This has been the hardest six weeks of my Life with the sudden passing of the dearest person in my Life, my beloved Mother, Naomi. There are no words that can describe the pain that one feels at the loss of the person, who brought them into the world. Especially if that Mother was as loving, dear, and close as my Mom was to me. My Mother was my whole world and we spoke up to six times a day. She was the first call and the last call I made every single day. Nothing will ever be the same without her and every day seems to be missing something without her in it. But, at least, I know that she knew how much I loved her since we spoke every day. Dearest TGATP readers, make sure to call your mothers regularly even if they are not as close to you as mine was. Because when you can no longer call them, there is simply no greater loss or pain.
Oddly, since most of us will outlive our parents, there are very few books or articles on this loss and few people speak of it. As writing is always healing for me, here are a few lessons that came out of my Mother’s death that I feel may help when you face, this, the most difficult of Life experiences.
Live in the moment.
Grieving a beloved parent is a like nothing else you have ever been through in Life. While we may all go through Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief – bargaining, disbelief, sadness, anger, acceptance – it is like, losing your virginity, a different experience for every person. With only four weeks since my Mother’s passing, I find myself wandering through a different combo of the Kubler-Ross stages every day and the grief has manifested in an almost bi-polar way. My moods have fluctuated from a disorientated dream-like state to manic clarity. Walking through the streets of my neighborhood, I am seeing things for the first time. Colors are more vivid, sounds are louder. The pain is so acute that there is a heightened awareness of every sense. In addition, I never know what I am going to feel like at any given time. It is hard to plan a day as I may not feel like doing what is scheduled. I am told this is normal and may even last for years to come. The one good thing that this has done is force me to live fully in the moment I am in and I can finally understand Tolle’s “Power of Now.” The past brings memories of Mom and I can’t imagine a future without her, so the “now” is the only safe emotional place to be. Instead of my usual planning for the uncertain future or reminiscing about the past, I am forced to just exist.
Don’t expect people to be anything more than they have always been.
The loss of your Mother (or any significant other) will leave you emotionally vulnerable in a way that you have never been before. Therefore, be careful not to expose yourself to bad pennies or untrustworthy and unreliable people from your past. The day my Mother died, I was in a complete state of grief and shock and trying to get down to her Virginia home in a flurry. One associate, a noted stylist/TV personality who has always been flaky in that special way that fashion and Hollywood people are, offered to cover my travel expenses. He instructed me to call him the following morning to arrange things. Now since this individual had never really been very reliable, I was not surprised when he didn’t come through on this occasion. Not only did he not answer at the time he told me to call him, I really haven’t heard from him since! Fortunately, I was not reliant on him. However, I will admit to being a bit shocked at his callous disregard at such a crucial time. But as weeks have passed, I realize that I should not have been. People really are, who they are, and your tragedy will not make them magically become better people.
This tenet also holds true for your family members. In times of tragedy, expect them to assume the exact roles that they have always played in the family dynamic, good or bad. As Maya Angelou aptly quoted, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time!” This is true of EVERYONE – family, friends, business associates, adversaries – EVERY ONE! Best to only rely on those people in your Life that have always been there for you. If, in your case like mine, that person is the one who has passed, then you can only count on yourself.
Watch for signs from your departed loved ones.
I don’t believe that people ever fully leave us if we loved them. My mother has already sent tons of signs that she is still here in Spirit. Be mindful of the signs. From her favorite songs suddenly coming on in unexpected places to people saying the exact thing I need to hear at the exact moment, my Mom has showed up numerous times. While this was initially a bit hard; it is becoming a comfort as more time passes since I last spoke to her in the flesh.
And finally, take it easy on yourself and put yourself first.
I have gained 12 pounds in the six weeks since my Mom’s passing. Food has become a constant companion and a soothing friend. And, you know what? I don’t care. While I have restarted my diet and am starting to drop the acquired weight, my body needed the six weeks of Dairy Queen Blizzards, cookies, Cheetos (abet Whole Foods ones), Chick-a-Fillet, Cheez-Its, pizza, and everything else that I took in.
While I would advise against turning to drugs, smoking, and alcohol, or overeating past a six-week stint; do whatever it is that will give you some comfort. Make your emotional comfort your main focus for a few months. As the weeks pass, people will fall away and go back to their busy lives and you will find that your grief is a solitary experience. So do not, in any way be ashamed or apologetic, for putting yourself first. Buy that new outfit, have those nails done, stay up all night, have sex, take that vacation, eat that sundae, see that movie, sleep in, lounge about, just experience Life however you want to.