But, not writing about it feels more difficult than writing about it. Somehow, the grief I'm experiencing is demanding a voice, not to stay stuck in it, but actually in order to be able to move through it.
If this is difficult to read, I understand. It's human nature to want to relieve another person's distress and hurt. But grief can't be fixed, and moving through it is a very lonely experience. Moving through it without being able to express what it feels like is lonelier still.
So, I find myself compelled to share about it here, even though it's such a private thing.
Grief isn't linear. It isn't something that can be controlled. It isn't clear and concise. And, above all else, it isn't in any way, shape or form, simple.
My experience of this grief is different to any other I have experienced. I have experienced loss and grief before. I am divorced, I have lost other deeply loved relatives to illness. I know how I experienced those great losses and how I moved through them, until I reached the edges and was able to pull myself into a "new normal".
But this is different.
I find myself thinking of friends I love very much who have lost their mums too, and I realise how little I understood of the devastation they were going through when their losses occurred. It wasn't out of callousness or lack of care on my part, but simply a total inexperience of it that meant my understanding was limited.
This grief feels vast, and deep, and so far, four months after the death of my mum, I haven't found the edges of it. I stretch out thinking that perhaps if I reach far enough, I will find a place internally where it ends, but so far, that's not happened.
And then I read this quote by Eckhart Tolle, and I found myself writing it out in my art journal and surrounding it with pink roses (mine and my mum's favourite flowers)...
Grief is the process of trying to accept the unacceptable. The process of trying to make peace with the absence of my mum.
"For me it was like losing a planetary presence: Just empty space instead of all that gravity."
And so four months after my mum's death, I find myself fighting a painful battle of trying to accept something I find unacceptable: Living in the world without my mum in it with me.
Grief isn't an event. It isn't a choice either. I know my mum isn't here any more. I understand fully what happened to her. I'm not wallowing in sadness for the sake of it, or refusing to pull up my boot straps and carry on. I know life goes on. I want it to and I want to be a part of it. But right now, my heart is healing and trying to find a way to accept the painful truth it holds, that there are two parts to my life. My life with mum as an integral part of it, interwoven into the fabric of my days, where she was physically present in the landscape of it all. And the other part, where she's gone, and there is the total absence of all of her.
I feel such deep loss and sadness that Mum's no longer with me physically, talking to me, listening to me, being irritated by me, telling me she's proud of me, touching me, disapproving of something I've not done or done, loving me regardless, smiling at me, laughing with me at something rude I've said, hugging me and holding me tight when the world feels frightening.
Grief is the process of trying to accept that this is the second half of my life, the half without Mum, and it's a strange and complex journey.
I've been confused about how to do this grief journey. Tempted to give myself a hard time for finding it so difficult, Telling myself "it's been four months, Em, come on, Love, get better at doing this." And then I realise, it's been four months, sixteen weeks. Hardly any time at all, and I am doing just fine where I am.
I know this will change, I know it will get easier, I know I won't always feel this way. But for now, it's where I am and I want to at least try and explain why I'm not smiling as much as I used to (just for now), and why my postman looks terrified when I open the door to collect the mail and he catches sight of my thatched barnet.
With love to you in your grief, if you are grieving, whoever you are and wherever you are.