Most people enjoy April 1 because of April Fool’s Day. I used to think it was at cool day because it was my Gramma’s birthday. Now, it’s not a day about jokes or celebrations; it’s a day of grief.
You see, three years ago, my mom fell in my garage and fractured her skull. By the end of the day, she was no longer responsive. The second CT scan several hours after the first showed the brain bleed had not stopped. Mom had a health directive. She made it clear she did not want to live in a diminished capacity, so I invoked her directive. The hospital staff thought she’d die during the night, but she didn’t. She hung on for 5 more days. I swear it’s because one grandchild has a birthday on April 2nd, and another on April 4th, and there was no way she’d die on, or between, their birthdays. She waited and died the morning of April 6th.
For me, April 1 is a harder date than the 6th. I lost my mom on the 1st. It was the last day she spoke. The last day she looked at me. The last day she was truly with us. I was with her the morning she died. I watched, and heard, her last breath.
That first year, I likened grief to the waves of the ocean. Sometimes, the waves were small and lapped at the shores of my mind. The waves would increase in intensity until they’d crashed against me and I’d be reduced to body-shaking sobs. There were times I swear I was losing my mind with grief. I never understood its power until I lost Mom.
The waves have become calmer over the years. I think of Mom often. She’s been visiting in my dreams and leaving me dimes. Yesterday, however, I experienced a tsunami. I cried all day. Sometimes, it was subtle. My eyes leaked. Other times, I had gut-wrenching sobs. I really missed my mom.
Why does grief make people feel so uncomfortable? Friends sent virtual hugs. My partner rationalized why I was feeling so low. My son gave me a hug. No one offered to simply sit with me in grief, to simply be.
I felt very alone. I felt overwhelmed. I felt that no one understood just how raw it was for me again. I sat with it myself. I didn’t try to “jolly” myself out of it. I felt the feels.
I guess the Irish saying is true. Yesterday, sadness was on me for awhile. Today, it’s gratitude. I’m thankful for the years I had with Mom and know that she will always be part of me.