Saturday, October 4, 2008

Making Time to Cry

This post began as an e-mail exchange with my friend Marc. I'm publishing it as is, in an attempt to make some sense about the sense of loss and bewilderment that has enveloped me since mama's death on September 15.
 
I confess that I've never known this kind of emotional loss and I don't feel like me. I go to work and I go through the motions of what I should do; I smile, I talk, I try to be "fine." When people ask how I am, I always say, "I'm doing okay. I'm fine." But I'm not. Everything seems so overwhelming. I come home and watch hours of mindless television. I rarely turn on my home computer; I tell myself that I'll catch up on things tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. All that I know to do is to keep moving forward one day at a time until I find my rhythm again. I realize that this loss is personal but it is also universal. I am not the first person to lose a mother and people do survive the loss; I just have to get back in sync with living again.
 
I try to be honest with people whom I consider friends. I don't pretend to my friends that I'm not devastated. I am not functioning as me. I feel helpless, lost, and so alone. I think that my reticence to acknowledge my grief is a fear that I will not be able to contain it. There's a line from an Iris Dement song, No Time to Cry , that sums it up,
"I'm walking, and I'm talking, doing what I'm supposed to do; working overtime to make sure I don't come unglued, cause I'm older now, and I've got no time to cry."
I believe that grieving is necessary and healthy but all I really want to do is take to my bed and wail for days. I'm just not certain that would be in my best interest, so I keep focusing on getting through each day while allowing myself to feel sorrow and hurt, but remaining functional. I have wailed a bit, but I've been able to calm myself and get back to the business of living because I want to be a part of life, not on the sidelines, wrapped in sorrow. It's a balancing act, but the alternative--a complete collapse--doesn't seem healthy or useful.
 
I do believe that this utter emptiness will ease with time. I know that there will always be a sense of loss but I also know on a purely intellectual level that people can live with loss. My heart just needs to catch up with my head. I also firmly believe that what mama would want is for me to go on and live well. We went through so much to find each other, to reach a place of mutual love, that I feel cheated somehow to lose her in the blink of an eye. I'm grieving, but I'm also angry at the universe. All of my senses are raw and everything hurts. It is an interesting and new set of emotions for me. I've been saddened by other deaths but I've never before felt such a void inside over anyone's death. I've lost other people that I love, other family members, but I don't think that I've ever fully understood sorrow before. I'm trying to see what I can learn from this state that I find myself in, see how I can fashion it into something that will make me a better person. I think that mama would approve of that and be happy for me.
 
I wanted to include a video performance of Iris Dement performing No Time to Cry , but the only thing that I could find is an abbreviated version that she did in a live performance. I have my mother to thank for my love of country music. When I was growing up, she used to listen to Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline. She also would sing along. I do that too. For the lyrics, just click on the song title.

Re: the closing of AOL
I began a parallel journal some time ago, same content as AOL at http://theexaminedlife-sheria.blogspot.com. I hope that you will join me there.


10 comments:

luvrte66 said...

{{giving you a big hug}}

I don't doubt that the suddenness of your Mom's passing is making this even harder to bear. I wish there were something that I could say to ease your sorrow, but you and I both know that only time will lessen the pain.

You are in my thoughts and my heart.

Beth

rbrown6172 said...

dear sheria....i wish i could ease your pain. you do have a healthy outlook and knowledge about your grief, and indeed, your heart will one day be in alignment with your head.  i know you will always miss her, but i hope someday soon that memories of her can bring you some joy and comfort.  you are in my thoughts and prayers.
hugs,
gina

makemarc said...

I think you could produce some very fine poetry about now.

sybilsybil45 said...

