Sitting with sadness

For the first time since my mum’s death almost four months ago I’ve had two weeks on my own at home, my partner off in Ireland for work.

I realise how much I’ve needed this space to sit with my feelings- not only the loss of my mum, the thinking about things that will never happen again, rerunning my last visit to her where she held my hand tight and returned a kiss unexpectedly ….but also the sense of responsibility for my father and the still broken relationships with 2 in the family. It’s a lot and it needs time just to quietly be and to do the things I know work for me in times such as these – lots of sleep, very very simple healthy food, swimming, walking, writing, reading, time to just be and think and lots of quiet.

A photo on the mantelpiece of my mum from a few years before her descent into Alzheimer’s. She is looking directly at the camera and is surprisingly relaxed and happy, usually one to avoid being the subject of a photo. It’s good to remember times like those as well as the peaceful times she had towards the end of her life. I loved just to visit and sit with her, doing the little things she seemed to like – putting on hand cream, brushing her hair, helping her eat a Creme caramel with gusto and just holding her hand as she slept. All precious times and feel good about having been able to go down so often in her last months in particular.

So lots of memories of moments with my mum that feel good just to sit with.

The family difficulties resulting from their ways of dealing with loss continue. Incredibly painful for me but I have just tried to keep going. In pain they have lashed out and excluded. And I just keep going trying to do the best by my dad and youngest sister – and for us the shared grief has brought us closer. Still unresolved with the other two despite my best efforts I just need now to step back and let time continue to pass. The realisation is that not everything can be fixed and may not be ever. That’s not an easy thought.

I’ve read so much about loss and grief and get the why … But it still makes it tough to be at the sharp end of the consequences of how others can deal with theirs. At a time I’d have imagined a pulling in, a strengthening of bonds, it’s been the opposite with them. Just need to be with that.

So time to muse and meditate, time to snooze and peruse books and podcasts, drink great coffee and feel my limbs stretch as I swim. Time to recharge and fill my being with positive energies and nourishment.

Just what I needed.

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13 thoughts on “Sitting with sadness”

  1. When my husband’s mother died, all hell broke loose with his family members. Sad to say, grief wasn’t involved, just greed for the little she left her family and, I think revenge because my husband had been her favourite. In the end, we walked away from the conflict, didn’t need such dysfunctional people in our lives, and we have felt the better for it ever since. I guess you can’t control people’s reactions, just let your family live and let live, and see what happens over time. The main thing: take care of yourself and don’t let them drain or control them. How they react is their problem to resolve, not yours. Love yourself and give yourself big, no, huge hugs.

  2. It is very soothing for me to read your latest blog entry … hearing about the reactions of the family makes me sad though, at a time of grief families I thought pulled together, but it seems in some ways it has pulled it apart – so all you can do is to appreciate the strength of love your remaining family members have with you and fond memories of everything, all three of you were involved in. Its tough nevertheless, so enjoy your time off doing the things that make you enjoy life, things that make you smile and remember your much loved mum.

  3. My mother died at the end of May and left a lot of unanswered questions and unresolved feelings for all of us. My sympathies to you.

    I know there are no words to give you. I’m glad you have a little time for yourself. You certainly have all the right ideas about dealing with grief and how to take care of yourself. It’s a process and just takes time. If I were there, I would just sit quietly with you and listen to anything you wanted to share.

    I loved the simple beauty of this post, my friend. May peace continue to grow within you.

  4. Thank you for your willingness to share your process, and the dysfunction in your family. My family also came unglued when my mother passed. It was a shock to lose her, but it was a surprise to lose that sense of family that persisted as long as she was with us.

  5. This: “The realisation is that not everything can be fixed and may not be ever. That’s not an easy thought.”
    Not easy, is right. Like waterboarding, I suspect.

    As my parents age recently and sibling relations become strained and taxing, I sense that there will be some ugliness when their times come, too. Sometimes lately I’ve just really felt like I can’t and won’t and don’t have to deal with the drama and dysfunction anymore. It’s a curious feeling–are we allowed to move away from our family members? Isn’t that taboo? Will I regret it ultimately, even though we have almost nothing in common except DNA? Haven’t there in fact been times when I’ve sat back and thought, “Wow, in the end, all we really have is family.” But when did I think that, under what harsh circumstances, and would my thoughts be so facile under similar circumstances were they ever repeated?

    I don’t know. Not everything can be fixed; I suppose not everything can be answered.

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