Friday, October 19, 2007

H, I'm sorry

I’ve been missing my mom a lot lately. I know I have said this off and on for the past 22 months, but this past month it seems to be intensifying. When I miss her at particular moments, I’ll wear something of hers to feel closer to her.

When I interviewed for my new school district last year, I wore one of her blazers, her wedding ring on my right hand and her “just for fun” ring on my left hand with my wedding rings. I throw on her pearls when appropriate. I have many of her sweaters, jackets and tops – I wear them in streaks. Sometimes I think they are too “old-ladyish” and wouldn’t dream of wearing them. Other times they seem extremely elegant and I wear several of them. About two weeks ago, I looked down and one of the diamonds from her ring had fallen out while I was at work. I haven’t worn it since and feel lost without it. I know I can get it replaced – it was very tiny – but I still feel like I was careless and lost something very valuable. As if I’m her little kid still if that makes sense.

The beginning of this school year has been the easiest for my kids, but one of the hardest for me professionally. I have been challenged in many different ways and haven’t always handled it the best. I have to make new acquaintances and friends, in a new building, for the millioneth time and really don’t feel like doing it this time. Usually I’m one for change, but this time I’m sick of it. It’s a lot of work to get to know people. I have enough relating to do in my work. I don’t really have the energy left to bond with my colleagues.

I know this sounds a bit cynical and sad, but I think that my mother’s death might have something to do with it. 

In the past, when big things were going on in my life, I always turned to my mother. She would listen for as long as I needed her to. My dad can’t be her. He can’t even begin to replace this part of her. Not only that – he doesn’t really want to try. I understand, but can’t seem to fill this void. My husband isn’t my mom. I don’t want him to be, but I wish I had someone else. No…I wish she was still here.

One of my students lost her dad last June. She was the one who found him. His death was completely unexpected and he was only 50 years old. She struggles with it daily and has come to talk with me several times this fall. Today she was having a bad day. I had a couple of big issues going on- parents in the building - interventions going on – but this girl was having a bad day. She saw me between families and asked if I had time to talk. I had to put her off. She came back and I had to put her off again. In between her visits, I had about 15 minutes free, but decided to eat my lunch at my desk and read the newspaper instead of calling her down to my office. I knew that I probably wouldn’t have time to see her at any other time. It didn’t hit me, until she smiled and told me that it could wait until Monday, that I was avoiding her. I didn’t want to counsel her. I didn’t want to comfort her. I couldn’t alleviate her grief. I can’t bring back her dad. I can’t say anything that will make it better.
It had everything to do with my own grief and that really bothers me.

Now I have a dear friend who is grieving and I fear that I may be doing the same thing to her that I did to that sweet girl this afternoon. I haven’t gone to see her since she told me that she miscarried last weekend. I haven’t brought her a casserole – or better yet a bottle of scotch. I haven’t hugged her. I haven’t called. Until today, I thought it was me just getting caught up in the week…too much homework for Harrison, too many Costco runs or soccer practices, but that’s not the case. I haven’t reached out to her because death really pisses me off right now.

14 comments:

a lovely disturbance said...

artificial boundaries suck, don't they? there is a season for everything. but it doesn't make it any easier. hugs to you.

Sitting said...

it sounds like you've had a lot to deal with, and that you are doing the best you can. this isn't easy stuff. be kind to yourself.

Meg said...

Giant HUGS to you, Carol!

ella said...

Carol, I'm so sorry you're going through this and I hope things are better for you soon.

Anonymous said...

As someone who also lost her father suddenly, I know how much it helps to talk about it. I know you have so much of your own pain; it must be hard to comfort others.

I'm sure when you're ready, the student would still really love to talk. It's been 8 years since my dad died, and I still wish I had a shoulder to lean on, someone to listen to me cry my eyes out, every now and then.

Take care.

Jennie said...

My dad's mom passed away when he was 11. When he was in the army, it was a pretty common pastime to get drunk on cheap tequila. One night when he did this, though, in his drunkenness he somehow lost the ring his mother had given him before she died. He's sworn off drinking since then because it was so devastating to him to lose that part of her that he held so close. Reading about you losing the diamond in your mom's ring reminded me of that story - I'm sure my dad can relate to your feelings right now. I'm so sorry and wish I could give you a hug (even though I don't know you).

amy said...

I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer four years ago; she was 61 and i was 40. i still miss her so much, especially when my kids do something great or something awful, or when I am wrestling with issues with friends, myself, life--she was my sounding board, my mom, my friend. This grief is like an ocean, knocking me down at times and other times i am in a sea of calm. hoping you find the same when these waves pass by.

namaste,
amy

amy said...

I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer four years ago; she was 61 and i was 40. i still miss her so much, especially when my kids do something great or something awful, or when I am wrestling with issues with friends, myself, life--she was my sounding board, my mom, my friend. This grief is like an ocean, knocking me down at times and other times i am in a sea of calm. hoping you find the same when these waves pass by.

namaste,
amy

Psycho Kitty said...

Oh, sweetie.

I think I would just tell your friend what you just told us.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and your student's, and your friend's.

xo

Kbreints said...

I cannot imagine having to go through the loss of my mother. I am so sorry that you are having to work through losing yours. Don't put to much pressure on yourself to heal. It will happen in its own time.

B.E.C.K. said...

It's sometimes so hard to be with people who are having the kind of pain that we're coping with. At other times, it helps, but occasionally it's just too much. Be good to yourself. *hug*

Laura said...

Carol, I lost my mother to cancer a few months after you lost yours. I find myself conflicted with the dual need to move on and the need to remember. I've decided that the pain never really goes away, a person just gets used to it being there. I'm thinking of you...

blackbird said...

I think that protecting yourself, on some level, is perfectly acceptable.
You don't always take care of yourself - this is one way you can.

a lovely disturbance said...

please post soon! where have you been? what's new?
:)