Good Grief

Early morning. The rain pitter-patters on my window. I’ve always loved the sound of rain, the plopping of drops hitting the roof, the swoosh of tires riding through wet streets. It’s a quiet noise, if that makes any sense. Synchronized, natural, rhythmic. I pull the comforter over my head; there’s a chill in the air. I listen to the raindrops. There and gone, a liquid solid as they fall, patches of water on the ground and treetops, eventually evaporating into nothing.  

Early morning. Too early really, but my thoughts wake me. I’m one of those lucky people who always have a flood of thoughts as soon as I’m semi-conscious. My mind enjoys variety though, so the thoughts are always different. I’m never quite sure what I will wake up to. This morning it was thoughts about my mother. These are never easy mornings or easy thoughts.

When they say that losing someone gets easier with time, this is true. It has been nine and a half years since I lost my mom. The sharp physical sensations in my heart, my limbs, all over really, the vivid memories of her being sick, the nights crying myself to sleep, these have lessened. Replaced by memories of the good times, our time together before she was sick. These are more toward the forefront of my consciousness now.

Sometimes these are painful too. It’s a different kind of pain, nostalgia, longing. Bittersweet. So celebrated but never to be had again. All we really are is a series of memories in the long run. I will never take that for granted again. Life is ephemeral; each moment passes quickly, a blur of color on a fast moving subway car. There and gone and all we are left with is the imprint of what once was.

I feel the heaviness of the sky, the way the rain hangs in the air before it plunges downward, hovering over like a tangible presence before it becomes precipitation. I’m thinking of her. So much has happened in my life since she’s been gone and so many things I want to share with her that I can’t. A tear runs down my face. Thankfully, I no longer have to depend on the sky to release the heaviness I feel, my own raindrops start trickling down my cheeks, relieving the build-up of grief this morning has invited.

It’s Facebook. It’s being in my forties. Some combination. My mother passed away at 63-years old. She was young. Now nearly 10-years later so many of my friends are losing parents. Every time I read or hear of someone’s loss, it reminds me of my own. It reminds me that we are all getting older and that loss is inevitable. We have no control. Life is transient. Period.

I never liked periods. Ask my co-author and editor: “You use commas a lot of the time when it should be a period.”  See we are who we are no matter what we are doing. I just made myself laugh. I sniffle.

I’m getting better at using periods in my writing. I guess as I get older I’m learning to accept the truth of our human existence. Or maybe I’m just becoming a better writer. I dunno. Something.

It was yesterday. I received another editorial review for my newest book and first novel. My debut novel.  5-stars and a magnificent write up. It felt great and I immediately wanted to tell my mother. She was the writer. She edited all of my college papers, some of my graduate school papers too. She read everything I wrote. I’d call her from Miami while working on my doctorate (before we had email) and she would listen to me read a twenty page research paper (on the phone!) to give me feedback. To share the process. She was the English major, she was the writer. Even though I have always written, I always saw her as the writer. She passed away before she wrote her first novel. Unlike me, my mother was busy in her forties raising a family. She put it off, but I believe she always thought someday she would write her novel. She certainly had the talent.

Now I’m the writer. I have written my first novel and have two more coming. And I’m just getting started. Tears pour out of my eyes. Excuse me, I need tissues this time. Big sniffle. I blow my nose.

It’s strange, or maybe it just feels contradictory that sometimes it is during the highest moments that I feel the loss most profoundly. I miss her. There is a space that is empty, that can never be filled. It is not suppose to be filled. When we lose someone close to us a piece of our whole self is taken.

It should be.

The rain still pitter-patters. I miss you Mom.


In loving memory of my mother, Rochelle Simon.

And to my family and friends who have endured significant losses.

To everyone who has lost a loved one and can relate.

To all of us.

We must love those close to us, all the time, every day. Moments only happen once. Make them matter.