Your mom and I had another MIL + DIL day! We went to watch Hamilton. Your mom loved it. I liked the second half better since I was struggling with the first part (I guess I should have brushed up on my US revolutionary history before the show!) It’s been awhile since I saw your mom that I can’t even remember the last time I saw her (it was probably November timeframe). At dinner, your mom asked me if I was ready to start dating. She said I had too much love to give to not think about it. I’m not sure what came over me, but I just started crying. I couldn’t utter a word and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing from my eyes. I realized later, I wasn’t crying because I was sad or grief-stricken over you or feeling sorry for myself since most days, I just feel stuck and adrift with my life, I was crying for your mom. I was crying for her because I knew how hard it was for her to say those words to me. I will never know the depth of her pain from losing you, but I can only imagine. Although I know your mom isn’t ready to hear or know whether I’m ready to date or whether I’m dating or not, I know she said those words because she strongly wants to believe and feel that she is at a certain place in her grief to be able to say those words to me. This is something I struggle with also. Always wanting to be “better” than I really am and putting myself on some grief timeline or benchmark. To be able to say or do something because somehow it feels like I should be at a certain place in my grief process because of the amount of time that has lapsed. But, there’s no timeline or benchmark for grief, even if I try and fail miserably to disprove this theory everyday.
At the beginning of this journey, I would look to your mom and hope that we could help each other get through this together. I so desperately wanted her to hold my hand, so we could walk through the fire together, but it never happened. I, eventually, had to put my big girl pants on and carry myself through the fire (well, I’m not sure if I’m even through the fire yet or if there will ever be an end to the fire, but let’s assume, figuratively speaking, I’m through the fire for the sake of being able to make my point). I figured we were the two women who loved you most and who knew you best, so why wouldn’t we help each other get through these darkest hours together and be each other’s support? In my mind, it made sense. I mean, a week before you passed, you admitted that you married someone who was very similar to your mom. But, she never let me in, no matter how hard I tried or so desperately needed her support and guidance. I was hurt and disappointed that your mom couldn’t be there for me and that she wouldn’t let me be there for her. But, now that I’m further along my grief process, I’ve come to realize that she couldn’t be there for me because she could barely be there for herself.
At the end of the day, we are all on this journey alone, even if we started at the same place and time. Although the beginning feels the same for everyone; dazed, confused, shocked, disbelief, pain, sadness, emptiness, anger, and the list goes on and on, eventually, when the cloud and fog lifts, how we cope, process, and deal with the pain and grief is as different as a person’s personality. People also move along the grief journey at different speeds and pace. Therefore, we can’t hold hands and walk together because, at some point, one person has to let go and keep going even when the other person isn’t able to keep up in order to save themselves. No one can save anyone else on this journey. We can only save ourselves. We can’t help or save anyone else if we can’t help or save ourselves first. This is the sad truth and reality of grief. It’s the epitome of “survival of the fittest.”
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.