Learning to Live Without
They’ll tell you it’s not new anymore, but they’re wrong.
I interviewed a Fruita woman who is making a difference in the life of a family friend. Carolyn Berry is working with friends and family members to organize Addi’s Cupcake Trot 5k Run/Walk in honor of a three-year-old girl, Addi, who lost her life due to a severe heart defect.
As Berry and I were talking, I told her about my mother’s death. My mom has been gone for four years and I expressed to Berry that I think things just become more and more normal without her as time passes.
I cannot truly relate to Addi’s family as I have never lost a child or a sibling, but losing a mother isn’t exactly easy either and I think loss is a universal sort of hurt.
In the beginning, living without my mother was unbearable. Most days were spent faking smiles and pretending to be whole. Even with the love and support of my sisters, my dad, extended family, and friends, the ache in my heart still nagged at me constantly.
Time passed. Time healed me. At one point, I stopped fearing bedtime, where I would be alone with my thoughts. I found myself becoming more interested in things again. And some of my smiles were actually real.
Looking back on my “process,” I remember the milestones of my grief and I remember what it took for me to reach those moments. None of it was easy, but things improved progressively. At first, each day was a monument in itself, but eventually, I learned how to be without my mom.
Grief is a strange thing. It will tear your heart apart, but at the same time, you never want to let it go. If you do, you might forget who made you grieve in the first place.
I still think of my mom everyday, usually every other moment. I miss her terribly, but I miss her in a positive way. Instead of being angry, which I was for a very, very long time, I choose to look for her in everyday life.
I see her in the sunset when my windows are down on the drive home from work. I hear her personality when talking to my sisters. I see her in the hummingbirds that fly though my yard.
I hear her when I’m laughing so hard I let out one of her signature cackles. I see her in the mirror everyday of my life, as I was blessed with those piercing green eyes of hers.
But the truth is she’s gone. And this is my new normal. And it’s not so bad. It’s certainly not ideal and I guess it’s not really new anymore if you look at the big picture.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a lifelong process. Each day you face without that person isn’t necessarily going to be sad, but it will definitely be new. After all, each day, you must learn to live without.