I remember the year my Mom passed away in 2008 like it was yesterday. Not just because she journey’d from this life to the other but because the grief was so heavy that it was like looking at life, experiences, through the bottom of a bottle. Everything distorted.
Events that came after should have been so memorable, vacations, milestones, even my poor garden, got the cold shoulder of attention. Its a time when you try to be a good friend, a good listener and you just can’t. Sometimes I compare it to a jacket instead of seeing through the bottom of a bottle. You wear a jacket so heavy, so tight around you. Draining you. Clouding you. Pulling you down.
When you have been there once you start to recognize it the next time it comes around, that heavy feeling. To say that I am here now almost understates my placement, my path. It is a path that you are on, grief that is. You have no choice but to embrace its pain, its hurt. The tears, the anger, the sadness, the memories, even the laughter. All of it can be too much at any time during the path.
I have said many times that grief waits for you, often like the reaper. It will not disappear. The longer you try to avoid its presence, the angrier it becomes, the harder getting down the path becomes. Carrying it so heavy far longer then needed. You can see those who have tried to avoid it. They carry an anger, an unhappiness about them. Those of us who accept the process of grief get angry and unhappy. Don’t misunderstand me. Those emotions must be gone through, but they don’t last. Grief is the process of trying to figure out life with a missing piece, a missing loved one. Trying to understand how to move through life without them beside you or around you.
For me, it wasn’t my first loss, losing my Mom in 2008, but it was the most significant. See, who was I going call everyday at 8:30pm? Ask parenting advice, marriage advice, just saying Hi. It took sometime to realize that what I was missing was not only knowing she was there but also knowing that I would no longer have any future memories of her. My daughters were 6 and 4. She would miss graduations, parties, watching them learn how to drive, watching them date. She would miss the moments of wrapping her arms around me to tell me I was doing ok, that ya this parenting gig is hard but you my dear Tasha are a great Mom, a good Wife. The things that most Moms tell their middle aged daughters.
Since then, I have healed. Learned to live life with her not on the other end of the phone but in the room with me, always. Now a spirit I carry with me every where I go. I always did, I just didn’t realize it. In 2012, my father in-law passed away and I watched my husband struggle with his grief, and I had mine. In 2017, my biological Mother passed away and in March of this year my mother in-law also passed. I feel as though, the coat has been heavy, its now tattered and very worn.
As most of you know, we have suffered the loss of Marilyn in October. My person. The coat is heavier then ever. Strings and pieces of it dangling, catching on rocks and sticks, making it difficult to move down the path. Milestones are cloudy and little bursts of light are hard to see. Grief is here and I am trying to move. Knowing myself well, I know the other side is there. Where I will be able to smile freely without guilt, of missing her.
Marilyn came to me at a time that I didn’t know I needed her. I was opening the flower shop and she was there to help. She never asked for a job but offered her help, for free. She became a companion and a confident. Always reliable and always honest. Her eye for design and retail a perfect match to mine. We clicked like peanut butter and jam. It wasn’t just working together. We could travel and talk. Getting outside of the flower shop to socialize was so much fun. We just enjoyed each other.
I haven’t lost Marilyn. I know this. But missing her is heartbreaking. Being with her in her last days and hours are something I will cherish forever. Being able to be with someone who is journeying to their freedom is humbling and precious. That time, so raw, real and reflective. There is nothing in those moments but honesty and love. The true value of our friendship and love for each other, for another human.
We are at the new store changing it over for Christmas now. Always something she enjoyed. I am trying very hard to find the joy in it. Being in the new store is something she was so happy to be part of. Leaving the old store with its bad MOJO and all the garbage that came with it was something we shared great pride in. Seeing the new store, its positive energy and the vision we talked about come to fruition does make me smile. I do see her. In little corners. I just need to take the jacket off. I want to embrace her spirit and grit. But first I must travel the path. Eyes distorted and cloudy. The jacket, loaded with sadness, memories, torn and tattered. Familiar. I see you though, my friend. I know you are there. You stand beautiful with my Mom. I know the two of you have lots to discuss.
Until next time,