Thursday, June 19, 2014

Grieving, Or Not

Losing my mother feels so different than losing my father six years ago.

It's strange to me, since I feel closer to my mom (though not exceptionally close) than I did to my dad. But everything is different.

First of all, I've been through the loss of a parent before. I think the first time around, it rocked my world view. This time, I had a better idea of what to expect, in terms of my own reactions.

Secondly, my world has changed. I'm a parent now. I wasn't really one to fall apart even back then, but I did withdraw from the world for a few months. This time around, I don't have that choice. I have Calliope, and I have to be fully present each and every day with her. (Well, okay, occasionally I'm a little less than fully emotionally present, but that's been rare.) Along with Calliope comes forced interactions with other people, like her nanny, her nanny share buddy, and nanny sharing buddy's mother, who has become a very close friend. So I've lost the ability to hole up like a recluse.

That's both a blessing and a curse. I'm engaged in the world... but I'm also not really doing the work of grieving. And then when you throw in the stress of TTC'ing... and lice... and worrying about Calliope's limp (non-existent today!) and her peeing all over the house (also much improved)... there's no energy left over for grieving.

So I just keep pushing it away.

I remember, when my dad died, reading something how you can think about grief as something you take down off the shelf for ten minutes, to roll around in your hands and touch it experimentally, and then you put it back up on the shelf for the next day. That made a lot of sense to me. Controlled sampling from small plates of grief.

But I can't figure out how to do that this time around. It feels so big and ignored that I don't know quite where to start.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear you lost your mom.. I wondered in your long absence. My prayers and thoughts are with you <3 go with how you feel.. don't feel guilty no matter where that takes you xoxo

  2. It is so true that we just don't have room for certain emotions when you have kids...especially the big emotions. I haven't determined if this is a good thing or not.

  3. One of the many crappy things about grief is that it will catch up with you at some point. The lice and the limp and the pee- they couldn't wait.

    Sending you much love.

  4. Grief happens in pieces, like you said. Maybe try to plan on taking it down off that shelf for just 2 minutes, you deserve to allow yourself to grieve. Sending hugs.

  5. I have been really struck, in following your blog since before C was born, by how self-aware and reflective you are. It seems to me that even the fact that you can grasp and articulate that you're not grieving is an important observation. For all the reasons you list, it will be different for you this time around. When your regular life lets up, I imagine you will find the time to grieve in the way you need to...hope the blog continues to feel like a good outlet for you, Abby.

  6. With my child life specialist hat on... (and I know this is really late, but for what it's worth...) Calliope's pee accidents could have been a response to your mother dying. Not directly, but a response to your response, if that makes sense. Even if you didn't say it, she most likely felt a change in you, and that could have translated into a temporary developmental regression. This isn't something to be guilty about; it's just what happens, and it's totally normal and ok. As long as it reverts back to how she was before, all is good (and I'm pretty sure that has already happened).

    Finally catching up on posts, and so sorry to hear about your mom. Again, may her memory be a blessing.