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Life After death

On March 20, 2021, the trajectory of my life inexplicably changed courses. Everything I knew had now been altered. The passing of my dear, sweet mother left a hole in my heart large enough to swallow the universe and still have room for seconds. She was supposed to see me on the New York Times bestsellers list, meet the love of my life at the altar, give her grandchildren, among a host of other things. But that reality will never be.

I was always considered to be the “strong” one. I had taught myself how to suppress or ignore whatever unfavorable feeling I was experiencing. I just kept myself busy. Until one day, it all came crashing down. I could no longer control the anger, the tears, the guilt of wondering if there was more than I could have done, and ultimately, the feeling that God had abandoned me. I knew that suffering for my ailing mother had finally ended, but what I didn’t know was that suffering for me had only just begun.

I thought I was doing everything right, but I still couldn’t shake Grief. She had become an unwelcome visitor in my life and no matter how much I ignored her; she wouldn’t leave. When I awoke, she was there. On the drive to work, she was there. When I walked through my front door, she was already there. She was patient but persistent. You see, she was the big sister, and she wouldn’t introduce me to her younger sister, Healed until I dealt with her first!

I thought I did everything right. I was praying, journaling, making hair and nail appointments, shopping, having lunch with the girls, and yet, I was still hurting. I was still broken. I thought doing all those things was self-care, and in a sense, it was. But I had to learn that Grief has no set time and looks totally different for me than the Grief my siblings or friends would see. So, my idea of self-care will indisputably look different. I began to realize that self-care can sometimes look like not answering calls or posting on social media. Self-care can look like sitting on your couch in total silence, only listening to your thoughts. And other times, self-care was having a good, long cry in the shower.

I wish I could say that now Healed and I are the best of friends and Grief has made her grand exit, but that’s not true. Unfortunately, Grief can see past the lashes and nails. Grief can still see your brokenness. Thankfully, however, I can say that “Healed” is now in view and that Grief and I have learned to compromise. I wish I knew exactly what life after the death of my mother will look like in the months and years to come but I don’t. I do know that in the meantime, I still have a lot of living left to do.

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