Trigger warning – Mondays are always hard, but today is harder than most, and not just because the world is a mess. If today’s post on grief and loss is too much for you, I completely understand. I’ll see you next time!
mourn·ing | \ ˈmȯr-niŋ \ noun
1: the act of sorrowing
She is still in mourning for her dead husband.
2a: an outward sign (such as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s death
lots of people there, and only one man in full mourning
— Arnold Bennett
b: a period of time during which signs of grief are shown
after a long mourning, resume their ordinary dresses
— Henry Reed
2b gets me. Well, it doesn’t “get” me (does anyone?), but it’s only fair, since I don’t “get” it either.
What exactly is “a period of time”? Or, to be more specific – how long should we mourn?
According to the bible, we should mourn for 30 days, or 70, or “many days” depending on who died. Well, that was helpful.
According to Karen Roldan’s post on grief and loss, “various cultures have formal mourning periods of…up to three years (but) one year is a generally accepted mourning period in the US.” What the actual F?? What is wrong with people in the US? (don’t answer that).
When I was young, I thought a year was long enough. As my brother says, you give yourself time to get angry/sad/mad, but if there’s nothing you can do about it, you let it go (to his credit, he wasn’t talking about grief, but it fits). I believed that a year (or two, maybe three at the max) gave you plenty of time to move from denial to acceptance.
Boy was I wrong – and not just because Time is an asshole and a year doesn’t last nearly as long as it used to.
Today is my mother’s 27th deathaversary. I still can’t accept it. My mom wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty awesome – just ask my friends. As a teenager it bugged me to no end that she would TALK to them, but they remember her still.
My mother’s door was always open – and not just because houses built during the 60s were just weird low-ceilinged boxes. If you fell and scraped your knee or needed a mid-day snack, you were welcome. Our father traveled a lot for work, so she was one of the original “single mothers” who managed to get my brother and me to school/work/dance recitals/soccer practice without a hair out of place (thanks aqua net!). She was from Oklahoma, and definitely brought her sense of Southern hospitality with her to Southern California. She loved it when our house was full – full of kids playing in the yard or snacking at the table or staying up all night at a “Sleepover”, full of adults chatting and playing cards and eating and drinking and laughing and skinny-dipping (after the kids had gone to bed). Her heart was huge, and she loved everyone – even people she didn’t know. As she put it, strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met. She didn’t care who you loved, the color of your skin or what religion you did or didn’t follow – if you needed a place to stay or a mom who loved you unconditionally, she was there. She was loving and supporting and kind, and her only fault (well, the only one I’m willing to share) was that she didn’t know how truly special she was.
It’s been more than a year (or three) and I still mourn. I still pick up the phone and start to dial. Not that I’d ever get through – she was always on the phone.
I miss you Karen Maron.