My Dear Friend, I can empathises with your every word. It is the very same feelings that I have on the death of Jacqueline, it will be 4 months tomorrow and still I feel so so raw inside.  I feel as if all the JOY has been taken from me..I was always one who lived for the future and would anticipate holidays etc with such excitmenet however I am off tomorrow to South Africa and I really wish so so much that I could just stay at home (my poor friened would be so upset f I did that)  anyway life must go on so it is onwards and upwords...smile fixed on our faces.  Take care my love.  Thanks for your blogspot I have added it to favs. so I will be able to keep in touch and I will be able to e mail you I havn't found a way to get into comments yet on blogspot. and so far I havn't opened a new journal I will wait and see how I feel when I come home on 26th. Oct.   Much Love for now  Sybil xx

cayasm said...

With each year that passes my pain eases, and so will yours, it does take time, but I learned to take all the time you need it's such a massive shock we all think our mums are going to be there forever, they always seem so indestructable, but they do come back to you in so many other ways. Beautiful song choice.

Take care

Yasmin
xx

PS. see you at blogspot.

rosie551 said...

Hello, I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my dear dad a year ago. This past year
I've been numb and I understand the feelings you write about. But you will feel better. Take one day at a time and give yourself time to grieve. It's taken me one year to get my life back on track. I miss my father so much, but I know he would want me to keep living until we meet again.

Take care,
Rose

pm71blackfen said...

Hello Sheria,
That is a lovely natural photo of your mum, I'm sure that's how you like to remember her... at home, doing normal things, so much better than a studio picture.  I remember when my mum died in 1988 and what you're experiencing now is what I felt then, you have put it into words so beautifully.  

I've never heard that Iris Dement song but one of hers you might want to hear now is 'After You're Gone'.  None of my four daughters like her voice (although two of them do like country music) and sometimes I play her music just to see their reaction!  I've told them that I want 'After You're Gone' played at my funeral, I know they'll respect my wishes even though they don't like her.

I do hope things get a little easier for you soon, time IS a great healer as they say but words like that are of no use to you at the moment, are they?  Love, Pat

gehi6 said...

I have just come and found that you lost your mother.  It seems like only yesterday you wrote an entry about her in which I got no inkling it would soon be time for her to go.  What I want my kids to do when I go and I know they wilil feel loss is turn to their aunts or others close in age to be mothered.  When my sister LaRae died at 51 leaving her daughters with a tremendous sense of loss we sisters tried to step up for them including fully supporting the family site her oldest daughter facililitated to fill the hole in her life.  I hope that I and some of your older women friends can help you fill the too large hole she has left in your life.  She sounded like a delightful person and somehow the loss of a positive force of a mother seems a lot harder for the kids to adjust to, but if my impression is right you have much to be thankful for in having had such a strong mother so long.  I felt the loss of my mother very acutely as a child as she became buried in her frustration with her marriage and her increasingly erratic attempts to find solace and never really developed as a mother.  Gerry   I have been unable to access your blogspot blog from this address but I will copy and paste and see if that works.  Gerry   http://gerry-daughters-of-the-shadow-men.blogspot.com  

The Urban Perspective said...

A very moving testament. Sorry for the loss of your mother.
I think you are beginning your healing process just by "talking"(bloggin)about the emotions you're going thru. Judging from the comments, you are not alone during this difficult time. I will keep you in my prayers as well
God Bless...

Cathy said...

Sheria, as someone whose bewilderment at losing her Mother, I believe it permits me to address this with you, let me say I discovered it's natural and expected to take to your bed and hide under the covers. We can't be "normal" no matter how well the mask is painted. Our smile becomes a rictus. I thought nothing could heal me, ever, and insisted on keeping that notion. Maybe when our psyche is in such pain it's more comfortable to feel it physically just to ensure ourselves we deserve this - because certainly, once Mother is no longer before our eyes, we're true orphans. Feeling untold pain at this loss is so visceral, so primal and basic, how can we do anything but collapse and let time work its miracle? Time and loving people. And of course, in many cases, writing it all down. The burden shared is the burden lessened and I thank you for letting us here share your burden. http://cathy-daretothink/blogspot.com/