quiet, that’s when you worry.
And my brother was only 9 at the time.
I had no idea what to do but I wasn’t just a passenger anymore. I was making adult decisions and writing out bills. I was making sure dinner was cooked and did the best I could.
I missed my Mom so much and I cried a lot. I rarely ever talked at school and was seen as the weird one or whatever the hell they thought of me. I cried a few times in front of people but, after awhile, I did that in private. It seemed to upset my Dad and I didn’t want to cause him anymore pain.
I suppose that’s when I learned to hold my pain in and was pretty good at it throughout high school when I was picked on. I’d just wait until I got home and then cry because I never wanted anyone to:
1.) See my tears
2.) See me vulnerable
3.) Feel sorry for me.
Call it pride or whatever you want but that’s how I dealt with it.
When my Mom died, it was the toughest thing I had ever gone through and still is to this day. Not because I had to do all the grown up stuff, either. She was my best friend. Before that day and when I was picked on, I had her to come home to cry on because she understood. She’d brush my hair and hug me.
I remember the touch of her fingers through my hair. I remember her laugh and the way she stood. I remember that gorgeous smile. She’s the reason that I love to read and write as much as I do. When I set out to write “Time: A Harsh Mistress”, I wrote it in tribute to my beautiful mother. The poems that I wrote through that stage of my life and as I was going through those stages are like snapshots of my emotions.
And I haven’t seen her in 21 years but I still remember the skills she left me with to make it in this life. Though, I do have that odd Tuesday where I start crying again because I miss talking to her.
Now, some will say, “Susan. Seriously? That’s so long ago. You should be over it by now.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
There is no time limit on grief.
If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, don’t you dare let anyone make you feel bad for crying if it’s been either 3 months ago or 30 years. They had a special place in your life and you love them. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to be pissed that they’re gone.
And if you have nobody that gets that, message me and I’ll talk about it with you because I’ve been there and I still miss the hell out of my Mama.
But you know what? The experience I had and the heartbreak has actually made me a stronger person.
I went through a divorce last year after being with the same man for over a decade. I loved him and part of me always will but all that’s over and done. We weren’t good for each other. But, what kept me strong and away from falling down that rabbit hole of terrible thoughts and depression was one thing.
I told myself that if I could plan my Mama’s funeral and pick out her arrangements, I could do anything.
As I look back on that and my life, I did what I did back then because I loved her and I wanted the best. I wanted to take the burden off of my Dad as well so he wouldn’t feel like he had to go through this alone. And I wanted to step up and be something of a Mom to my little brother.
While I was growing up, it started out normal and took one hell of a turn but I’ve learned the importance of family and close friends who are like family.
Thank you so much for visiting my world. If you’ve struggled with grief, my thoughts are with you and I’m sending you love.
You can grab your copy of “Time: A Harsh Mistress”, it’s available on Amazon.
Have a wonderful weekend,
P.S. Have you ever been told that you should be ‘over your grief’ by now? If so, let me know in the comments your thoughts about that.
2 thoughts on “Skills That I Learned From Grief”
You’re right. Grief does not lessen in intensity with time. Yes you’ve more things to distract you later but when you think about what you’ve lost, the pain is still there, the way it struck you first.
The pain never goes but you learn to hold the ones you love a little closer, a little tighter, a little longer.