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Layers of Grief

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ป…๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—บ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ. ๐—ข๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐˜† ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†.

I look at it often, but yesterday morning (Mother’s Day) I saw it in a different light. I saw my mom looking healthy and happy and it struck me that this was one of the last times I saw her that way. She and my dad had been spending several months each late fall/winter in Arizona, and it was that winter that she was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer.

This picture also showed me something fresh in my dad that I may have overlooked before — true joy and a connection I hadn’t fully noticed. Because my dad more recently passed away (last September), I understand that there are many new thoughts and feelings and aspects of him, our relationship and my loss to process.

More to process

But I was taken aback as I realized that there may be layers left to process from my mom’s passing almost 20 years ago. For those of you who might be years into a significant loss, maybe you will relate to what I’m feeling. You see, when a loved one dies, we deal with that loss on many levels. For me, I focused less on my mom not being physically present and more on passionately searching for where she was and for everything I could find out about life after death. Her spiritual presence was around me, and regular dream visits from her brought comfort. I immersed in my own young family and especially in motherhood. Peace found me, and my life was and continues to be filled with joy, purpose and hope.

Yet I’ve come to realize that the version of me in this picture stopped existing when my mom passed away. A changed person emerged, missing the one person she never imagined living without. So I think the layer that needs attention is the one that was quickly moved past all those years ago — helping myself to truly feel my mom’s physical absence back when she first left, and reconnecting with the person I was when we shared this life together.

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