Grief: I lied. Spongy Surfaces.


I lied.

I lied I lied I lied.

Remember yesterday? You know, that post I wrote, not 24 hours ago where I said I was ready to transition, start a new chapter?

Lies. It’s all lies as it turns out.

I reread that post at bedtime and then bawled my head off, silently with that awful lump in the throat, for about … oh, 45 minutes. It was wrenching.


I was wondering where the hell the “bargaining” stage of Kubler-Ross’s renown death stages was.

Turns out it was here, lurking the whole time. Tsking its teeth and clearing its nails, waiting for me to feel semi-pre-Labor Day again.

It wasn’t classic bargaining, like where I’d say, “Take me instead!” or “What I wouldn’t give to ____” it was more like this:

Holy shit. I just realized I’ve never written in my own handwriting, until now [last night] any derivation of ‘my Mom [and] dead.’

And then the pain. The pain that said,

But you’ve written a check for her burial plot. And you wrote, edited and signed the death notice. And you picked out her burial clothes and put in a tube of lipstick. So you did all that. It’s not like you didn’t get it. It’s just that … you know: you didn’t get it. So here’s something, right now, to help you get it a little more.

I never got to say goodbye.

That’s the part that stings, like a … like a paper cut that goes super wide and super deep. Searing and humbling. Mom hated goodbyes. She always said, “See you soo-in,” in that funny way she pronounced certain words.

Bargaining. I’d’ve liked to have said goodbye to her. But she wouldn’t have, well, clearly didn’t allow it.

Lots of people, God bless ’em (and I mean that) say things like, “You know it was merciful; it was so much better (??) than a long, drawn-out illness.” And I totally get that, and I agree.

But the fact is: it was sort of long and drawn out. Mom didn’t have cancer. Mom didn’t have emphysema. Mom didn’t have a stroke or anything like that. But she did have issues. Her heart? That came out of freakin’ nowhere.

I mean: BOOYA. >God drops mic.<

“She must’ve just thrown a clot,” said a well-intentioned neighbor, Just. Like. That. Like how you or I might say, “That’s a lot of money for those tires.”

Mom had a bunch of -isms that literally sucked the lifeblood from her soul and her smile. I think about what she endured and for how long she endured it and I think, “Holy shit. She’s a freakin’ machine. Despite all her -isms, she kept it going….”

She could’ve checked out. Any time. Well, she sort of did, in certain ways, but not in The Big Way.

Things were unstable.

Instability. That’s where I am right now. And CS Lewis was right: when I was sad, am sad: Mom is far away. But the sad is sort of necessary now. Today.

I’m literally laughing over my shoulder at my Yesterday Me. Rolling my eyes. Thinking, “girrrrl, you have no clue about what the what is goin’ on. Just stop talkin’ ’bout a new chapter this and a let it go that… You are getting schooled every day… stop STOP with the expectations and the plans…”

And “Today Me” is totally right.

I journaled in my own handwriting last night for 45 minutes. Six pages. Big letters, exclamation points, woe, fear, regrets, jokes, anger, sarcasm, regret.


I have to remember this though: Mom set the tone. The guilt and regret I feel is utter bullshit. I know this. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the guilt is bullshit. As a child of my mother, or someone like her, we are raised in an environment where the leader sets the tone. Where the child simply gets in line, behaves as told, responds as allowed. Patterns form and behavior sets itself and life continues in that manner.

That’s what I mean by Mom set the tone. I wrote a post a lonnnnnng time ago, when I was in a state regarding her and some other people whose behavior reminded me of hers. It’s called “Be Careful Of What You Wish For“; and it touches hammers on the consequences that we as parents, or people in group dynamics actually, experience when we set up relationships the way we (unconsciously) do. Most of my posts on parenting come from my experiences as a child and now a parent and how I see that we all have choices we can make in behaviors we exhibit.

I slept like a wounded bear last night after I wrote. Morning came; the sky was dark and cloudy, heavy with the approaching rain. It started about two hours ago and I think it’s going to be a daylong affair.

I like days like this. They let me indulge in a blanket on the couch and a Hitchcock film. A cup of Earl Gray. After yoga.

I have friends and family who’ve reached out to me — in comments on the blog, in emails, in phone calls, texts,  artwork, meals, cards, hugs, smiles and packages of snacks that make me turn into a ravenous addict and they remind me: God is not far away. That beauty and love are still, always, here.

