Last Sunday was the sixth Mother’s Day since my mom passed away and the first one that made me bawl.
Sadness about my mom comes in waves throughout the year. There are certain times that are guaranteed to be more emotional than others, but for some reason Mother’s Day had never really been a troubling holiday for me. But driving down I-35 last Sunday, I noticed a man at a cemetery off the highway, getting on his knees to place a bouquet of flowers on someone’s grave. I lost it. Crying+hyperventilating, it’s been so long!
I was quiet and sad the rest of the day, partly because I missed my mom, and partly because I was afraid of my reaction. People who have dealt with grief and/or depression know the related feelings of helplessness. I can feel myself slipping into it, and I don’t know if it will last the day or several months. And to have those feelings triggered by something that used to not have the same negative effect feels a lot like regression and defeat.
The difference between before and now, though, is I know my friends’ and family’s support is endless and sincere. There were a lot of days spent in bed when my mom passed away. It wasn’t really until Texas 4000 that I learned how to talk about my mom, or how helpful it could be.
I got home Sunday night to a roommate who listened to me cry about my day. I checked my email and Facebook, finding messages from friends and teammates who had me and my mom in their thoughts that day. Those reminders made me realize I wouldn’t withdraw into my sadness because my support group wouldn’t let me.
As a “writer,” it dawned on me that I’d never written about my mother. I still think it’ll be a while before I write more personal memories of her, especially the last painful ones. But this is a start. In a span of a week, I have celebrated my friend’s mother being declared cancer-free and heard news of a friend’s grandfather losing his battle. I don’t know if cancer will be cured in my lifetime, if ever, but I do know that everyone has a support group that can help them through it. And if they don’t, they can talk to me!
My episodes of sadness are further apart and shorter in length. Thanks (and sorry!) to those who have literally taken the wheel so I can blubber down the highway, watched me burst into tears over lunch because I saw a woman who *kinda reminded* me of my mom, and suffered through my blunt “my mom’s dead” jokes. It’s all part of the healing process, I guess.