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Mum and Dad

Grieving and being a mom: The everyday reality of loss

Grieving and being a mom: The everyday reality of loss


Melissa Willets

posted in Parenting

I woke up this morning and didn’t want to be awake. Staring at the ceiling, I wondered how I was going to make it through another day. Another day, without her.

It’s been almost three months since I lost my baby. And yet, days like this still come out of nowhere. Some days, I do really well. I’ll feel the suffocating sadness when I wake up, and realize that yes, it’s real. She’s gone. But then, purpose pulls me forward, into my day. I do have three kids to love and care for, and many days, that’s enough to keep me going. One foot in front of the other. Coffee, fixing cereal, making school lunches, sitting in the drop-off line.

Other days, like this one, I’m stuck. Lying in bed, I’m pretty sure I can’t do it. I can’t pretend for another long day that everything is okay, that things are the same, that I’m not half-dead inside. I’m crying before I even make it to the bathroom. I’m hopeless before I even brush my teeth.

But then, the calls come. “Mom!” They’re up. They need me. It’s wonderful, yet overwhelming, and suffocating. I just want to climb back in bed, and sob, and give up. And I do, for a while. But the calls keep coming. “Mom!” So I wipe my tears away, and trudge to the stairs. I go through the motions of helping the kids get dressed, and brush their teeth. I make their beds.

And somewhere along the way, I feel a little less raw and exposed. A hug from one daughter. Another laughs. Life seems ever-so-slightly brighter, and less like I’m in a dark cave with no sunlight.

grieving and being a mom

We make it to breakfast. A few sips of coffee later, I’m almost human. But it only takes one thought of missing her to plunge me back over the edge of the cliff of grief. And yet, they need to get to school, and so, I keep moving.

On this particular morning, we were late, because I struggled to get off of my bed and go answer the calls of my children. It took me longer than usual. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was just that sometimes the reality that she’s gone covers me like a thick blanket, practically paralyzing me. I forget how to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe I don’t want to. I go inward, go away. It can take me a while to come back.

I always have to come back, though, because the cruel march of time continues without her. No matter how sad I feel, it’s still another day of school drop-off, activities, homework, and grocery shopping. My family needs me, even when I’m not fully there. So, I found a way to feed the kids, albeit in front of the TV, and organize them into the car for school. In the end, we were only late for preschool drop-off, so I felt like I did okay under the circumstances. My little one is 4. If my grief means she missed 15 minutes of watercolors, I figure I’m winning.

Tomorrow could be better. It could be worse. The hardest thing about grieving and momming is that you can’t predict when you’ll have the energy to pack the lunches and write those love notes for the kids, and when you’ll just want to hide under your covers and wish you could die.

grieving and being a mom

That uncertainty is my reality right now, and I have become cruelly aware that it’s a reality for so many moms out there. We’re walking among the other moms. We’re at back-to-school night, too. We’re signing the permission slips, just like them. We’re momming, and grieving, and it’s messy, and imperfect, and, well, it’s our lives. More than anything, it’s lonely. It’s so dang lonely. Sigh. But onward we go. Each day. One foot in front of the other. Toward…I don’t know.

Making dinner? Bedtime stories? Bath time? Yes, because no matter how sad we feel, how lonely, how empty, how impossible it seems, life goes on. That’s one of the hardest things to accept. But it does. And as it does, we keep figuring out how to do this whole grieving and momming thing, slowly, so slowly, but surely.

If you’re a loss mom, what helps you get through each day?

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