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Mother's Day After Loss

Since my mom's passing in July of 2016, I've found myself learning more about the kind of milestones and events that trigger sadness and grief. It's challenging, to say the least, because as I learned in early 2017, I am not only dealing with grieving the loss of my mother, but also the Post Traumatic Stress from being witness to her treatment, hospice, and ultimately, her death. Until I saw a doctor in the Urgent Care for what I thought was vertigo, I had no idea that the accumulation of these experiences would equal PTSD. I was actually embarrassed to have missed it, since I'm currently studying social work, and consider myself a very empathetic and emotive person. I suppose empathy for others doesn't always translate to empathy for oneself.

So far, we've "celebrated," several holidays, and other milestones - 4th of July the day after she passed, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, my parents' anniversary, her birthday, my dad's birthday, the anniversary of my parents' first date, and of course now, Mother's Day.

I started writing this post on Mother's Day of 2017, and with Mother's Day 2018 coming up in a few months, I realized it was probably time to finish this up. Every holiday, and milestone has its own special kind of sad, but Mother's Day, after losing your mother is really shitty. The holiday specifically to celebrate your mom, and she's not there? Thanks a lot, universe. You don't need a special day as a reminder that your mom is gone, every day is that reminder, so when something marketed specifically for mothers is a real punch to the gut. Even without cable, I've still seen the typical Mother's Day themed commercials that various brands put out, and let me tell you, those jerks are not fucking around when it comes to giving you all the feels.

I feel like one moment I truly realized I was an adult was the first year I had to work on my birthday. Realizing the world doesn't stop because it's "your day," and that you're still expected to do all the normal day-to-day things even though this particular day is special to you, should have been preparation for grief. Suddenly, even though it's Mother's Day, it's just a Sunday, except I don't get to call my mom or have brunch with her. Instead I get to watch other people do those things with their moms. I don't want anyone to feel guilty that they still have their mom when I don't - really, I don't, and it doesn't even bother me when friends do the normal "ugh my mom is being so crazy," because I get it. My mom was kinda crazy sometimes too. I also don't get upset with people who are estranged from their mothers. Not all moms are great moms (mine was) and people are allowed to live their own truths.  It's not their fault. Some days, though, like Mother's Day, I just want to stay in bed. I don't want to have to witness everyone with their moms, or see all the pictures of people with their moms. I don't want to rain on your parade, but it's fucking pouring all over mine.

Will this year be easier than last year? Maybe? I can't say yet. Every single day is a bit of a new adventure. I am glad to say that the PTSD related panic attacks have gotten much fewer and farther between (especially since being laid off from a job that was probably contributing to them). Maybe, one day, everything won't feel so hard, and maybe not.

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