Having daily conversations with my mom is the thing I miss most about her being gone. We talked every day on the phone, sometimes twice a day. We talked about everything. I never made a major life decision without my mother’s input. She was my person. Not only was she my mom but she was my friend. I trusted her judgment. We talked about big things, but mostly it was the little things; talking about the mundane day-to-day activities of our lives. It is the little things that I used to talk to her about that I find that I miss the most. While making a family recipe, and I needed to know what ingredients I needed, who did I call? Mom. If Will did something funny, and my husband was busy at work, who did I call? Mom. We shared our joys, we shared our struggles, and boy did we share some laughs together.
I know many people that have lost a loved one often say that they still talk to that person as if they were here. My dear friend, who lost her mom to lung cancer just one year before my mom passed away, told me that she often finds herself talking to her mom while she is driving home from work. It seemed silly to me, and I had never been able to talk aloud to her. The actual act of talking out loud always seemed to make the fact that she was gone more real.
There is a small part of me that never wants to admit to myself that my mom is truly gone. Is this what complicated grief looks like? I have no idea. There are so many articles and books out about the initial steps of grief, but it is so hard to find anything about what happens to a person once you are a few years removed from your loved one’s death. The fact that I find myself still in denial at times sometimes concerns me, but just like everything else, I push the feelings aside and avoid facing my issues. This is something that I struggle with and I am trying to work on, and today I may have made a small step towards acceptance.
Today, on my way home from work, I had a conversation with my mom. It might not have been the back-and-forth exchange that we used to have, but it was a small step in the right direction. I immediately felt a weight lifting off of my shoulders. I sensed her presence as the sun shone on the car during my drive home. And what did I see when I pulled my car into our driveway? A cardinal. It felt like a hug had been sent from heaven.