What I'm learning is that grief has not immobilized me. For the first week or two, it did. Totally and completely.
I don't remember much. Looking back, everything seems blurred - distorted - almost dreamlike.
There came what I could best describe as a finality when we finished clearing out my mother's apartment. We had 5 days to get that done. An entire apartment, an entire space of one person's belongings to pack up for donation / keepsake / trash. That was tough but at the same time, it brought me some personal closure.
I remember the morning I woke up after my mom's apartment was cleared out. It was July 1st, a Sunday. As I stirred awake from my sleep, I opened my eyes and saw the sun glowing through the sheer white curtains.
I could have laid there all day because I was tired. My body was beyond exhausted mentally & physically. Zak had set the coffee to drip at 6:30 and I could smell it's intensity all the way in my bedroom. I wanted some of that sweet stuff so, I got up. I shuffled into the kitchen, poured myself a mug, and drank it standing at the window, looking at the forest behind my house.
That wasn't so bad, I thought. Getting up, walking to the kitchen, drinking a hot cup of joe - it wasn't as hard as I expected it to be.
That Sunday was when I felt the finality of her passing. That my mother is no longer physically here, that there is no space we can call 'my mother's house', that all we have that remains are photos and our memories.
The shock of her passing has worn away just a little and the actual acceptance of her death is slowly settling in. Day cycles and night cycles keep turning, and I stand here in the midst of life going on with a new truth: my mother is gone.
After moving slowly through that Sunday, I went to bed wondering how I could honor mom's journey, our relationship, our time together - while grieving her passing - but still live, honor, and go on with my own life?
I'll tell you something: my mother's final resting place is in a mausoleum. When we entered the building to say our final goodbye's, there was a butterfly fluttering around her casket.
When I was boxing up her apartment, I stepped out onto her balcony for fresh air, and a butterfly flew right by me.
Sitting out on the front lawn of her building, a butterfly came and landed right next to me.
Last weekend, I went to the beach with my friend who I shared the butterfly sightings with. After we set up our chairs & umbrella, a butterfly landed right by our feet and stayed there for a full minute.
My mother was a spiritual woman. I feel like she wants me to know that she's happy where she is - free as a butterfly - more peaceful and pain free than ever before.
And I know that she would want for me to live my best life even while I'm grieving for her.
I knew by the end of that Sunday that I would get through this ok. That there is no right or wrong way to mourn or to live. I can only do what feels right - and for me, right now, I choose to sit with both extremes. I'm letting the sadness be there while I live the best life I possibly can.
Both the sadness and the joy I experience daily are intense, but I need to feel it all.
I have changed in ways I never expected by her passing. I know I am deeply loved. I know that life is fleeting and I want to l.i.v.e. mine as deeply and as meaningfully as I can.