Eeyore

About two months after my mom passed, someone told me the grief gets harder after the first year. “How?” I thought, “How could this get worse?” There was a twinge whenever I would think of my mom and I would repeat in my head the visual memories: her hospice bed, her last breath, holding her hand. Seriously, how could it get worse?

But, after ten years since my mom’s cancer diagnosis and more than one and a half years since she’s passed, it has. I used to laugh until I cried with my mom, but now it’s just crying sans laughter. I can’t remember the last time I felt truly content. Even in the happy moments, big exciting life moments, there’s a voice in my head: “I wish I could tell mom.” And I detest how that consumes the good things. And it feels like so many people have moved on, still carrying my mom’s memory, but the pain isn’t as raw for them.

For me, it’s never been as fierce. My heart hurts. My memories hurt. And so few people understand this.

Recently, I reread the eulogy I gave at my mom’s funeral and I read through all the Facebook messages and comments people had left for my family. At the time, that eulogy was for everyone else. The funeral was about putting one foot in front of the other, and, for me, there was no time to process. I kept going without a chance to breathe. At first, I just bounced along because that’s what I expected from myself. Now that I’ve had the time to feel grief to the extent I have, I feel like I hit a wall of pain and grief and now every new step, someone is missing. And I feel it.

My mom had opened up to me about days when she would cry on the bathroom floor. I just don’t know how she still could light up a room with everything she was going through. I am dealing with a fraction of what she did and yet I feel like Eeyore when I want to be Tigger.  

But, its ok because when you’re world has been shaken to its core, there’s no roadmap and you get to feel all the feelings at your own pace. Because we all have $#!t to deal with.

In the eulogy, I said:

“She taught us how to face the biggest challenges of our lives with grace, dignity, humor, and love. She taught us how to find the silver linings in the most horrific things that can happen to us. She taught us to be open and honest with one another, to not make illness and death taboo, and to absolutely not sugarcoat. Her laugh, her smile, the sparkle in those bright green eyes, she showed us how to live.”

So Mom, not a day goes by that I don’t feel the emptiness of you not being here. Not a day goes by that you don’t come to mind. Not a day goes by that I wish I could talk to you. I know there’s going to be immense challenges ahead of me, not just this one, but I will face them with grace, dignity, humor, and love. I’m still searching for a silver lining. I’m learning to be honest with this emptiness I feel and I hear your laugh and I see your smile and I can still feel myself holding your hand. I’m Susan Rosen’s daughter and I’m going to pick myself up because that’s how you raised me.

10 thoughts on “Eeyore

  1. God bless and remember I have no doubt your mom would want you to live life to the fullest…I am stage 4 breast cancer…its what I tell my grand children and show them. Hugs, Joy M

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  2. Good morning Michaela
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My Honey and I think of you , Max, Mark and Mom quite often.
    We’re so very proud of you as you walk thru these crazy feelings.
    The happy memories do return, sadness has its place but can not overshadow the love for Mom.
    MeepMeep

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  3. Michaela, this is beautifully written and so much of what you said is exactly how I feel. My Mom passed from cancer in 2012, just weeks after Jess’s Bat Mitzvah. She so wanted to be with us on Jess’s day but couldn’t. As happy and proud as I was, someone was already missing. I still have my Mom’s phone number in my phone. I still talk to her at times. I still want to pick up the phone and call her or wonder what she would say or feel at certain times. She’s still missing on the good days and I still need her on the bad days. It’s a testament to the woman she was and the love we shared. Your Mom will forever be a part of you and you a part of Susan. The love will never diminish but, in time, you’ll be able to smile easier when you think of her and even laugh easier at the good memories. She loved you, Max and your Dad with every ounce of her being. Embrace it as you have and hold tight. I believe she’s with you every step you take in life.

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  4. Awe that was beautiful and heartfelt, remember your mom’s body is no longer with you but her spirit is always by your side when needed with her hand on your shoulder

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  5. Michaela be tender with yourself and your heart. Grief is such a hard long process. Your mom was one amazing woman she has left a hole in this world and our hearts. 💗

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  6. My mother passed in 2001. Lung cancer took her very swiftly from us, in less than 3 months I still miss her. I miss her during the good times and the bad times when you just want to talk to your mom. She passed in June and when the 2nd plane hit the tower on September 11th, I actually picked up the phone to call her. Time will not erase the pain, but it also does not erase the memories. It does get easier in time. But there are still days even after 19 years I cry because I miss her. I still talk to her and having shared so much with her, being best friends I do know what she would think or say about certain situations so she “talk back” to me too. Sometimes I even chuckle as I know how she would respond. It is OK to feel sad. It is also OK to think of her and laugh. I believe she would have wanted that. Your mom was a remarkable person, as you know. She touched so many and I was fortunate to have her as my “breast cancer mentor”. I read this blog and admired her strength, honestness and openness. I am wishing you peace and strength.

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  7. It was wonderful hearing from you.
    I like the words from Becky ,to be tender with your heart and your grief. These are trying times but please remember to find some joy in everyday.
    Sending your hugs and prayers!

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