In everyday life, I crave a deep sense of privacy. My circle is tight and even within it, I try to be cautious about what I share and to what level I reveal myself. This characteristic certainly doesn’t stem from trust issues, but it does serve as a type of self protection that has let me rely on my truest instincts—not the misguided input of others—for some time.
The exception to this rule of social privacy has always been my mother. As a therapist, she spent years mastering the tactics to break into my brain, which often, meant simply staying quiet and letting me ease into my thoughts, unlike the constant chatter that so often accompanies gatherings with my closest girlfriends.
For years, she gently guided me through the woes of adolescent angst, the vulnerabilities of adult relationships and the political web of workplace drama by nudging me to express myself and think through my quandaries aloud. She taught me how to work through difficult moments with as much grace as I could muster and when it she deemed it necessary, she’d share her insights, culled from a lifetime of lessons learned.
Recently, she taught me the greatest lesson—how to embrace and trust God’s plan without question, fear or anxiety.
She died on May 1. And since that day, I’ve been struggling with the deepest sense of grief that I’ve known. It lives so solidly inside of my chest that the only way to maintain normalcy in my everyday life has been to simply skim the surface of each day… never allowing too long a silence, as I’ve found it nearly always leads to an emotional collapse.
Instead, I’ve found a weird sort of comfort in the buzz of TV, droning personal finance podcasts that keep my mind busy on my commute to and from work, and more nights than normal spent with my boyfriend, whose presence simply helps keep me out of my own head. It might not be the healthiest way to cope, but it is a way to cope—and right now, that’s enough.
A year ago, I wanted to start writing a capsule that dabbled in the daily, from fashion and finances to style and stressors. And I suppose, this seismic shift in my life is more relevant that any of those things. The most odd piece of it all is that even when it feels impossible, life continues to move on just as it did before. Grocery stores lines still snaking down aisles, horns still being honked on the expressway, neighbors still walking their dogs.
I don’t know many women who have lost their mother at the age of 30, but I imagine there are so many of us struggling in the same ways to rebuild a life around an irreplaceable loss. Maybe this can be a place where in between the moments of normalcy, we learn to cope, together.
This beautiful woman, my mom.