Earlier this month I read this article on grief and loss, and it made me consider everything I’ve learned since Momcat died five years ago. Today would have been her 72nd birthday.
Here’s what I have learned in the five years since Momcat died:
- There are a million analogies for grief. All of them apply at one point or another.
- There comes a point where I feel people should just know that Momcat is gone. Even if I haven’t spoken to them in a long time, there should be something in my voice, in what I talk about that tells them she is gone. Magical thinking at its best.
- She continues to appear in dreams when I am most in need of guidance, whether I know it or not.
- There are days when I wake up not sure that she’s really dead. I didn’t see her body, so how do I really know? Having very vivid dreams in which I am with her compounds this feeling.
- I am easily annoyed by people who bitch and complain about their mothers. I want to yell at them to resolve their issues and get to know their mother as a person, because one day she will be gone.
- There is still so much I don’t know about Momcat, and every piece of paper I find with her writing on it becomes a clue. Old calendars, day planners, notebooks full of lists offer some insights, but not enough to satisfy my curious mind.
- There are days when my grief is just beneath my skin, that one small bump or scratch will make me bleed. Other days it is buried deep, a wisp of a seed in my belly. This year I’m aware that my grief manifests itself in overreactions to mildly stressful situations. I resent this sneaky subversion.
- In moments when things are going really well, I find myself annoyed that I can’t call to tell her my good news and hear her be excited for me, that all I can do is talk to her photo and imagine her response, dig into my memory and hear her voice say, “Hey, that’s great.”
- I believe there’s an alternate universe in which the events leading up to her death play out every year, and if I could just cross over, I could ask the questions I never got to ask, and tell her once again that I love her.