He works through them; maybe because He knows how daft we are and remembers what happened the last time He came down here and tried to show us who He was as a human…

When I feel most alone, these people reach out. They tell me I am absolutely not alone. They tell me my words help them. They tell me to be patient with myself. They tell me the surface is unstable. That it’s spongy. They tell me they understand.

And that is God.

Then I remember my own post about self-compassion and comparing my grief to a newborn, and I settle and remember I am also here for me too.

So soon I will write about the faceless chicken and show you pictures of the creepy undertakers. We’re talking Shakespearean. I will warn you ahead of time: I’m pulling no punches either.

But not today. Today I am on spongy land.

Thank you.

10 responses »

  1. All I can think to say is that the idea that there are ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’ is false. You are going to have days. They’ll all be different. Yesterday was real. Today is real too. Praying for you daily. God is near.

    • today is a day. they are all real and yes, thank you for saying that. i have to remember that they are all real. and that everything i feel is not only OK but mine. i think Mom didn’t ever feel validated that way; everyone told her what to feel. no wonder she loved acting so much. :/

  2. I did not comment on yesterday’s post……because even though I was hopeful, I thought it was too soon……….just allow your emotions to unfold, evolve……each day will get a little easier……however there will always be those moments…….just yesterday I looked at a picture of my father who passed away almost 9 years ago and started to cry…..that sense of loss will never go away, but each day gets easier …….remember be kind and passionate to yourself, but most of all give yourself some time……….Now go curl up with a blanket and watch some mindless tv 😉

    Sending huge air hugs Molly!


  3. “Where the child simply gets in line, behaves as told, responds as allowed. Patterns form and behavior sets itself and life continues in that manner.”
    Truth. Absolute truth. My Mother died April 03, 2012, we had a VERY tumultuous relationship throughout my life and while I removed myself and my children from her reach for 14 years I went back to her side when she called me two months before the end. I am not over my relationship with her or her death and I don’t see an ‘end” yet. You have my sympathy, my respect and a shared pain in going through the Mother marathon. We can only hope that we leave our children in better shape with our relationships. Hugs to you.

    • Thank you. I tried a few times to do what you did and it was impossible; she wouldn’t abide. I appreciate your candor and your sympathies; you have mine as well. In all of this I have to remember that choosing myself or choosing health does not mean a rejection of her/others. We are doing what we can to stay aware; that, in my estimation, is entirely more than ever happened in my history with Mom. I would say that in the last few weeks, as in the case with you, she sort if reversed her course; she opened to me or at least didn’t make it all about her. That glimpse was a bittersweet gift. Had she not, I’d’ve had a more succinct (I guess) tie off. Thank you, so much, for reaching out. -Molly

  4. Thank you for sharing. It always helps and makes a difference in my life. I hope you find peace. Like you, I never got to say goodbye to my Mom or my Dad. It has been twelve years since my Dad died. He took care of my Mom for 31 years with her being in a wheelchair. Spent three months in a hospital getting my leg lengthened sleeping in a recliner for much of the time. Never really told him what an amazing man and father he was. Never told my Mom how amazing it was that she fought as hard as she did to stay alive. She could have died so many times, but she always fought to be with my brother and I. Message is to always let others know how much they mean to you. You never know when that option will be taken away. I hope you find peace, as well as me, but I think it is going to take some time.

  5. Hey, you keep wanting to go back to pre-Labor Day . . . except you can’t. You CAN keep doing what you’re doing. Every day, for a while, you’ll act normal and then get hit by a truck / kicked in the chest so hard you can’t breath. After a while (probably a really long while), you’ll be able to go a day or two without getting kicked in the chest. But you will continue to get kicked in the chest. My grandmother died the day I moved here. I didn’t see her before I left because blah blah blah excuses. I would visit her all the time, EXCEPT I didn’t make time before I moved. That one thing that I can never undo still comes and runs me over like a big ass truck at random times (well, reading your post isn’t random, but still – random times). So as you heal, do what you need to do. Let your kids help you, let your husband help you, help them (since, as “they” say, helping others actually helps us). But know that you will get hit by the truck / kicked in the chest / whatever. It means that you loved and still loved, you cared and still care. It’s fine. It sucks, but it’s fine.
    And call me – I want to go and try that salad.

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