Last weekend a friend from college got married. The wedding was BOMB: full of great people I hadn’t seen in years and lots of food (SUSHI and MINI CORN DOGS!!!), a DJ who mixed Rihanna with 90s R&B, and bartenders who let us do shots. Wedding bartenders NEVER let you do shots. The champagne was flowing before the ceremony even began — and needless to say by about 10PM we were all sufficiently tanked and already complaining about tomorrow’s hangover. It was fabulous.
Around the time the bouquet toss was happening, I got to talking with one of my college roommates whom I haven’t seen in four years or so. She moved to LA right after school, and in the years she’s been out there she’s proven to be one of my fiercest supporters. She’s a really great friend and regularly makes me feel like an asshole for not texting her more 🙂 (I promise I love you Shannon). Well, we were talking about all of “My Shit” and she said something that really made me think. As I was telling her about my time at home and how I felt like it really was what I needed, she said, “I’m so happy that you have been able to deal with this. Because for a while, it just seemed like you weren’t.”
Obviously I know I’ve had quite the #journey and may have taken a bit of a “different” approach to grief — but do I care that from the outside looking in (mainly on my Instagram…) that it seems like I am “not dealing with it?” I don’t know. Because that certainly isn’t how I feel. But when I scrolled through The Gram, it looks like I’m just another care-free/happy go lucky/ fake-blonde-wanderlust-driven 20-something woman: There I am laughing with friends dressed up on Halloween and laying on a beach on my Birthday or surrounded by friends and cocktails in bars and taking cheeky selfies halfway across the world…. Wow, Yeah, Ok, I get where she was coming from.
But HEY! On here, I am open with all my struggles. So that should be enough, right? Maybe. I think that for a long time, that WAS my way of dealing with it. Moving on with my life. So many times in back in the hospital people would ask me how I was doing/what I was feeling.. and I would say, “There’s only one way to get through this, and that is to move forward.”
And that thought became my motto.
When she died I focused on planning the funeral and the celebration of life party we were throwing in place of visitation. When that was over, I went back to work, exactly 8 days after she passed, because that was what was next. I went away the next weekend to see a show in Boston, and made arrangements to go to the beach for my birthday. I traveled more, I went out with friends, I kept myself busy because at that point I just had to keep moving forward.
You see, I didn’t see what wallowing in my bed and crying for weeks on end was going to do. I needed to stay occupied in order to get myself through those first months. And I regret nothing about that. (Except maybe all of the drinking and the 20 pounds I’ve gained but ugh whatever I’ll get it off…someday….maybe..damn you problematic body image issues.)
Something else that I would say in the hospital when people asked how I was doing was, “Me? I’m OK. Really. Right now, I’m alright. Ask me the same question in 6 months.”
And of course, it was 6 months to the day that I ~officially~ fell apart and decided that staying in my bed and crying for weeks on end sounded like THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
So you betta believe that’s what I did.
Yesterday I was walking along the waterfront here in Brooklyn when a big wave of Holy-Shit-I-Miss-My-Mom hit me. And, thinking back to the conversation Shan and I had, decided to for once be a little more candid on my Instagram.
And let me tell ya, it was a little weird. I’m just not the kind of person to air my shit on social media because I feel like it’s gratuitous or like I’m asking you to feel sorry for me. Lord knows I am just not that person. But I posted this, because, well hey, it’s really not all sunshine and butterflies, and because I just couldn’t get what Shannon had said out of my head. I got a lot of kind comments/messages in response to the post, but really didn’t think much of it. IDK. Maybe I should work on being more open with this process in case it helps others who are going through something similar.
And full disclosure: I’m not writing this all coming from a point of view of “OMG what does everyone think of me?!” but more from a, “Will it affect me in a positive way if I am more open with all of this?” place.
That said, FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Going home was really awesome. I did the whole “Hey when was the last time I brushed my teeth thing” and watched the entire series of “Game of Thrones” AND half of “Gilmore Girls” (team Logan) and I think I went like 4 days without eating anything green at one point.
But I got back up here and was absolutely blindsided (is that the right word? did I make up a word?) by how much it all reminds me of Mom. The underground walk from one subway line to another and certain neighborhoods and BAGELS and clothes and oh my god no WONDER I was so damn depressed and needed to get the fuck out. This city IS her.
At the end of the summer, we’re going to spread her ashes in the New York Harbour. This is what she wanted. It will happen during the bridge of “Siberian Breaks” by her favorite band MGMT, whom my brother and I just so happen to be seeing tonight at Webster Hall. On the 10 month anniversary of her passing. Wow. 10 months. Double digits.
Today is 10 months of not having my mom.
It took me 10 months to be able to tear up when I talk about her.
It took me 10 months to learn not the push the grief away when it hits at those unexpected times.
It took me 10 months to read old letters from her that I had stashed away.
It took me 10 months to be honest about my feelings with my friends in a “public” way.
10 months to listen to “Supermarket Flowers” by Ed Sheeran. And to not fast forward through “Slipping Through My Fingers” in Mamma Mia.
10 months to REALLY cry in the car. Or in a hotel. Or in the living room. Or at the grocery. (Turns out I’m a grocery cryer. I prefer the yogurt aisle, but I’ll take the organic food section as well.)
It took me 10 months to begin to wrap my head around the idea that I can live in a world without Mom.
And it took me 10 months to feel semi-OK again. And I’ve decided that that’s OK.
“I’ll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world”