8/18/2014

Stages

I hesitated to put my thoughts & feelings down in this post because I know there are plenty of you who have lost a parent (or both of them).  I don't mean to sound like I'm the only person that has been through this.  But then I decided that I needed to write this...for me.
Some of us went to Mama's grave yesterday since it had been 1 month since she died.  In some ways it seems like it was yesterday, and in some ways it seems like it happened forever ago.  The grave marker is now in place, and it is absolutely beautiful.  It is a joint marker for both of my parents; it has dogwood flowers in the bottom corners.  It had to be very sobering for my father to see his name on the marker.  
I didn't think it would feel like this.  I guess I didn't know how it would feel to have that hole in my heart.  I never imagined I would cry when someone told me I look like Mama.  
We all know the 5 stages of grief.  The denial (Stage 1) is still there at times.  I just can't believe Mama is gone.  I can't believe I won't be able to call her up and ask her questions that come up, like the priests' names that were at our parish a few years ago.  She's the first person I think of to ask about things like that.  And then, I remember that I can't.  And so I accept it (Stage 5).  
Stage 2:  Anger.  How can I be angry?  My mother lived a full life:  she & Daddy raised 10 healthy, well adjusted children.  She was able to see most of her grandsons grow into handsome men & her granddaughter grow into a very beautiful, poised young woman.  She even had the joy of seeing a few great-grandchildren.  They got to do some traveling...just the 2 of them.  She left this earth the way she wanted:  quickly, before Daddy, and before her mind was too far gone.  I am so thankful that we didn't have to go through Mama not knowing who we are when we saw her, like some friends and cousins did.  God really spared us and was extremely merciful in that aspect.  As I look back over the past few years, I realize that He actually prepared us for her leaving us:  Daddy had taken over the cooking and cleaning, and we (the kids) had learned not to depend on her quite so much.  We didn't want her worrying, so there were a lot of things we kept from her.  Angry?  Not at all.  And I can't imagine myself going through that stage, either.  Mama isn't worrying, and she isn't hurting any more.  For that, I'm extremely thankful.
Stage 3:  Bargaining.  There's no reason to bargain, for the same reasons I stated about anger.
Stage 4:  Depression.  Mama would kick my butt if I got depressed about her passing away.  There's no doubt that she's in heaven.  Do you remember the song Last Kiss by Pearl Jam? There's a line in it that says, "She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good  So I can see my baby when I leave this world."  That line has been going through my mind since her passing. 
 Stage 5:  Acceptance.  I think I accepted it from the day she passed away.  I know she was tired; she told that to me and at least 1 sister.  She was tired of her back and hip hurting all of the time.  She was tired of being anxious and worrying.  It's hard not to accept it.  It is what it is; we all knew that day would come.  We have no choice but to accept it and take what Mama taught us and live our lives.
During their trip to Australia to visit one of Mama's cousins, she  had the opportunity to visit a school.  She ran across this; it left such an impression that she requested that it be read at her Funeral Mass:
Death is nothing at all.  I have only slipped away into the next room.  Whatever we were to each that we are still.  Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.  Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.   Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.  Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be the household word that it always was.  Let it be spoken without effort.  Without the trace of a shadow on it.  Life means all that it ever meant.  It is the same as it ever was.  There is absolutely unbroken continuity.  Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight.  I am but waiting for you for an interval somewhere very near - just around the corner.  All is well.  Nothing is past, all will be as it was before - only better infinitely happier and forever.  We will all be one together with Christ. 
(After googling it, I found that the author is Henry Scott Holland.  The phrases in pink are from the original.)
I can hear Mama saying "Life goes on".  And so it does.

15 comments:

  1. I'm glad you wrote that and hope it helps give you peace.

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  2. What a beautiful post and it hit home, I still miss my momma and at times want to pick up the phone and call her!

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  3. Bless your heart, Mary, for sharing your heart and your grief so openly with us. I understand all too well.

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  4. (((Mary))) I love that quote about death; it is so true, isn't it? You summed up a lot of feelings about those of us that have lost a parent, especially a parent in their older years. Life does go on indeed, it just goes on a little differently.

    betty

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  5. Praying for you and your family at this time. I love that quote and it's just what I needed today; I have an aunt who is dying of cancer and probably won't live through the week. It's such a great reminder that death is not the end, it's just for now.

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  6. I'm glad you posted your thoughts... so many people go through the grieving process the exact time you are... we all will / have gone through it at once time - its always good to know you're not alone.
    Your momma sounds like an amazing women who reassured you over & over on where she was headed - I love that.

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  7. I guess I'm behind, because I had no idea your mom had passed away. I'm so sorry for your loss!
    Your post is heart-felt and beautiful, and I can certainly sympathize with what you are going through. It's tough getting used to life without them :(

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  8. I think it's good for you to write out your feelings and thoughts! And you never know, you might just be helping someone else who is going through the same thing.
    I have always loved that quote. In fact years ago after I lost my best friend I planned my funeral and included that in what I would like read at that time.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this. My mom has been gone 6 months now and I still have a hard time. The connection between a mom and daughter is so strong. Sending you hugs as you work through this process

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  10. A loving tribute to your mom, and thank you for sharing with us. Yes, I have been there, but we each experience the loss in our own way. I lost my mom in 1995, and it still seems like yesterday at times. Love and hugs sent to you.

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  11. The heart feels what it feels, which sometimes isn't logical, but grief is a complicated thing. I'm not sure we ever don't need our mamas. It helps to know you'll be reunited with her one day. Hugs!

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  12. Excellent post. I am going to save this one in my Feedly tags. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. ((HUGS))

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  13. So beautiful, Mary. I've been thinking of you. Often. Your entire family. Grief hits everyone differently. Peace be with you, Mary!

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  14. My heart hurts for you. I remember how I felt when I lost my dad in 2009, my second mom in 2010, and my mom and two best friends in 2011. I felt many of the same things you are feeling right now. I can tell you...it does get easier. I still have days when I feel like I can't breathe from missing them so much. Keeping you in my prayers my friend. I am here if you need to sound off.

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