I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Grief in a Calendar

It's almost fall.
Everyone gets excited, takes a ton of pictures of their child, and an exciting new year begins.  Another year older, another milestone, more of life to be experienced together.  Our sweet Bean has a birthday soon, I have a birthday soon, my sister and her son have birthdays soon, then come the holidays.......All of these things lumped together magnify her absence.  This year, in particular, I'm turning a pretty memorable age.  35.  I will be the age my sweet sister was when we lost our Momma.  Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how it's so often unavoidable to play the "numbers" game...what if this, what if that, etc.

I keep going back in my brain, wondering if I'm just doing it all wrong.  Wondering about the looks I get, I know them well.....the, "Could you please just stop talking about your grief?" look.  I wonder if all these words words words that pour out of me are empty...I wonder if there's any point to keep on writing.  I honestly wonder if piecing these together in a book will be fruitless.  For now, I can't really decide.

I'm always intrigued by the accusatory looks that some often give when they ask, "How long has it been now since your Mother died?"...and yes, I've been asked that a lot.  One can always tell when that's either loaded with judgment, or a sincere question.  My experience has been that, "Shouldn't you be in a better spot now?" is what follows that question.  No, not all the time, but far too often.

So...how long has it been?  What a question!  It's irrelevant, really.  My Momma, the one who is half of the reason of my very existence, is dead.  She no longer breathes the same air we breathe. She isn't here in the fall, she isn't here for her family's birthdays, for her grandchildren's firsts that are experienced, she isn't here. What matters more than the, "how long has it been?" is that she lived, and what matters just as much is that she died....she died so early, she died so unexpectedly, she died so tragically.
Maybe, "How long have you been living with this ache, sweet you?" is a better question.

Too long.......the answer will always be too long.

*If death and absence shouldn't really "affect" us that deeply, shouldn't affect us for so long...then neither should life and presence.*

We can't have one part, experience all there is, and fully love, without then experiencing the stinging reality of the presence of death.  It will absolutely affect us!  If not you personally...then someone you love...which means it does affect you personally. Indeed, it does. We are our brother and sister's keeper.

We would never put a time frame around our life, the life of our spouse, the life of our child, our parents, our marriages, friendships, etc...why on earth did we ever start putting a time frame around grief?
Changing our language often helps us move to a better understanding of love and grief.

She breathed her last in December of 2007.
The calendar is a constant reminder.
But even then, it doesn't have to be a calendar that reminds me of her obvious absence.  I am often reminded when I look in the mirror, and sometimes I see a tiny glimpse of her.
Because I am my Momma's daughter.
My existence is a reminder of her absence.
And her absence is just as real as it was the first day we opened our eyes, and lived the first morning without her.

*Love has no end, nor the grief that holds its hand.*

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