The Loud One woke up cranky and lethargic, with a fever. Happy Dude was not so happy when two poop explosions (editor’s note: we’re now up to four) left him with a terrible diaper rash. And the Nibbit… well, he’s just been a little bit extra nibbity all day long. I forgot it was Beach Day at school, spilled rodent food all over the floor and then stubbed my toe trying to clean it up.

Yup, today sucks. But it’s April 11th so it all makes sense.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my mom’s death.

Side note: If right now you’re saying, “Oh geez, not another post about her mom,” I say to you the following, in the nicest way: I warned you in the last post this one was coming. If you’re looking for parenting foibles, don’t you worry, I’ll be back with plenty of those really soon.

I completely GET IT if you can’t do negativity today… maybe today is your birthday or maybe you’re just feeling so happy that it’s getting warmer or maybe it’s the anniversary of your first Starbucks drink – what? You don’t celebrate that?  If that’s the case, I do not want to bring you down. Signoff and come back in ten days. I promise I’ll be back with a fun kids-really-know-how-to-screw-up-a-vacation post.

But for me, it’s a shitty day. It’s a symbolic shitty day, but for some reason, the symbolism somehow always manifests itself in fevers and poop explosions and stubbed toes. And I can’t speak for everyone that has lost a loved one, but talking about my Mom and grief – and even more so, writing about it – makes today slightly less shitty. (Not to mention that I know she loves the attention…)

I have debated whether or not this blog – a place mostly intended to make light of parenting difficulties and my massive flaws in managing them – is a place for it (grief, drama, sappiness, sadness) and then I have decided that yes, yes it is. Because it’s alllll connected….

OK, on that existential note, let’s move on.

Grief is tricky.

It’s true that time heals. After a loss, every moment of every day is painful. That gets better. You start having more OK moments than not-OK moments. Then, some happy ones creep in. You start laughing more and the shock waves of sadness come less often. Not never – it won’t ever be never – but less often. (I was channeling Taylor Swift there for a minute.)

BUT (and here’s where I get REALLY Debbie Downer)…

There is one way in which the feeling of loss gets worse, deeper. At least in my case, it’s the fact that as time passes and the years go by, the amount of life I have lived without my Mom has increased, so I experience more and more important life moments, and therefore create more memories, without her. That is very, very sad. Therefore, my grief is worse. (Wow, that was kind of like math.)

In the ten years since my Mom died, a LOT of life-changing shit has happened to me.

I re-met KJ (in fact, it was my Mom’s funeral that brought us back together… I like to think of it as her final act in my life… but that’s a different post), planned a wedding, got married, had a baby, moved to the suburbs and had two more babies and I simply cannot believe I’ve done all of that without her.

I’ve lived an entire grown-up lifetime without her.

None of this is new… I wrote about all of it right here. I wrote about how hard it is to be a mother, without a mother. And that will never change.

Because that’s how grief works. You’re mostly fine until it sneaks up on you out of the blue one day and knocks you down.

The other day, Happy Dude was hacking up a lung and I wanted to give him cough medicine, but it was labeled, “Age 4 and under: do not give.” I debated whether he was too young… yet, he weighs as much as some four-year olds, so it must be fine. Right? There are a lot of people I could have called to ask for advice – my sister, friends, his pediatrician – but I wanted my Mom. She’s not here. So I cried.

I know I do not have to detail all of the events that make me miss my Mom. Because so many of you are living through them as well. If you’re lucky enough to have your Mom with you, than you get it. And if you’re not, than you get it more. (And if that’s the case, I hope you’ll join me for Margaritas on Mother’s Day.)

I felt it after I had each of my kids. I had the normal “baby blues” to a certain extent – but it was coupled with a feeling of complete homesickness that I know came from missing her.

And there it is. Today, I am homesick for my Mom.

A few days ago, on her birthday, we had a toast to DiDi at dinner. I heard some of the same questions I’ve heard before from the kids… is DiDi in heaven? (Yes.) Do you wish you could see her? (Very much so.) I missed her, but I laughed at my kids talking about their visions of heaven. I wished she was there to see them, to meet them, but I didn’t cry.

Most days are easier. Some days are hard.

Some moments are impossible.

Grief is tricky.


14 responses »

  1. oh’s ok that you keep writing these posts, we all laugh with you so why not cry with you too? I miss Di too and I feel for you. thanks for the reminder of such an important day and such an important woman. it keeps her memory alive for all of us. big hugs today and always. xoxox

  2. I always read your new posts as soon as I see them come in. I had a feeling this one was not going to be one of your usual hilarious parenting foibles posts. Maybe it was because of the “Grief” title, I’m not completely sure.

    I have to tell you, I started crying at the beginning. I know you don’t know me, I’m an old classmate of Anne Heilmann (Gosh I hope you know her, otherwise I have no idea how I got to your blog), so that may seem weird that I got so emotional. I was crying in anticipation of the hurt you were going to describe, the hurt I would feel if my mom had been gone all this time while my adult life charged on, and crying over the guilt I feel that I can move on from your post and live the rest of my day knowing I’ll probably talk to my mom later and plan on seeing her on Saturday.

    I am so sorry that you lost your mom. I am sorry that I get to see or talk to mine everyday. You deserve to still have her here, as do your children. I’m not sure what else to say, because absolutely nothing would make a dent in your grief…especially words from a stranger. But, I hope the sad part continues to fade, and the fun memories become and remain more prominent. You’re right, it’s tricky.

    • Alison, PLEASE do not apologize for getting to see and talk to your Mom everyday! I’m so glad you have her – and more importantly, appreciate that you do. Give her an extra long hug on Saturday in my honor.

      PS. We are NOT strangers… any friend of Anne’s is a friend of mine!

  3. I’m 62.5 years old and still miss my Mom….measure days since her death…and talk to her aloud or in my mind every day. Your Mom is part of you DNA and will always be a part of who you are and who you become.

  4. I feel for you Kris.
    It is true that grief gets harder when you’re starting your own family without your mother, and you will always carry her lost with you.
    All happiness and big happinings that comes with building family, hits back to that emptiness and pressure into your heart. Don’t forget that she is with you in your heart.
    I would love to take margarita with you on Mothers Day! To celebrate our wonderful mothers.
    Tomorrow is a new day being a mother 🙂
    See you then!

  5. Kris

    I don’t know you very well but the way you express yourself and reach out to connect with people is truly a gift. Your mother obviously did a great job raising you. My mother is my best friend and I often think about what life would be like without her. My heart hurts for you. Thank you for not letting me forget to appreciate every day I have with my mother.


  6. That was a really special post. Thank you for taking the time to write it. You had me crying right away. My mom is here — and I cannot imagine bringing up my children without knowing she’s just a phone call away — and would be on the next flight if I asked. I know one day I won’t be so lucky – and it makes me feel like I can’t breathe. Hugs to you — and many thanks.

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