I decided several days ago to write a post about loss and bereavement. My reasons are purely selfish ones. I miss my Mom desperately and knew writing about it would be a catharsis. So, thank you for your indulgence here.
Mama’s birthday was on the 12th; she would have been 79, and I can’t imagine it. She was 67 when she died and except for a heart that hid its sickness from us, she was healthy and vibrant right up to the end. She died in her sleep. When I die, I want to die like she did, peaceful and dreaming.
I suppose it was her birthday that set me off. And when I miss Mama, then I start missing Daddy too, and tears are never far from the surface. I’m not an emotional basket case, just emotionally tender. There’s a difference.
Before my parents died I thought that mourning was something that eventually ended. It doesn’t. It goes on in perpetuity, though it changes over time. Even after a decade I still have bad days, but the pain that left me raw in the beginning is different now. That’s what coping is, I guess, what “getting over it” is although, truthfully, I don’t think we ever really “get over” the loss of a loved one. We train ourselves to deal with the loss, to cope, because we’ll go crazy if we don’t. But the loss is always present, no matter how well we adapt and adjust.
Maybe it is different for other people. I don’t know.
I can go a long time without tears, a long time during which thoughts of my parents bring smiles and laughter and, often, deep comfort. But sometimes, like this past week, the ache becomes stronger, more persistent. I know it will ease, but until it does I’ll be feeling pretty undone.
If my parents could, they’d give me a hug and a smooch, then tell me to knock it off, get over my silly self, and go do something constructive, which is why I decided to write about it. After all, what’s more constructive than writing?
Ironically, I came across this competition just today, sponsored by an organization in the UK called Dying Matters, whose goals are:
“. . . to support changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement, and through this to make ‘living and dying well’ the norm."
Here’s the info on the contest:
FINAL CHAPTERS WRITING ABOUT THE END OF LIFE COMPETITION
NO ENTRY FEE
Open to all. Limit 2,500 words of prose or 40 lines of
poetry. Must be in English. Dying Matters Coalition is
running a new creative writing competition about dying,
death and bereavement. Anyone touched by dying, whether
directly or as a relative, friend, colleague or caregiver,
can enter. 1st: £200; 2nd: £100; 3rd: £50; plus highly
commended certificates. All entries will also be considered
for publication online or in print form. Deadline March
How have you coped with the loss of loved ones in your life? Is your experience with bereavement similar to mine or different? Writing helps me sort through my feelings; what method do you use?
Thanks for sticking around. I’ll see you next for Book Blurb Friday.Lisa