Monday, September 26, 2011

The Process of Grief

Mom with Hannah
Summer 2005

Today has been a difficult day.  It just has.  My dad and I have decided that it is time to start going through my mom's clothes.  I tried to do this job earlier in the summer, but it was just too painful, so I stopped knowing that I could always come back and finish the job at a later time.  I don't know which will be more painful though-- a closet full of mom's clothes or a closet that is completely empty and void.  I know that we can't hang on to her clothes forever, and that she would be happy to donate most of them (I've taken out a few things to keep).  I went over to my parents' house this morning to do a quick sort of what was left.  I went alone (never a good idea) and instead found myself holding articles of her clothing, breathing in their scent because they still smell like her.  I sat on her closet floor and cried.  I know that getting rid of things doesn't mean I am getting rid of her memory, but at times it certainly feels that way. 

After realizing what a huge task the closet will be, I decided I'd better leave it to another day when I can have some help with me.  I have my aunt and my good friends to help me be objective and decisive while also giving me room to mourn and take my time when needed.  Grief is certainly a crazy up and down process.  

Before I left, I decided to open up Mom's hope chest.  I haven't touched it yet because I know that it contains Mom's most treasured possessions.  Things like anniverary cards, letters, a quilt made by my grandmother, a few of my mom's childhood toys.  I opened it up and picked up a green journal on the top.  The first entry was dated February 1978.  It was addressed to "My Little Emily".  Page after page, my mom had written little notes about what I was doing and saying at different stages.  And most importantly she wrote out how much she loved me and how much she enjoyed being my mom.  I will share with you all some of the journal entries here one day.  They are so special to me. Once again I sat with tears streaming down my face as I read each one.  

I recently read that the more you avoid grief, the tighter it sticks to you.  I had been going along here lately trying my best not to think of things.  Trying to stay busy.  And in the process, Grief had been clinging to me for dear life.  Today I was able to slow down, allow myself to feel the pain, cry, sob and then stand up, wipe my eyes, take a deep breath and continue forward.  One step at a time. 


Susan S said...

God bless you, Emily.

Maria Rose said...

What a gift that she kept that journal, that you had some time to go over it by yourself. I am also so happy that you have such an amazing support system. Wish I could hug you

Ashley said...

I know what you're going through. I've been going through Dad's things and it totally tears me apart. I have been doing it alone and you're right, it's not a good idea. I'm trying to get his condo ready to sell and have been avoiding as well. Grief overhwhelmed me Sunday for hours. Know that I think of you often and you're not alone in your feelings. I understand and try to hear what Dad always said to me...Chin Up. It will get better. It just has to.

Rachel said...

It must be so precious to have that journal from your mom! I love you tons!

Dad said...

Look into mom's eyes. You can see the fullfillment, pride and joy of being a grandmother.