Monday, April 9, 2012

The Mourner's Path

Most of you know me in real life. Most of you know that on March 12, I lost my mom.

I have wondered when I would venture back here. How I would make the turn here from life with Mom to life without Mom. Today I am making myself write. I am making myself do almost everything these days. The last months have marked the hardest and deepest struggle of my entire life. It has been devastating to watch the person with the most profound impact on my life, come to the end of their own. Since the time of my conception, I have never been separated from my Mom until now.

Like most things that make me incredibly uncomfortable, there is no prescribed way to walk this out. And, oh, how I want there to be. Please, someone, anyone, just point me in the right direction and give me a shove. I feel like I am crawling through a weird fog, but there is no real destination I have in mind. I have tried to "keep busy" and "keep going", but it has resulted in a completely empty tank. I have PLENTY to keep me busy. And I have employed all of my go-to coping mechanisms, but like always, they wind up depleting me rather than giving me what I'm hoping to find.

And depletion shows up. And it is not pretty.

The curate at my church (the woman to whom the pastor is married. She is SO much more than just a "pastor's wife", like all of them are...) lost her mom to cancer, too. And she wrote a book about it. A couple of Sundays ago we connected and her enthusiastic embrace was one that said, "I know." It was the most relaxed five minutes I've had in a long time. Then she handed me a copy of her book. She told me it might be too soon. I knew it was just in time. I devoured the pages of the book, nodding my head, finally putting words to all the things I have experienced and felt. "Yes. That" I would say out loud over and over again. One of the things she touched upon was the idea of grief vs. mourning. I have heard a lot about, yay even had a class on, grief. But you don't hear an awful lot on mourning these days. I decided to do some reading on the subject.

By miracle of the interwebs, I came across a man named Dr. Alan Wolfelt. Here is his breakdown of the two:
*grief: the internal thoughts and feelings we all experience when someone we love dies
*mourning: taking the internal experience of grief and expressing it.
He asserts that true healing comes not through grief, rather through mourning. Through real mourning we are able to eventually integrate our loss into the fabric of our lives. (I'm pretty sure he means your life's tapestry, not cotton...) And then he said this:

The experience of mourning can feel piecemeal-a cry here, a burst of anger there, a deep sadness today, a crush of guilt tomorrow. You might feel a sense of disorientation from the scattered and ever-changing nature of your grief.

Yes. That.

So, I'm making it my goal to show up to each day with intention. To seek the Living Water to refresh my dried up and hardened heart. To do my best to take care of me when there are so many needs around me. Including my spirited five year old who is trying to find his own way through grief.

When Kim's (aka woman the pastor is married to) father was asked how he was doing after he lost his wife, he responded, "I'm mourning". Let me be brave enough to admit the same.


Lana said...

Love you

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing this, Kel. Praying for courage for you to mourn intentionally. I love you deeply. Praying you get opportunities to write out your heart with each day.