As my partner plays his internet (Magic, The Gathering) game...and I blog...the day is slowly slipping into evening prematurely, like a young man beginning to gray around the temples. It is an unremarkable afternoon, a cool rainy July afternoon to be exact, and yet I am triggered for some reason.
I am triggered and I am missing my mom. She slipped into my conscious mind as I began to prepare blogging, and I am missing her. She was the last of my family to go, outliving her son, daughter and ex-husband. She left me behind as I was on the internet trying to book a flight to see her, feeling an urgency come over me from 1700 miles away at the exact time she made her decision to pass quietly into the shadowed realm.
I guess, like most, I always thought my mother would be there. Hell...I always thought my entire family would be there. I never had any knowledge that they would ALL disappear into the sunset, with me watching their departures one by one, as light faded into obscurity. Watching and alone, like the little girl I used to be, wanting to go with, wanting to be included just so she wouldn't be left behind. Watching and alone.
People have asked me questions about loss, like which death was the hardest? Was it harder losing someone after an extended illness, or suddenly with no warning? The question, when first posed to me, was like a punch to my gut. I know it wasn't meant to be like taken like that, but it was definitely a question that created thought where I had not wanted thought of any kind to reside. But the tough questions are sometimes the impetus to move us forward to a place of healing. I have thought about that question a lot, and the only answer that makes any sense to me is this; death sucks any way you look at it. Loss blows the big one, and there is no loss that is easier. It all takes away from you, from your life. It diminishes you, it drains you, it overwhelms you and brings you to your knees.
But having said all of that, there is still a way to combat the grief, to battle it and force its retreat back into the shadows from whence it came. It will never be gone forever, but you can create space where it is not welcome.
I take small sips of pain when I am overwhelmed. I taste the bitter wine of sadness, hold it in my mouth, and swallow it down until I can taste of its bitterness no more. Then, I put the small, crystal glass down and walk away. And I know that on occasion, I will once again taste of it's toxic bouquet, but only until I am done, then I will put it down again.
There is something in this life I have discovered that helps me to set the glass down. It helps me to walk away when I have had my fill. It is gratitude. Gratitude can help you put the glass down. It can help you battle your melancholy and cause a full retreat of the grief from your heart.
I am grateful for my ability to express my sadness when I need to pick up that bitter brew. I am grateful for the ones still in my life who give me strength, love, laughter and joy. I am grateful for the ability to take a chance on my heart again, to love like there is no tomorrow, and to believe, to hope, to relinquish.
On this day of grief, gratitude and games, my blog became something entirely different, and I am grateful for that as well. I miss my mom. I miss my brother, my sister and my father. And...I am grateful they graced my life with their presence, and left evidence of their existence, their love and their influence on my soul. I was blessed by them, and if what I hold sacred is true, then I will be blessed by them again in a future life.
Yes, on this cold July afternoon slipping toward the eternal evening, I am Kathryn...I am Kathryn, full of Grace.