The First Thirty Days

Today is August 28, 2012. Exactly thirty days have passed along with my mother. The last of the thank you notes beg for stamps on the dining room table. Four green garbage bags revealing nothing, but containing the cozy clothes mom wore everyday sit quietly by the front door. On her bed, thirty special items such as nighties, the embroidered cloth from her straw hat, and brightly colored favorite shirts destined to be made into a memory quilt over the winter by an extraordinary woman in upstate New York, await packing and shipping.

There is not one space in the house that does not speak volumes about the absence of both mom and Molly. Even in the garage, Molly’s severe weather coat, kennel, and Mom’s many assistive devices of all description huddle together anticipating their fate.

It is more than avoidance of a to-do list. It has nothing to do with attachment to things, laziness, or a lack of time.

 

Before the physical evidence of 91 plus 16 years is cast to the four directions, a pause for reflection is required.

While this may be my new normal – and with it comes a sense of wonder about what lies ahead, it is far from easy. I recognize progress has been made, in paperwork and phone calls, and periods of deeper sleep. I have ventured away from home, shared meals with friends, and visited my nieces. Every event has been accompanied by a sense of something not quite right. In the living-room three days ago, I experienced the most recent case of vertigo. (or as my widowed friend describes it – the pit) As my hand reached behind the chair to draw the blinds, there was a sensation of sinking accompanied by – “Oh **** (insert expletive of your choice), my mom died.” As some of you know, it was like I was realizing this for the very first time.

I am so incredibly blessed in all ways. People who love me are being generous and kind. Support reaches out to comfort me from all over the globe. Adventures are planned and work projects evolving. This is something far bigger and more mysterious than I could ever have anticipated. As our beloved Chief Caring Hands, of the Natick Praying Indians, summed it up so beautifully “you are still standing on holy ground in the shadow of your mother’s death”. Although I am slowly re-entering the world this is exactly how it feels. The house of this life as I have known it may no longer exist, yet many treasures contained in the ashes, are waiting to be claimed.

I am sitting on the porch, aware of the worn cushion of the chair beneath me. The rain outside runs steadily down the storm pipe. Many drops comfortingly beat unusual rhythms on leaves and earth. There is moist damp air on my skin, and it smells divine. It is a new day filled with new opportunities.

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50 Responses to The First Thirty Days

  1. Bless you, Beth. It takes time, and some days it feels like a fresh loss all over again even 21 months later. Time dulls the pain, but then you can remember the good times without hurting so much. Thinking about you.

  2. smacken2008 says:

    That is awesome.

    Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

  3. lapetinaa says:

    Sending love, Beth; I know how hard it has been and will be for a long while. It is good to venture out and try to smile. I think the more you do this the more it will start to feel natural again. xxxxxx

  4. mike says:

    a long BIG hug for you Beth. I don’t really know what to say. I think of you every day.

  5. Sylvie says:

    Thinking about you lots…be patient with yourself…it’s only been a month.

  6. Lovely, Beth. Good luck in all your new ventures and adventures. I know there are sad moments when you deeply miss your mama and your puppy, and that’s how it must be. If you love, you feel the loss. I am just amazed at how you spun such gold out of your experience of loss. I say gold only because it is solid, brilliant, reflective. (And I can’t think of a better word)

    lots of love to you. I hope you will visit me in Austin. Alice

    On Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 8:32 AM, middlescapes wrote:

    > ** > blessedbebeth – Middlescapes.com posted: “Today is August 28, 2012. > Exactly thirty days have passed along with my mother. The last of the thank > you notes beg for stamps on the dining room table. Four green garbage bags > revealing nothing, but containing the cozy clothes mom wore everyday sit > quiet”

    • Thank you Alice. I love the image of spun gold – “solid, brilliant, reflective.” You are so wise and I know this is hard won from your experience with your own loss. Working on creating more of the good stuff. Best to you my friend. A trip to Austin, hmmmm? I’ll put it on the wind. z

  7. Deborah says:

    And now you must remain patient and loving. With yourself, this time. Time and tender care will help you move forward. And remember all of us out here in the ether and in the day-to-day of your life, lovingly holding you. Deborah

  8. Mindy says:

    Thank you Beth. Your willingness to be still and go deep and to paint your feelings with words is again beautiful… and today particularly helpful. My 19-yr-old travelled to Germany yesterday for four months, and will likely not spend more than a few weeks in our home again. This summer was likely her last “living in residence” time with us… I know, I know, best laid plans and all that, but we have all started a new chapter, deliberately setting her free to explore independence in life.

