As the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing approaches this September, I reflect on those moments from last year. I’ve learned some valuable lessons from the passing of my mother and the days that followed. I’m no stranger to grief. My dad passed away when I was 16, and I lost both my older brothers when I was an adult leaving only now my sister and me. But, yet, the passing of my mother I still learned lessons on grief.
When it comes with people on the outside and loss there can be a disconnect. And when I say people, I include myself. It wasn’t until the death of my mom that I have a better grasp on some realities.
In my life coaching and writings, I have always said that we will never experience anything more difficult as far as human experiences then that of a loss of something we love. When we feel and experience a loss, we are left with a hole. Often times we want or need to fill in that hole, which for some, is where alcohol or other substances come into play. Sometimes, in time that hole will close up, but it will leave a mark or scar. Scars are proof of living a heartful life. Scars leave memories for us, for better or worse.
What I learned was in a loss, our world temporarily stops turning. But, for those on the outside, their world still spins. Some of those people still have expectations of you functioning and meeting needs, because that is where they are. While, the one with a loss can’t hardly put one foot in front of the other. All they really want is for no one to want anything from them right now. It’s two different worlds rotating around each other. For a time period I could not function normally. I needed help with daily life, and thinking, chores, and most of all, is to do nothing (which had always been hard for me) and rest. I discovered that many people told me to go and rest and don’t worry about anything, but for some of those people, they were just nice words. After just a few days of trying to rest they were asking me favors and wondering when I will get back to working and pulling my end not even a week after my mom’s funeral. I was baffled, hurt, and confused. Perhaps, I had been the same way in the past not even realizing what I was doing. It’s not just the loss of someone we love, but the entire experience physically, lack of sleep, readjusting your life without them, mentally, emotionally, and more are all very exhausting. But now, oh how experience teaches us. I not only understand the great need for much rest, but I will always try and make a way for others to get the rest they need when in mental and emotional pain.
I learned that when someone I know is experiencing a loss, I will stop my spin and really, truly look at them. I will pause and make sure they have what they need and ask nothing of them and expect nothing in return. When we don’t feel something our self, it’s hard to fully understand the pain and grief. But, for those who have had similar experiences, loss of a loved one, a pet, a career, etc. those are your temporary tribe. To know the pain, is to know you. They know you don’t need or can handle someone needing something from you. That you, indeed, need whatever it is you need. It may be a hug, a phone call, holding your hand, silence, a prayer, a meal, a distraction, your chores done, or a dark room to grieve in. A true friend or loved one, will find out what it is that YOU need, and they will be sure you have that. That is what I learned. When someone is dealing with a loss, I will find out what it is that they need and do all within my power to provide it to them.
I know without a doubt that I have many, many wonderful friends and family in my life who truly love me. I am very blessed. I had an overwhelming support of kindness on social media that I will NEVER forget. But, aside from my sister who was also in deep grief, I had but only one friend who checked on me every day. She made sure I had a ride to the airport and back as I had to fly thousands of miles for the funeral. Took care of my car and asked me again and again if she could do anything for me. She never dreamed of asking me to do anything but rest and grieve as I needed to. She too had experience great loss in her past and fully understood. Only one person. On top of feeling great loss, I felt lonely. I’m not saying any of this to make anyone feel bad or gain pity. I write mostly for my own therapy. I want to be a better person and this friend made a huge impact on me and made me more aware of those who grieve. I learned life lessons from her. True friendship does not seek its own. It is unconditional. Grief is a part of life and it is quite individual. At some point and time, if we live long enough, we will all have to go through a terrible loss and feel grief. So, these are valuable lessons for me. I learned a lesson from losing my mom. Love has no end or stop. She loved me the moment she knew she was pregnant. I will love her until I take my last breath. I now, more than ever will make time and effort to those who experience loss to assure them they are loved.