You would think that new pain takes precedent over old pain
But the truth is that when new pain follows old pain, the weight of the whole tends to be a lot heavier than any individual wound.
A whole lifetime of accumulated pain.
If we have no coping mechanisms we just bear the weight.
The ever heavier weight.
Because let's be realistic, life is full of pain. And there is no one to turn to that doesn't have their own pain.
We can't say "Hey, do you mind holding this for a few hours? Or for a day? I'll pay you for babysitting it."
The truth is we don't want to give up the pain, to give it up means that we give up the immeasurable love we carry for the people we are mourning.
To give it up means that we never loved them enough. And we did. We do.
We love them so much we are willing to carry the pain for the rest of our lives. That is part of their legacy to us. The love, the memories.
After a while the pain is not so heart clenchingly hurtful.
We start to remember the laughter, the happy times. The loving times.
And we take those memories out and examine them. Smile and feel the lightness in our very soul.
We put the memories back and the heavy hurt doesn't seem so dark.
One of my my favorite quotes is by Lewis Carroll
"I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast"
That always seemed like a good attitude to me.
The way the world is these days, it’s almost incomprehensible how anyone could have a closed mind.
It seems like most every day there’s a story in the news about one of our certainties being turned on its ear.
Maybe that’s what it means to be human, forever questioning our certainties.
One of my certainties is I will someday smile and outright laugh at the memory of my mom.
She was a funny, outrageous woman that made me laugh daily.
One day she said something so shockingly funny I threw myself across her bed laughing and banged my head on her wall.
Even that made me laugh harder.
She was a treat to talk to. A great artist, pianist and writer.
When my niece Ashley died, her granddaughter, I came home and went straight to her room.
We didn't say a word. I cried with my head on her lap for more than 2 hours. While she made soothing noises and cried with me.
The night she died I looked into her eyes for hours. The fear. The panic. I talked her home through it all.
I smiled while I cried and I made sure she knew she was safe. She was going home to be with loved ones.
I asked my siblings to come around to my side of the bed so she could see them and they couldn't. They just couldn't.
So I talked her home alone while they listened and cried.
I made sure every time she focused on my face I had a smile for her.
I told her to go. I reassured her and at the end gave her massive doses of medicine so she wouldn't hurt.
And I smiled until my cheeks hurt. While I kept talking her home.
I didn't want strangers touching her so out of 7 sisters only my youngest helped me bath and dress her in her favorite clothes.
I washed her waist long hair myself and did it in the long side braid she favored. I put the light makeup she liked on her face. She looked beautiful.
She was wonderful. She was my anchor, my soulmate, my best friend. She was my mother.
I can't believe she is not upstairs in her room waiting for me right now. I will miss her everyday for the rest of my life.
This was written at the same time I wrote the poem "Dying" my 22 year old niece died just a handful of months before my mom did. Last April. I am still working my way through the grieving process. Writing about it makes me feel better. I can pour the pain into my words