So far this week has been chaotic yet cleansing. My Monday started off horribly. Perhaps it’s because I knew my coworker would be out the whole day or perhaps it’s because I just did not want to be there. I woke up feeling sad. And the sadness continued throughout the day. I dreaded the phone calls that came in. But somehow, I made it through the day. Albeit, crying practically the whole day and crying myself to sleep…but the next morning I woke up alive. A survivor once more.
Tuesday started off ok enough. Until my anger and grief got the best of me at work. When a grieving mother encounters mundane things that make absolutely no sense to anyone, she may fly the cuckoo’s nest. When someone complains about ungrateful, grown children, points fingers in the workplace or makes things about themselves in front of a grieving parent – well, you better watch out. Hell hath no fury like a grieving parent. And so when THAT happened I decided (perhaps wrongfully so) to use choice words in the work place. And when said coworker, with no compassion in his voice told me to stop talking that way, well, it just added fuel to my fire. I listened to my inner voice and grabbed my purse and keys and stormed off. I knew well enough that I would return but I needed time to just be. And so, I parked my car across from Joaquin’s old school and imagined him there. I imagined him smiling, walking out in his little khaki shorts, blue shirt and Mickey Mouse backpack. Oh, how I feel him there. And when I did, I cried. And I cried. And I allowed myself to ask the dreaded “why?” over and over again. And then I wiped my tears and went back to work, ignoring that man and apologizing to the others. They understood. Did he? Probably not. A fellow grieving mom calls those moments her “Do you know who I am?” moments. It’s like I’ve become a grieving diva but she seems to make her appearance only in front of the people that I have little tolerance for.
Later that day, the grieving diva and husband were treated to a couples massage. And the worries of the world were finally lifted away, if only for one hour. I finally felt a bit whole again and I could swear that I heard Joaquin whisper, “I wuv you, mommy”. I came home centered and relaxed. I ended the night well and woke up the next day feeling the same. It made me wonder what other practices I could find, besides prayer, that would help me feel that way. So far I’ve only found meditation and yoga, something I may start looking into if my new theology teacher doesn’t fail me. Oh, did I forget to mention that the awesome friend of mine from college that is helping me on my spiritual journey assigned me homework? And a lot of it! Am I intimidated? No. Excited? Yes. Confused? You better believe it. But I have her number on speed dial and plan to call her. Often. My friend, if you’re reading this, you’ve been warned.
And last night I ended up going to a bereavement class at my church. I was looking forward to it but freaked out as soon as I got there because two ladies, a mother and a daughter, were crying so, so much. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t making me uncomfortable. This reformed emotional basket case seems to hold it together, for the most part (not counting grieving diva moments), pretty well in front of others. So far, my moments come by myself, with my spouse or with my parents. Every so often, I tear up with fellow grieving parents. Yesterday, I let it all out with a good friend over the phone while at work after I felt defeated. She cried with me and promised to help me keep Joaquin’s fight going. But I was hesitant to cry in front of strangers.
As the meeting began, the mother that had initially left me shaken shared the grief of losing her son. And as she did, I said a quick and silent prayer. All I wanted to do was to hug her and never let her go. Perhaps, we could cry together. As I listened, I just couldn’t understand her pain. You may wonder, “But how? You son just passed away almost three weeks ago?”. But you see, everybody’s mourning style is different and their grief is different. And the situation is different. Even if her child had died from the exact same things as Joaquin did at the exact same age, I couldn’t possibly understand. It’s not my place to understand. It’s only my place to be patient, excuse her when she doesn’t act herself, to love her and pray for her. I teared up once in front of my new friends when I admitted I never thought I would be “that mother”. But I am. And just like Joaquin wore his scars proudly and with no shame, I will wear my battle wounds the same way too. I spoke of my journey and how beautifully painful and bittersweet it was. And then it hit me. My “moments” come like waves. Some so big they knock you down so deep you struggle to come up for air. And when I come up for air and dry myself off, I very well may act like a grieving diva. And so what? Deal with it. I know I am.