    Some deaths are smaller than others (every day is like a little life), and I trust you know I hold no intent to minimize the depth of your mom’s and your Molly’s passings… but today, I recognize in lovely stark relief your description of a new normal, and the progress made, and finding treasures in the ashes, and lifting my head to opportunities ahead.

    Again, thank you. I am so glad to receive the continuing gift of your story.

    • Mindy,

      As always your words provide comfort and care along with food for thought. I am honored that you shared a bit of your new chapter. I wish your beloved 19 year old a fabulous exploration with the wings your family has provided.

      If anything the acknowledgement of small deaths and the idea of each day as a life, brings comfort and a reduction of ‘the overwhelm’. Your words, as I experience them, could never minimize and only enrich. Here’s to boldly embracing present and future new normals wherever they lead.
      z

  9. jackie376 says:

    Beautifully written… So sorry for your loss… I hope your writings bring you some comfort:)

  10. Glennie Bee says:

    “… standing on holy ground…” – what a wonderful way to put it. Where you are, and where I felt I was when I lost my father, is a very special place: incredibly painful, yes, but also curiously alive and of the moment, as though all one’s sensitivities, good and bad, have heightened. I remember clearly, like you on the porch, noticing, feeling the world and everything around me in a way I’d never experienced before; truly feeling part of it, rather than being some semi-detached observer/passer-by numbed by everyday routine. It kind of anchored me, if you know what I mean.
    Difficult, but a strangely precious time.
    Always thinking of you,
    Glennie.

    • Glennie,

      Thank you for sharing a bit of your personal experience with your dad. I am honored and feel myself walking a little taller since I read your words.

      I do know what you mean. It is as you describe – “truly feeling part of ‘it'” in a heightened way. While I feel more connected to large L life, this feels motivated by having taken death as a lover, so to speak. This is the first time I have written these words out loud and they appear off.

      Having a different awareness about what have meaning or value is like a sword of discretion that cuts through pettiness and brings additional substance to what DOES matter. I do feel genuine. It is a bit easier to focus on what is important. It doesn’t mean I no longer get caught up in less than wholesome thoughts, but I do seem to recognize them a bit sooner and replace them easier.

      I am blessed to continue with you in this way.
      Beth

  11. I am so glad you are out there having fun times with friends, family and loved ones. Yes, opportunities out there are limitless and they are waiting for you. Stay blessed, Beth. Many hugs!

  12. gale says:

    This is pure poetry, Beth. Your reflections are beautifully stated, and capture all that you’re feeling, and much of what so many of us have felt.

    • Thanks Gale. It is a beautiful, awful time. The only way through is to experience all the upheaval as it unfolds, close my eyes and step forward anyway. It is wonderful to feel supported in this knowing. Look forward to celebrating with your family. z

  13. EllaDee says:

    Your ability to live in and share your moments is inspirational, and fabulous how you are sharing it – the comments show it benefits so many, and in return they offer back to you 🙂

  14. Pingback: The First Thirty Days – life after death. | Baby Boomers and More

  15. boomer98053 says:

    Beth: thank you so much for following my blog: http://www.babyboomersandmore.com. I look forward to being tied to you through our blog postings!

  16. may her soul rest in peace. may peace be with you my dear friend.

  17. Kathy says:

    I’m sorry about the loss of your mom. It’s been almost 4 years since I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer. I think of her every day and miss her deeply. My dad has remarried and still lives in the house he shared with my mom for more than 35 years. Although a lot has changed, there are still reminders of my mom in that house, little touches that were her’s.

