You can’t compare the grief of two people. You can’t measure sorrow. The list of ways it could be worse is endless. There is war and famine, there are parents holding dying children as I type this digital missive and others alone, lost in a world without love. These are the tragedies that flood my thoughts when I suddenly realize that I’ve spent the whole day with a catch in my throat. All day with eyes aching to unleash tears because, for some reason or other, this day of all days, I can’t shake the sadness of missing my mom.
My mind seems to jump to this parade of horribles in an effort to put my feelings in check–as if to ask, “how dare you be sad when there are so many others who are really sad right now?” It never helps. It only loosens the levee.
I lost my mom a few years ago. Her absence is palpable and touches virtually every aspect of my life–though none more than my experience as a parent. She was here for the first couple years of my oldest daughter’s life. She saw two more granddaughters arrive after that, then left us as those girls were about to turn 1. She imparted tremendous parenting wisdom to my sister and me in those short years she was here as a grandparent, and even more in the years before. But it wasn’t enough. The parenting questions I still have to ask and mommy confessions I have to make…to her, only her, are innumerable.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got plenty of people in my parenting village. People who love me and my kids and whose advice and help I rely upon. It does, in fact, take a village and my village rocks…it’s just that sometimes it feels like I’ve got a DJ and not the live band at this party. [No offense to DJs.] I can listen to the records and maybe even dance to the covers played by other talented musicians, but my favorite, original artist is gone.
I’m sorry to be a downer. I’m afraid I just don’t have a quippy, feel good conclusion to this post in me. There’s only a rankled refrain on my soundtrack today: Being a mom without a mom sucks.
[I’ll be right back. I need some ice cream…]
[Ok. I’m back.]
Yes, I know it could be worse. But I don’t have to measure my sorrow to give myself permission to feel it. She told me this once a long time ago.
For those of you reading this, and thinking that your grief, your situation, is worse. You are absolutely right–because it is yours. Go ahead, cry about it. I’ll cry with you. And then we can count the reasons we have to be happy together. Those are the things worth measuring.
[This mint-chip coated conclusion is brought to you by Häagen-Dazs…and my mommy’s wisdom.]