Monday, August 1, 2011

Reflections on Grief: 6 months later

Today marks 6 months ago that my Mom passed away. I wish I could say that the peaceful feeling has completely remained with me. I do not doubt that she is in a better place. I do not doubt our Heavenly Fathers will for her to be taken from us so early with how many people were touched and changed by her story. Her story created beauty from tragedy. The hard part for me is just getting use to the day to day life without my Mom. A Mother love is like a security blanket that can not be replaced.

Everyone told me to expect the first year to be hard and it is! I still find myself going to call her and the "firsts" often leave me feeling sad and alone. Her first birthday, the first Mothers day without her, my first sinus infection without her to consult with....

Its ironic that it seems I dealt better when she was sick and since then have fallen apart, while I see the opposite in my Dad and brothers. I feel like they struggled more to deal with her illness and have had an easier time moving on. In all fairness I think they might have a different perspective on that because I think they might define "dealing" differently than I would as a woman.

I don't want this to sound all melancholy and depressing but I also don't want to sugar coat and pretend that everything has moved on smoothly either. It certainly hasn't helped that I have been sick for months! Each day I try hard to look at the positive and live it in a way that would make my Mom proud. Each day I become more and more aware of how brave my Mom was not only in her illness but also as a Mother and woman.

One of the best things that has happened in the last 6 months is that I have simplified my life. I realized those months in CA how much we have lost the joy of the basics in life. The satisfaction that comes from homemaking is being lost in the hurriedness of our modern life. Even though I know slowing down is the right thing its hard not to feel like I am lazy or selfish to move at a slower pace. In our Church's General Conference this last October there was an amazing talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf I have read over and over for reassurance and I want to share an excerpt from it:

It’s remarkable how much we can learn about life by studying nature. For example, scientists can look at the rings of trees and make educated guesses about climate and growing conditions hundreds and even thousands of years ago. One of the things we learn from studying the growth of trees is that during seasons when conditions are ideal, trees grow at a normal rate. However, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival.

At this point some of you may be thinking, “That’s all very fine and good, but what does it have to do with flying an airplane?” Well, let me tell you.

Have you ever been in an airplane and experienced turbulence? The most common cause of turbulence is a sudden change in air movement causing the aircraft to pitch, yaw, and roll. While planes are built to withstand far greater turbulence than anything you would encounter on a regular flight, it still may be disconcerting to passengers.

What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.
(You can read the full talk here)

That is what I am trying to do. Focus on the essentials.

My life has never been as simple and focused as it was those months my Mom was sick and it filled me with wonder and joy at the power of love. I want my home to be a place where love is felt daily and not so full of activities and commitments that we don't have time to enjoy our life and enjoy each other.

The last 6 months have not been easy. It still is not easy.
I am still trying and have faith that time will help.


Sarie said...

Great advice by Elder Uchtdorf! Good to hear from you Lisa. I'm sorry you've been sick. Love you much. xoxo

jakenapril said...

Love that talk from Elder Uchtdorf. One day at a time, Lis. Hope you are feeling better these days. Hugs.