13 January 2012

Grief is a strange thing

Since my mom passed away three weeks ago, my family and I have been grieving. The grief has taken on many different shapes in that time.

Sometimes it is the deep sadness found in knowing that the loss is permanent - and I that can't even begin to imagine how often in the years to come I'll miss not having my mom around.

Sometimes it is a sadness for others - a realization that the loss is not mine but also that of her friends, her church, and the rest of my family. The church has lost a hard worker who loved serving others. My nieces have lost their grandma. My husband will never get to know my mom better or hear more of her stories. My father is alone after 42 years of seeing and talking to each other daily. My sister will never get to share news of becoming pregnant or of any of the struggles or questions involved with that. Nor will I.

Sometimes the loss is simply being busy, especially sorting through everything that needed to be done from housework to paperwork. The many things needing to be done last week at home with my father were a wonderful distraction from the sadness.

Sometimes it is sleeplessness. Other times it is sheer exhaustion and a desire to do nothing but sleep. Sometimes it is anger or irritation. Sometimes it is avoidance. Sometimes it is busyness and cleaning while other times I'd gladly play computer games for hours. Sometimes I want to talk about my mom and other times I simply don't want it brought up. Sometimes it is thankfulness for the distance between Amsterdam and Canada - so that every time I turn around I don't sense her presence and am reminded of my loss. And sometimes the distance simply causes more sadness - for how can I be with the rest of my family mourning?

And sometimes it is simply trying to return to normal life, which at times feels strange - like I'm trying to avoid or minimize what's happened. Yet, returning to regular life seems a way of honouring my mother well - I know she was proud of me and would want me to continue to live out my faith and use my talents. Grief will simply continue to be an aspect of this life, coming and going in differing shapes and intensities.

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