The years following a loss are unexpected and confusing. That is perhaps the understatement of the year, but in sitting here and attempting to summarize them, that is the best that I can do.
At this point, a part of me wanted to be able to say “I changed the world for her.” Because in some way, that would help me rationalize my loss.
I no longer have my mom, BUT I did something amazing. That isn’t how it happened though.
I no longer have my mom and sometimes I sit on the couch in silence, imagining a completely boring conversation that I could have with her.
“Guess what, Mommy??”
“I made dinner tonight, and it was delicious. Jonah is licking my arm. Also, I switched shampoos, and I feel like this new one reminds me of when we went to Rocky Point when I was little, even though that is all I remember of that trip, just that one smell… that is in my new shampoo. Also, Stella says hi.”
She would make the most ordinary things something for me to be proud of. But in her absence, I must make myself proud. The funny thing about me, or maybe all of us, is that is extremely hard to do.
The truth about the lessons from my mom, is that they are no longer so singular in nature. There is no themed capsule of thought that encloses my daily experiences, rather, they all float arbitrarily above my head. If I dare, I reach above and grab one and treasure it until it slips away. Sometimes I even grab a few.
Stand up for yourself, Kiki.
Don’t freak out!
Check on Papa and, also, buy him socks.
But more often I lose my grip on them and they float above me once again. Never far. Never gone. Just not quite within my ability to hold on to.
Then there are the moments when I think my life is “normal.” When I’m picking Jonah up from his babysitter, and I tell her I’m traveling to see the family for Thanksgiving.
And then she says “That’ll be nice to see your Mom, I’m sure she spoils Jonah.” So I smile, and try to hide the shake in my voice, and say that yes, my whole family loves him and wants to spoil him.
Mostly, over these three years now, I’ve learned that those difficult moments are not streaks of bad luck. They are not temporary. With all good things, there are bad things, and while I don’t like to experience the pain, I have to allow myself to experience the pain. Because I do become braver. I stand up for myself. I still freak out, a lot. But damnit, I will buy my dad some socks and have conversations with my mom, and still keep reminding myself that I need to change the world.