In Her Time of Dying: One Month.

Today marks one month that my mother has been dead. Writing those words feels so strange and surreal. On one hand, the events of December 21st-28th feel fresh; like they just happened and on the other hand, it feels like it happened an eternity ago. The experience changed me so completely, it feels strange that it has only been one month since I transitioned from a person with a mother (albeit not a great one) who had never seen death, to a person who just watched the woman who gave birth to her die. How is it possible that it’s only been a month? It’s hard to fathom.

I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m functioning better at work, though I have my moments where I don’t really want to talk or do much of anything. I’ve accepted those moments as they come and allowing myself to feel them, forgiving my lapse in work ethic knowing that it will come back sooner than later. I’ve been reading a brilliant book called The Undertaking: Life Stories From the Dismal Trade. My brother bought it for me just after mom died. It is a wonderfully written collection of stories and experiences from the author, Thomas Lynch, who is a poet that moonlights as an undertaker. It is precisely the book that I needed to read at precisely the right moment in my life.

I’m still seeing my grief counselor, T, once a week which has been helpful. This week I talked to her about the day and hours just before my mother died. This is something I’ve had a hard time talking about, because it was traumatic for me and I haven’t really been ready to vocalize it. I haven’t written about the night she died yet, but I feel like I will be writing about it soon. It was nice to talk about the things I saw with someone who is around that kind of thing constantly. She shared her first death experience with me. I mentioned to T that I’m not sure what my goals for counseling are, like I don’t have a set plan for what I’d like to see happen. One thing I’ve come to realize in talking with her is that I like things laid out before me. I like to see the what, when, why of things that are happening. I am going to counseling because _____. I have attachment issues because ______. She suggested that due to my unstable and traumatic past, I thrive on structure and knowing exactly what it is I’m dealing with on a daily basis. I had never even thought of that until she brought it up, but she is absolutely right.

Just talking helps. I feel better, lighter after a counseling session. Even if I do nothing but babble about things unrelated to mom’s death, I feel better.

One month down, an eternity to go. I wonder when I will stop marking weeks and days. Maybe after 6 months? Maybe after a year? Maybe never? I don’t know.

One month. A minute amount of time in the grand scheme of things. An eternity. All at the same time. Weird.