I swear, I’m not trying to make this into The Journal Of Death or anything, but I obviously have some things weighing on my mind and I told you before that this is my therapy, which makes you my therapist, so you are compelled to sit back and listen.
Okay, so you aren’t compelled to do anything really, but where else can you go to read things that make you cry, then make you laugh about poop, all in one place?
I was talking to a friend today. She has experienced a devastating loss recently too. Her father lived on the other side of the world, and he was quite ill. On the day she was scheduled to fly out to see him, he died. He hadn’t been a part of her life for many years. He missed every major milestone she experienced as an adult: her wedding, the birth of her child, her birthdays, every holiday. All of it. And then before she could reconcile anything, or ask questions, or show him the slideshow that she and her brother had put together to catch him up on the last 20 years of their lives…he was gone.
For her, that made it all worse. He’d missed everything, and now there was no chance he would be a part of anything ever again.
It couldn’t be more different from my loss, but our feelings were so much the same. My Mom was one of the biggest parts of my life and always had been. She was present for every major life event I’ve had. She threw my birthday parties, took me everywhere, watched me dance, planned my wedding, attended bridal and baby showers, and was there when both of my daughters were born. She’s been my touchstone for years and years, and we spoke several times a week.
For me, that made it all worse. She’d been there for everything, and now there was no chance she would be a part of anything ever again.
We all walk through loss – no matter what kind it is – and it washes over us. We’re undeniably drenched in what’s happened, but because we move forward so quickly, we air-dry a little bit, so we think we’re good to go. Different for the experience, sure, but ready to get dressed again.
What we don’t entirely realize is that what we've been exposed to doesn't get left in the past when we move forward. The loss stays with us, sitting right there on the surface. We learn that while we may be moving on, we're not moving on without it because it's a part of who we are.
So we make dinner and have meetings and walk the dog – we get distracted by life – and what we thought we'd gotten used to starts to change. It begins to seep in. The reality of what we’ve seen and felt and lost sinks deeper and deeper into us until one day out of the blue, it touches our heart.
There’s no warning. It’s like an earthquake, but it comes from inside, which kind of makes it a heartquake. You can’t see it coming, you just start to feel it. It’s scary because you have no idea whether it will shake you up a little or a lot, so there's no way to prepare. You don’t know how long it will last, you just have to ride it out and hope.
This week my heartquake left me sitting in the driveway crying. I’d dropped the kids at school, and was on the way home, listening to the country station and sipping my coffee, and I instinctively wanted to call her for our daily download and catch up session. And it hit me that while her voice is still on the answering machine, she’s not there to pick up the phone anymore.
So instead, I texted another dear friend who understands this kind of driveway breakdown all too well, because she lost her darling mom a few months before I lost mine. I texted the traveling husband, who texted back that he misses my Mom too (cue: more crying). I texted Chicago, because well, I always text Chicago. And then I got out of the car and got on with my day. There were some aftershocks, but I made it through.
Life is just different now. My ovaries are still all aflutter, but in another way and for other reasons. They are Trembling Ovaries A.D., if you will.
If any of you were a rock star in your previous life, or you just had a mom who thought you were the best thing since sliced bread, then you know what I'm talking about. And if you've lost the president of your fan club and have since figured out how not to spontaneously cry in public, I’d love to know about it.
My ovaries and I are all ears.