Somehow, we made it through Thanksgiving. Luckily, no one at my table insisted that we share the things we're thankful for, as I am having trouble piecing together feelings of gratitude. Surely I must be thankful for all of the many blessings in my life right now; there are so so many and I don't want to appear ungrateful. But I can't honestly sit down and say "I am grateful for..."
When Mom first passed away, I felt a sense of relief. I didn't have to worry about her feeling worse and worse, about her pain, about letting her down again and again. I didn't have to sleep with the phone next to my pillow or check flight prices or availability every day. In the last couple of weeks, all of that relief has dissipated. My body has accepted the end of the frenetic pace, the end of crisis mode management and I am left with only the overwhelming absence of Mom.
Now the feelings of injustice and anger surface more readily, the reality that she won't get to know her grandchildren, that she won't see Ross graduate, that she is missing out on many years that she had planned to enjoy. I am angry that she won't be here to help me when the Pea arrives, that any questions I have now remain unanswered, that any bumps in our relationship that were waiting to be healed will never be healed. I get furious when well meaning people say there is no greater joy than being a grandparent; that I didn't manage to pull my life together in time and I robbed her of that.
Living across the country, it's sometimes easy to pretend that life is still normal. I didn't talk to Mom every day when she was healthy. The day that Gary and I got engaged, I had already spoken with her during the day before he proposed and when I called again, she was confused that I would call twice in one day. But when there were things I wanted to share, I would call. If events were happening, I would call. If I needed clothes advice (which is frequent), I would call. And now, it's been so long since I've been able to call and share something or ask for advice. Day to day it's okay, but the compound effect is hard. There's so much lately that I want to share with her. There are so many questions I want to ask, so much advice I still need, so much I don't know. And the road ahead is just so much more of that.