I Am A Grieving Mother
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how I am a grieving mother. Forever, for the rest of my life, I will always have I am a grieving mother as part of my introduction into who I am.
Some days, I don't know how to approach this subject. I have tattoos on my arm dedicated to my sweet girl. I have a unicorn drawing she made "I love mom" In her handwriting on my arm. I get lots of stops about this tattoo, people asking to see the rest of it, etc. They always ask if my child drew it and that is when I am a grieving mom becomes part of the story. In some ways the tattoos help break the ice. In other ways, I hate how so many people change how they look at you when they know.
I am a grieving mother. Yes, this is always going to be true. However, I am so much more than that. I am a color guard mom. I am a dance mom. I am a football mom. I am a college mom. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a college instructor. I am a post graduate student. I am a historian. I am an avid reader. I am a fighter of justice. I am a champion of the underdog. I am a grieving mother.
I am a grieving mother is just one statement about who I am. This is not the only statement about who I am. It is as much a part of me as every single other thing that I am, but it is also the thing that seems to change the opinions of others. It is the one thing that makes people stop and get a look on their face that I can only describe as a combination of fear and pitty. The one thing that seems to change how people see me. It is as if they are churning their thoughts and words in their head as they go through the mixed bag of facial emotions.
I am a grieving mother seems to be the one thing that people think trumps all other misfortunes and tragedies in life. When someone complains to me and then later says, but what I have been through is nothing like what you have been through. It is as if they are afraid to tell me that they are struggling, scared that I am judging them for what they are complaining about. I am not. Just because they fear the life I am living, doesn't mean that their own traumas and hardships are not the most difficult thing that they are dealing with. I understand that. I want to be there for my friends, but so often I feel like they don't think that they should be expressing their struggles and issues because of how bad they feel like mine are.
I am a grieving mom and for the past 1000 days, I have been forced to live without my little girl...forced to live in a world where I don't feel like I am living....forced to be in a space where I don't know how to belong. I am a grieving mom and yes the rest of my life will be defined by these moments. The fear that I could have done something to save her will feel like a weight tied around my neck until the day that I die. I can't wait to hold that little girl in my arms again one day and tell her how sorry that I am. I am so sorry that I did not save her and that I wasn't a better mom in those last few moments...where I didn't make a better choice and not make the mistake of thinking she could make it the rest of the way down the stairs by herself.
I am a grieving mom and I am so lucky to have amazing friends and family who have been here for me each step of the way and continue to show up. I am very fortunate, but I also have had friends and family who I have had to cut from my life for reasons that I'm sure the other people are not being honest about. I'm a grieving mom who wants to still be included and invited to things, even when I can't make it. I still want to feel like you want me around, but if you don't it is completely cool for you to just be honest with me. I would never want to make anyone uncomfortable or sad. I hear from so many grieving moms that I know that they feel left out of things and that they are so hurt that people are not reaching out to them. Keep trying with your friends. Keep trying with your family. Keep offering love and support even when they seem to be pulling away. Keep being present for those that you were always present for before.
I am a grieving mom but it doesn't mean that I still don't want to be the friend that I was before...or at the very least, close to the friend I was before. I am a grieving mom but that doesn't mean that I can't still go out and have a good time. I am a grieving mom and I cry but don't let my tears make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes they are tears for the special memories that I cherish and the overwhelming feeling that I will never get to create more. I am a grieving mom but I still laugh and I still try to enjoy the things in life that I can. I am a grieving mom and sometimes I will choose to be in my place of grief rather than hang out, but that doesn't mean that I always have to be in that place of grief. I am a grieving mom but I am still me.