It was the 2nd anniversary of my mom’s passing a few days ago, and this has coincided with me finishing up a book on grief called The Orphaned Adult by Alexander Levy. Because of what I learned in this book, I experienced this specifically heightened period of mourning in a different light.
When I lost my mom, I was at a pivotal point in my life. Just graduating from university and starting my life as an adult. This time brings a natural transition in life filled with inevitable change and a need for support. To lose that support so abruptly has been traumatic, to say the least.
But more so, it has been an interesting period of self growth and development for me. When you lose a parent as an adult it feels like you are caught in the rain without an umbrella. Because life goes on. Bills need to be paid, errands need to be run, jobs need to be resumed. If we just stop for too long, we won’t survive.
Losing a parent as an adolescent, I can only imagine is an entirely different and devastating experience, and I am by no means comparing the two, but as an adult, eventually you need to get out bed, get dressed, go to work and try to function, when all you really want to do is break down. As a child, you have that support. As an adult, it’s not quite the same.
It almost feels like the world is not designed for us to grieve. Almost as if we are expected as adults, to be more equipped to deal with it.
Something else that has happened during this time, is I began trying to achieve, a lot. A lot of things in a short amount of time. It’s like I was living on fast forward, trying to be as efficient as possible. Starting this blog, getting a writing diploma, doing a teaching course, speeding through books, learning new recipes. It was almost frantic.
Whether this was a coping mechanism to distract myself, I don’t know. But the reason, I now believe, is because when you lose the one constant in your life you are crudely reminded that life is finite. We do eventually die.
There were so many things my mom wanted to achieve that she didn’t, and I developed a real fear that this was going to be me, too. That my life would zoom past and I would end up regretting all the things I didn’t achieve and didn’t do, the way my mom did.
But while I was hustling my way through task after task after task, I wasn’t stopping to appreciate any of it. I didn’t value any of it and I didn’t allow myself to feel proud or grateful (a lot of that has to do with my low self esteem, but that is another topic altogether).
This is because all of it has been driven by fear. Very little of it was driven by genuine interest and passion. I was speeding through so many things because I wanted to do as much as I could do while I still can. But none of what I was doing really mattered, or brought me any joy, so what was the point of it anyway?
I have no doubt that there are still plenty of layers to grief that I am still to discover. That scares the hell out of me, but at the same time, I do look forward to learning and growing past this point. I have discovered more about myself in the past two years than I ever imagined, and I guess death does that to you. It bestows, in the most brutal of ways, a deeper level of consciousness and brings to light what truly matters in this world. With that, comes a lot of wisdom. A lot of pain and confusion, but a lot of depth, too.
One thing I know for sure though, is that I will make sure to bring honour to my mom, in whatever I find myself doing with my life.