It gets worse before it gets better

Or so I have to believe.

It has been over four weeks since Mom died, and yet it was just yesterday. When someone dies, there is often a lot of work to do, and we are plugging away at the things we have in front of us. I go over to her house several times a week to sort through an arm load of things at a time: this cupboard emptied, that closet cleaned out, those pieces of furniture swapped with items from our house.

The cleaning out process is necessary because we depend on the granny flat rent for our attempt at financial stability. I have to make myself do the work rather than give in to the passive aggressive temptation of, "Well, we can't rent it yet; the place is still a mess." I want to scream when I think of the change ahead, but instead I sort through the papers, cull the treasures from the trash, and keep moving ahead.

Each bit of work is swathed in sadness, but it is often done without signs of major breakdown. Not thinking, not feeling, I just plod my way through the piles.

And then I find the cast iron skillet that Mom used to make animal-shaped pancakes for me in 1965, and I am back to the raw meltdown.

Man, this is hard work.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
I Thess 4:13

I have hope, truly I do. These are just dark days, and the feelings of hope are hiding beyond the horizon. But it is there, and what is true is true no matter what I am feeling at the moment.

For now, though, I will warm a cast iron pan and create pancake shapes that bring back memories of Saturday mornings, sitting on the dark green tile counter, begging for an elephant or giggling at a monkey. And maybe, just maybe, we'll smile and laugh and the sun will come out again in my heart.


Linda said…
I am learning precious truths from you Diane, as you share this time of loss. I often think that of course we have hope, but we also have to live in this place without someone who is so very precious. I think it takes time for the pain to lessen.

Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for you.
elizabeth said…
I remember being at the monastery over the holidays and one of the fellow guests talked about grief as he had lost his first wife years ago... some of the grief is greater about 4-6 weeks after... it is not an easy process. But we are not abandoned in it... When I was 21 I lost a woman who was like a mother to me and I remember months later reading about the flood in Genesis and how in the end the water receded. Grief is a deep water but the flood is not forever.

Hang in there, grief is always uncharted territory. Will light a candle for you tonight by my Icon of the Mother of our Lord Christ.
stephseef said…
'Grief is a deep water but the flood is not forever'.

You have very smart friends, Di. And I am learning from you every day.

Di said…
Wisdom abounds here, Steph. You are right. Thanks for the love, my friends,
Alison said…
You will likely grieve forever, but life will grow around that grief. I love the image that the flood will recede.

I hope the pancakes were delicious.

Sending love across the miles.
Staci said…
Very true words, Di. It always seems strange how real life still continues in the face of grief, and how it's always the seemingly little things that catch us so off guard.
DebD said…
Grieving looks so different for everyone (and for every situation). And, 4 weeks isn't that long. Do not rush it.. 4 weeks really is only yesterday.
Dawn said…
This IS hard work. Keeping you in prayer. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
chris said…
hi Di,

grieving is hard enough, and to have to do it while cleaning out a flat and trying not to worry about finances is too cruel! it makes you realize what a good idea the Jewish practice of sitting shiva is (even if seven days might not be long enough a break from "ordinary life")...

i'm praying that you'll find comfort and healing from unexpected angles, in unexpected times and places.

jlt said…
That happened to me, too, about a month after my mother's death, but it did get better. Reading Mother's books, using some of the things she had wanted me to have, and thinking about her while doing activities we had always done together gradually changed from mostly painful to mostly remembering. It time. I'll be praying for you.
Kathie said…
Dear Di,Oh yes it does get better. and the raw meltdowns are part of the healing. I held a lot of them inside when my mom died - telling myself it was for the best as she was so sick. Then I ended up in a major depression.

So . . . let the tears flow. And walk through the grief. It's 19 years since my mom died and I mostly smile when I think of her - but every now and then I miss her with such a sharp pang. The mother-tie is a tender one and our hearts bleed when it is broken.

Sending love and prayers

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