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red broken heart

“How are you?”

I have been asked that question seemingly hundreds of times in the last month. Part of me wants to reply “ok, except my mother is dead.” That is alarming and disrespectful, to the one asking and especially to my mother. For that, I apologize. Consider this the full reply that time and manners, whether flip or insecure, do not allow me to say.

My reactions are not the same as everyone else around me or in the world. So, I will only speak about my feelings. If you understand them, or share them, let me know and we can be our own support group. If you don’t understand, or just like to read the posts for clues about my nature, this is simply a shard.


Only a little piece of me, sharp glass edges, gets to mourn when I am alone. There is a fragility and hypersensitivity. Each piece of music, reminder of something I bought when Mom was ill, or photographs of her, looking beautiful and happy, as she truly was, bring tears.

She was truly full of faith and belief of the good in her life, both here and to come. I do envy that ability to completely trust, to remove the burden of questions from your soul, leave the baggage behind, and simply prepare for the journey. Mom was ready to go and not afraid. She was hopefully not in pain. Rationally, I understand all the clichés and limited words we have for someone who has passed. But, emotionally, all I know is that she is not here. My Mom is gone and I still cannot fully process the enormity of it. I saw the dirt and the pine box, but Mom was too big to contain in such small measured spaces.

Each discordant sound or aggressive remark feels like a deep scratch against the shards of glass that remains. Pieces of me move through my daily life, but I cannot make them all whole right now. I do what I have to do, but I don’t have the energy to do more. I certainly don’t have the energy to pretend that I am all done grieving. The strength everyone offers is to keep going, getting up each day and fulfilling my roles at work and the outside of my life. I do that, but some days, or only some moments, better than others.

Inside, sounds burst louder, smells overpower delicate senses, sights and colors are brighter or harsher to the eyes full of tears. Like after a surgery, a piece has been cut away and the healing needs to begin because everything is raw inside.

It has been exactly 30 days. It feels like my mother has been gone so long and then I realize that it is still new, part of the new reality. I cannot call it “the new normal” as others have said, because while these feelings are normal, I hope my normal will get better and stronger. I hope that my new normal will allow me to laugh and smile and be a better person like she raised me. It is, just like Heaven, not necessarily on my timetable.

Why write this here? Because I have to express it somewhere and cannot repeat it often, or if ever. This is my legacy in words, as Mom taught us, and aspired to always.

Thank you to those who keep asking and checking in with me, your kindness really means a lot to me, more than it may seem.

If you want to comfort, then I thank you in advance. If this is too real to read, then please don’t do something that you are unable to do. If you would hold these feelings against me, or manipulate me, at this time, then I think the One true judge will have to decide how to respond to you. I have to give certain tasks to Him. This is still too much to all take in.

My mother is not lost to me. She was not misplaced or cannot find her way home. She is Home, with her loved ones, and I hope she can find us and that I am not misplaced in her affections. She knows just where she is. My mother is strong, compassionate, opinionated, and loves her children and grandchildren unconditionally. She still is; I am the one who has to work on it.

my quirky sense of humor is not gone, it is just temporarily in hiding



  1. Like every other life cycle, loss is a process. I was a hospice nurse; I sat beside many, many wonderful people as they crossed from this place to the next. As a young woman, 23, I was involved in a terrible car wreck and clinically died. As frightening as you imagine it might be, it isn’t. My life took a different direction afterwards. I became a nurse and all those great people I sat with as they went through illness and subsequent death enriched my life. Three years ago, I lost my first love, my husband and friend of 37 years. When Bill got sick we had already divorced but the children and I were with him the days before and when he died. He lived the last 2 years with our youngest daughter so we all stayed close. It took two years to get through a day w/o crying over one thing or another. Just as I began to find balance, my father died. Losing Daddy was especially difficult. I’m one year into my grief.. Still crying a bit every day, sometimes with good memories, some times in response to this hole in my heart. I know death. I’m not afraid or intimidated by it, but death still wounds me. Time. What a cliche. It works though. So so sorry for your loss, my friend.

  2. Now I understand why you are so special, sensitive and intuitive.
    This is a long conversation but I won’t do it here. Through everything that you have been through, I am so impressed with your heart and spirit.

  3. Thank you for being the first to read my posts and such a source of insight in your comments.

  4. “Like after a surgery, a piece has been cut away and the healing needs to begin because everything is raw inside.” What a perfect way to say it. When you lose someone you love, a part of you goes with them, and some of mourning is grief over that part of you — that wonderful piece of your life — that’s gone. Your mother can see the whole story fro beginning to end, and maybe can appreciate the beauty and meaning of it, but for us, stuck in the moment, it’s harder. Keep writing. Your gift with words gives you a path to healing.

    • Thank you Adina for your lovely compliment. I hope that there is healing. Some members in my family don’t understand why I need to write; I know that you understand as a member of your family, and ours, why we continue to do so.

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