Saturday, October 4, 2008

Making Time to Cry

This post began as an e-mail exchange with my friend Marc. I'm publishing it as is, in an attempt to make some sense about the sense of loss and bewilderment that has enveloped me since mama's death on September 15.

I confess that I've never known this kind of emotional loss and I don't feel like me. I go to work and I go through the motions of what I should do; I smile, I talk, I try to be "fine." When people ask how I am, I always say, "I'm doing okay. I'm fine." But I'm not. Everything seems so overwhelming. I come home and watch hours of mindless television. I rarely turn on my home computer; I tell myself that I'll catch up on things tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. All that I know to do is to keep moving forward one day at a time until I find my rhythm again. I realize that this loss is personal but it is also universal. I am not the first person to lose a mother and people do survive the loss; I just have to get back in sync with living again.

I try to be honest with people whom I consider friends. I don't pretend to my friends that I'm not devastated. I am not functioning as me. I feel helpless, lost, and so alone. I think that my reticence to acknowledge my grief is a fear that I will not be able to contain it. There's a line from an Iris Dement song, No Time to Cry, that sums it up,
"I'm walking, and I'm talking, doing what I'm supposed to do; working overtime to make sure I don't come unglued, cause I'm older now, and I've got no time to cry."

I believe that grieving is necessary and healthy but all I really want to do is take to my bed and wail for days. I'm just not certain that would be in my best interest, so I keep focusing on getting through each day while allowing myself to feel sorrow and hurt, but remaining functional. I have wailed a bit, but I've been able to calm myself and get back to the business of living because I want to be a part of life, not on the sidelines, wrapped in sorrow. It's a balancing act, but the alternative--a complete collapse--doesn't seem healthy or useful.

I do believe that this utter emptiness will ease with time. I know that there will always be a sense of loss but I also know on a purely intellectual level that people can live with loss. My heart just needs to catch up with my head. I also firmly believe that what mama would want is for me to go on and live well. We went through so much to find each other, to reach a place of mutual love, that I feel cheated somehow to lose her in the blink of an eye. I'm grieving, but I'm also angry at the universe. All of my senses are raw and everything hurts. It is an interesting and new set of emotions for me. I've been saddened by other deaths but I've never before felt such a void inside over anyone's death. I've lost other people that I love, other family members, but I don't think that I've ever fully understood sorrow before. I'm trying to see what I can learn from this state that I find myself in, see how I can fashion it into something that will make me a better person. I think that mama would approve of that and be happy for me.

I wanted to include a video performance of Iris Dement performing No Time to Cry, but the only thing that I could find is an abbreviated version that she did in a live performance. I have my mother to thank for my love of country music. When I was growing up, she used to listen to Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline. She also would sing along. I do that too. For the lyrics, just click on the song title.


Ken said...

Glad that you have a site at blogspot. Sorry that you are still struggling with emotion, but it is very understandable. My thoughts are with you.

Marie said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you Sheria. Whilst I cannot imagine how you must be feeling, having not lost my mom, I can feel your pain and my heart goes out to you. Time and tears are the great healers . . .

Indigo said...

The pain is there because you were loved. Your mother gave you so many gifts to be who you are...Embracing that pain and realizing the loss is because she gave of herself, her love, everything will in time be healing. I wish I could sit with you for a while, just in silent contemplation. All those pictures, all those memories your mother left them in your heart, so you would always know she was there. I truly do believe she will always be with you in spirit dear friend. Simple words for a world of pain and sorrow. I adore you dear friend and wish I could take some of the burden of your pain. For now I continue to keep you in my prayer on the smoke...(Hugs)Indigo

warrior scout said...

I like this site a little better. Thank you for inviting me.

Like you, I am at a loss to know what to write next. But do know that my prayers and my thoughts include you and your mom.

Homeward Bound said...

Aimer, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss of your Mom. I will pray for comfort for you. If you need anything just let me know.

I'll miss AOL, but I'm glad you came over here. I've begun moving my site.

Stop in a say hello sometime, and I hope you can continue without too much emotion.
(Hope you save your site, always did like reading back entries)

Take Care My Friend

jack-of-all-thumbs said...


Despite thinking about you these past few weeks, I didn't manage to write (at either your site or mine) until today. In some ways I understand your grief; I lost my father many years ago when he was only 52, yet I still think of him every day.

But in other ways, your grief is greater; your loss experienced more fully as an adult, your trip 'through so much to find each other' one I never had to make.

But you need to keep moving.

You need to keep writing.

Yes you can.

Leigh said...

Grief is the most personal of emotions, to be experienced in it's own time and way. While the rest of life goes on and you're trying to function on some level of normal, it's there inside, a new part of the whole that will change and soften as time moves forward. Take the time to greive the way you need to.
You have some wonderful memories of shared thoughts and good times that will come forward and blend with the sad.
In the meantime, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
See you when you're ready to write again.
Hugs, Leigh

Gerry said...

I have just come and found that you lost your mother. It seems like only yesterday you wrote an entry about her in which I got no inkling it would soon be time for her to go. What I want my kids to do when I go and I know they wilil feel loss is turn to their aunts or others close in age to be mothered. When my sister LaRae died at 51 leaving her daughters with a tremendous sense of loss we sisters tried to step up for them including fully supporting the family site her oldest daughter facililitated to fill the hole in her life. I hope that I and some of your older women friends can help you fill the too large hole she has left in your life. She sounded like a delightful person and somehow the loss of a positive force of a mother seems a lot harder for the kids to adjust to, but if my impression is right you have much to be thankful for in having had such a strong mother so long. I felt the loss of my mother very acutely as a child as she became buried in her frustration with her marriage and her increasingly erratic attempts to find solace and never really developed as a mother. Gerry I have been unable to access your blogspot blog from this address but I will copy and paste and see if that works. Gerry I went to aol journals to find your new bloglink if you had moved and read that your mother had passed which I was so sorry to hear. She seemed so vital. That must have been a shock. I left his comment there but moved it here, too. Gerry

Rhonda said...

Oh Sheria I'm so very sorry for your loss. I have felt that type of loss and I can give you this advice:
Wail, wail and wail. Sob hystericaly, curse the world, and throw stuff..anything..though I seem to be partial to breakable salt and pepper shakers (easily replaced), do this more than just once, do it as often as you feel you need to.
Then find something incredibly funny, a movie, a friend etc. and laugh, laugh and laugh until your sides hurt and your sure you are going to pee your pants, do it as often as you feel you need to.
Come to the realization that the pain and heartache will dull with time and the wonderful memories you have of your mother will take its' place.
It takes time Ms Sheria. Know that you are not alone and it will get better.