The midwest winter this year has been very harsh.
We donâ€™t normally have sub-zero temperatures, but a week ago we were hit with the polar vortex and made staying inside a necessity for safety. Being forced inside for any length of time is enough to drive one crazy, especially for how things have been around the corners of my mind lately.
I hate winter. I truly, deeply, hate it. The bitter cold wind, the dirty grime of the salt-covered roads, the gray sky; everything with this season reminds me of death.
Because of this, I find it fitting to have a season like this as I go through a season like this. Itâ€™s been 16 weeks since mom died, and there have been a few very rough spots.
The worst was around the three-month mark. January 12 was a very low day for me. It was emotionally debilitating, and when it hit me it really came out of nowhere. There was a point that day when I took a shower and laid down in the tub. I didnâ€™t have the energy to stand. I felt so broken. I cried so much. And the strangest thing is I canâ€™t fully explain why. I suppose that was simply the day my mind chose to grieve, and my body was forced to submit.
I wonder how I have looked to people around me. Iâ€™m sure in my day-to-day life I’ve looked like I was â€œdoing fine.â€ I was not.
I decided to get some help. On the recommendation of a friend, I sought out a counselor. Iâ€™ve had a few sessions in the last month now, and I think itâ€™s helping. Ironically, we donâ€™t talk much about momâ€™s death. Instead, weâ€™re talking through other things that have been on my mind for awhile now. Itâ€™s been good. Iâ€™m going to keep going for awhile and see what happens.
It seems that this event â€” death,Â grieving, the whole process â€” has cracked something open, and now I’m dealing with some personal things that I’ve not fully processed before.
But this is not a bad thing.
I have started working out again. Iâ€™m not going full bore, but I am committed to getting some exercise at least three times a week. I have found that exercise makes me feel good. Since feeling good has been in short supply lately, it’s high on the list of Very Good Things To Do.
I have become a lot more empathetic to others going through the same circumstances. Two of my co-workers have had parents die in the last month, and as soon as I heard I immediately felt deep concern. I sprung into action. I’ve spoken to both of my co-workers. I’ve given them the nudge: “No, really, you’re going to need someone to talk to, and I am here when you do.” If you have co-workers, friends, or family who are dealing with grief, even if they seem â€œfine,â€ give them some grace and space. Check on them. They need you.
One day I was watching some water forming a whirlpool, which took me back to memories of how us kids would make giant whirlpools in my parents’ above ground pool. And then, instant tears.
But this is not a bad thing, either.
In the aftermath of momâ€™s death, in the throes of this winter, I have found myself to be seeking healing. I am starting to see what a future of healing looks like. I’m not there yet, and it’s certainly going to take more time, but I see a path.
I’m going to walk it and see where it goes.