I miss her, but I am not mourning her! And I feel there is a big difference between those two words.
Maybe I should explain.
I heard all the well meaning sympathies - all offered by people who care for me and shared their best advice from their own experiences and expectations.
Take your time with recovering ...
Only time will help this process ...
Don't try to do too much ...
I am worried for you because she was so much a part of your life ...
Those daily little reminders of her life will be difficult to get passed ...
And these statements are all generally true, but how can I explain not mourning my mother now.
Today on my walk I realized that my mourning began long before she died.
Thinking back I mourned her in a million small ways over the last 10 years. The first tug on my heart happened when I realized she was really no longer completely viable living independently. Moving her into my home 8 years ago made me happier - she was safer - but I remember sadness too knowing she needed this kind of help. In 2011 her frequent hospitalizations and in-house rehabs created another jarring realization. Yes, her mind was failing, but her body was too. In December 2011 I remember standing by my kitchen sink crying like she had already died - she was leaving my home and being admitted into Assisted Living. Watching her leave me mentally and physically this last year was a terribly mournful time for me. I mourned at each and every decline for too many years.
So I am not in a state of mourning today. It sounds almost sacrilegious to say that. But for me, my time at my mom's side was like one long goodbye. And as I lost pieces of her through the years, I mourned and made my peace with those losses every step of the way.
I miss her. I am not mourning her. I think she would be happier about that.
I think each individual goes through the process of losing a loved one differently. I had years and years of little goodbyes and periods of sadness and mourning. There is nothing left now to mourn.
I have two last memories to share - and then I am moving on in a different direction for the blog.
About 4 days before mom died, she had a few wakeful periods. She was not eating or drinking much. She was not speaking. I knew she was dying. I think she knew too. That morning when I came into her room I bent down to say good morning and kiss her face - something I did every time I visited. This time, however, she slowly lifted her arm and put it around my head as I kissed her. Her message was simple - I am saying goodbye. I will remember that embrace for the rest of my life. That same day my sister arrived and mom did exactly the same thing again. A simple action and yet so meaningful.
My last memory caught me by surprise. I expected her actual death to be hard. I was prepared. I was not prepared for the last moments at her grave site. The priest had performed the last blessing and had left. It was a cold and rainy day - too dismal to linger. The small gathering was breaking up. At that moment, I couldn't seem to leave. I finally walked to the end of her casket and placed my hand on it trying hard to understand this emotion. I think the realization that I was finally no longer needed even for the shell of her body had finally hit me. I turned quickly and left.
I left my caregiver mantle at her grave site. I didn't need it any more.
Next time I post ... and there will be a next time ... I will focus on what the "new" me is doing! Hopefully you will stick around for that.