    • Thanks Kathy. I am still struggling most days with missing her and feeling sad even with so many great things happening in my life. Wow, four years. I am so sorry for your loss. Is it difficult to see the reminders or comforting??? How long before you started to feel better? I’m glad you took the time to read my blog and your comments make me feel that I am in good company. beth

  18. Hi Beth
    Thanks so much for visiting soulsnet and leaving your comment. Now I am visiting you. WordPress is wonderful for that isn’t it? Bringing people from all over the world together.
    I am so sorry about your loss. My own parents died some years ago, my lovely mother first and then my lovely father a short time later. Their marriage had been so happy and they were a devoted couple. My father was devastated and died shortly afterwards of a heart attack, I think it was more likely a broken heart.

    What I wanted to say to you was that my first reactions were of bewilderment. I couldn’t imagine the world without them in it. I was an orphan at the age of 54.
    It is 6 years ago since my father died, 8 years since my mother, and I think it took at least two years after Daddy died for me to feel really normal again. But progress was made bit by bit, day by day. You only need to take baby steps.

    Be kind to yourself.
    With love
    Corinne at soulsnet

    • Hi Corinne,

      What a lovely introduction. It is amazing to me that it is possible to feel so connected to people I have never met, are physically far away AND yet, real at such a deep level.

      When I was reading your blog, it was the middle of the night here. I was trying to comfort myself after a small period of extreme sadness for both my mom and Molly – my entire household for the last few years. Imagine how I felt after I forced myself back to sleep for a couple of restless hours and woke to your wonderful email.

      Your words were the sustenance I was craving. Reassurance, that I am not crazy, that it is normal, even after a few good days, to find oneself crying in the middle of the night, like it is the very first day.

      I thank you for sharing a snippet of your parent’s story and offering your own process for my consideration. You are truly blessed to have received this wisdom, as am I by extension, that you have chosen to share it so generously.

      I am excited to discover more.
      Beth

      • Hi Beth

        Will be thinking of you tonight. Hope you get a good night’s sleep! The middle of the night can be the very worst time can’t it? There are no real words of comfort I can offer you. Yes time is a great healer, but that is of no use to you today. I suppose the best I can offer is the fact that so many others have shared and are sharing your experience. Grief is a natural reaction to such a great loss. Allow yourself to feel it. Fighting it will only make it worse, befriending it is the kindest thing you can do for now.
        With love
        Corinne

      • Corinne, absolutely yes. At times I have great compassion for my small self and know it just has to come out. At other times not so much, thinking oh just stop feeling sorry for yourself and get moving, and this too is certainly normal. Thank you for the additional words of comfort and encouragement. You are in my prayers as well. Beth

  19. Hi Beth

    I left you a follow up reply but for some reason I don’t think it posted. So just a quickie now. I hope you have a good night’s sleep tonight. I shall be thinking of you. I can’t offer much in the way of words of comfort except to say that so many of us have shared your experience and time will help. Not much use to you in the middle of the night I know. But of course grief is a natural reaction to your great loss. In my experience the more you fight it, the worse it gets. Allowing it, accepting it, befriending it, almost, is perhaps the better way. Feelings come and feelings go if we allow them to flow through.
    With love
    Corinne

  20. Hi Beth

    Funnily enough you were on my mind more than I thought you would be!! I had my first sleepless night in ages so I was there with you, my friend, in body and in spirit last night.

    With love
    Corinne

  21. Subhan Zein says:

    Oh, I miss this. My condolence for you, Beth. I am sure your mother must be very happy to have a daughter like you. You are one wonderful soul and caring person. Many blessings and much love to you. 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  22. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    • What an honor to have you as our guest. I notice in your posts you always are accompanied by a creature or two in your adventures, wondering who if any joined you here today? Thanks for leaving the campsite in such great shape! Hope to travel with you again.

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