Grief – Two Months In

Grief is an odd emotion. It enters your being before you realize it, when you least expect it. You think you’re coping well – on the mend, even – and it hits you in the gut. A sucker punch. Doubles you over in pain. Takes your breath away.

Such is my life these days. I can be enjoying myself, thinking I’m moving into my new “normal” (whatever that means), the oozing raw flesh of my soul beginning to scab, and a memory floats into my head. It can be a wonderful memory – something my mom and I shared, or a look she gave me that only I understood, or a great pun she made – and I am a blithering idiot, sobbing and sniveling.

Try working when that happens. Try focusing on anything. Try being a present and loving parent, when all you want to do is get in bed, pull the covers tight around you, and sob.

People ask me how I am. What should I say? I am mindful that it’s been two months since I became motherless. Since my mom “passed away.” (Don’t get me started on how much I hate that euphemism. She didn’t pass away.  She died. Ceased breathing. Her life ended. She left us. Me…I told you not to get me started, didn’t I?)  My usual response? “Hanging in.” Sometimes, “You know,” accompanied by a shrug. On a bad day, “It’s hard,” looking down, lip quivering a bit. Not much more. People have had enough after a couple of months.  Move on, already. Get over it. Get back to living. What’s wrong with you?

What’s wrong with me? My mother died. My friend. My fellow punster. My companion for part of almost every day for almost two years before she died. My mom. My mama.

What’s wrong with me? I am bereft. I can’t stand that she’s not here with me. I hate that when I want to share something, I can’t reach her. I want her back. I want her never to have left. I want my mama.

That’s what’s wrong with me.

Excuse me, I have to go. Another crying bout is upon me.


1924 – 2011

Mom and meDecember 19, 2011/Day 21:
In your house today
sobbed in my car afterward
I miss you so much.

December 20, 2011/Day 22:
On this my birth day
thank you God for guiding me
I am so in awe.                    

December 21, 2011/Day 23:
Lighting two candles
on Chanukah’s solstice night
waiting for the dawn.

December 22, 2011/Day 24:
Going through your clothes
clutching cherished ones tightly
these are not just “things.”

December 23, 2011/Day 25:
Welcoming Shabbat
four candles for Chanukah
your soul in the flames.

December 24, 2011/Day 26:
Chanukah day five
Christmas eve – twinkling lights shine
my candle burns low.

December 25, 2011/Day 27:
to Phoebe’s other grandma
a bittersweet time.

December 26, 2011/Day 28:
Looking at your face
in photos over the years
your radiance reigns.

December 27, 2011/Day 29:
It was yesterday
how can it be it’s a month?
You’re not coming back?

December 28, 2011/Day 30:
Thirty days ago
the earth cradled your body
the heavens your soul.

About armsakimbobook

I'm a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. My book, Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, tells of my journey of healing over a number of years, learning to live a full life after I was molested by my father at a very young age. I live in Maynard, MA, with my wife and and our two moose-cats, Samson and Hercules. My daughter used to live with me part-time, but she's all grown up now and in her junior year of college, which I can't quite fathom, since she was born about five minutes ago...
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2 Responses to Grief – Two Months In

  1. Bev says:

    Oh, Audrey. I want to give you a big hug. You have said this so brilliantly. It’s amazing how the people who are so supportive at the time of death, expect you to be “over it” a week or so later, as if disposition of the body neatly ties up all loose ends and you can get on with things. Until you have gone through a loss, you don’t realize that you are never over it. It gets better, you move on, you smile and laugh again, but you are never over it. It gradually becomes a part of the “new you” and no matter how many years have elapsed, no matter how much you look “back to normal” (whatever that is) on the outside, there are still those moments–rarer and rarer–when something will move you to tears. My sister died at age 24 in 1971 and to this day, very rarely, my mother will tear up about something.

    The favorite thing I heard at the funerals of our two sons was “you’ll never forget him.” I know that people mean well, but did they REALLY think I might be in danger of “forgetting” a child I carried for 9 months, gave birth to, nursed, raised to adulthood and then buried?

    I love your haiku project. It’s a wonderful way to be in contact with your mother as you remember the things which made your relationship with her so special.


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