Grief – an unfortunate part of life…

Grief. There’s nothing good about it, Charlie Brown. Death is a sad (heartbreaking) but true aspect of life. With life comes loss. With happiness comes sadness. Blah, blah, blah. Those Zen philosophical mantras aren’t comforting during the grieving process. It’s easier to say these things than to go through the experience. Words are just words, aren’t they? We all know that death is a part of life, yet when that moment happens, when the person we love passes, we find it’s pretty darn hard to cope. (Ask me how many times I’ve broken down into tears). We all cope differently. There’s those five stages everyone talks about, but things just don’t happen in life that way. Nope. I know I didn’t follow the rulebook on those stages. Matter of fact, I think I went from denial straight to anger then to bargaining, and then the ultimate sadness kicked in. It hit me: she was gone and wasn’t ever coming back.

My mom passed away this summer. It was sudden and unexpected. One hour I was talking to her on the phone, a few hours later she was gone. I’ve had some tell me, “At least she wasn’t suffering.” As if her dying suddenly is supposed to be easier to deal with than if she had battled a long-term illness. It’s not, by the way, so if you know someone who loses a loved one, try not tell say that to them because grief is grief. It all hurts the same no matter how the person passed away. Cliche’d sayings don’t offer much comfort. I know people are at a loss of the right words – because there just aren’t any, but saying things like, “She’s in a better place,” really stings. I don’t fault the people who said this to me or said things like, “I thought it was going to be your dad.” But I do hope that they’ll think before they speak the next time they know someone who loses a loved one. Telling a daughter that they thought her father was going to be the one to go first isn’t tactful when her mother just passed. Thoughts like these shouldn’t be uttered. We shouldn’t say everything we think all of the time, right? When you have a friend or loved one who is grieving, tell them a story or tidbit about the person they lost. Bring them a cup of tea. Cook a meal or order out. Give them stamps or thank you cards. Mail them a sympathy card. Call them. Give them a hug. These acts will mean more than you know. So many of these acts were bestowed upon my family during our trying time, and I can’t express how much they meant to us. How they gave us a moment of light when it was dark.

Mom was an amazing woman. I always told her she was a book character, and I’ve based many of my strong female characters on aspects of her personality. She was one of the few people in my life who listened to me like I was the most important person in the world. She loved with all of her being. She was proud of her children. She was clever and smart. She loved being a mom and a grandmother. She loved her husband so, so much. She gave her opinion freely. She was stubborn and strong. She was empathetic and thoughtful. She sang poorly but had a beautiful laugh. She had a way with words and was loved by all who knew her.

I could go on about my mom… about the good times we had, about how she shaped who I am. How she taught me independence and love. That she taught me to be thoughtful and to stand up for myself. I could tell you that she cared so much. That she gave her heart and soul to her family. I could tell you more, but I would never stop because there is so much to say. So many good things to say. Sure she wasn’t perfect, but guess what? I’m not either. We all have our flaws, and it’s so nice remembering nothing but the goodness in her. I can’t wait to create more characters with aspects of her -so she can shine in future books.  She is a supernova. A beacon of light. A star who will continue to shine.