The missing and the not missing…

I know for me, the feeling of loss comes and goes. As most people know, my mom was diagnosed with early onset-Alz when I was 22 years old. For the past 11 years I’ve watched my mother decline and have found myself ebbing and flowing in the various stages of grief over it. This is a topic that really fascinates me, and understanding that these different stages exist really do help me feel OK with whichever of the emotions I’m feeling at the moment.

Right now I’m definitely feel bummed about my mom in a way I honestly haven’t felt for a long time. I guess after her illness because more of a constant reality and then the norm, it was easy to just accept what was happening, especially because I really haven’t had much of a choice. But for whatever reason I’ve just been struck with such a strong sense of how things used to be, and what it was like when my mom used to care for me instead of the other way around. I always knew I still missed her, it’s a thing you just feel all the time, but suddenly I started to experience a sense of grief like I haven’t in a long, long time.

I guess it would seem logical since Mother’s Day is tomorrow, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily it. I guess I just feel this strong, overwhelming sense of my mom all around me right now, in a way I haven’t for a long time.

People try to say, “that’s because your mom is always with you!” but it’s hard to hear that, and honestly, a little annoying, too. (I’m curious to know what people with loved ones who’ve already passed on think about it). To me it’s hard for the same reason the idea of having a soul/life after death is now hard for me–I’ve always been a bit removed from my faith, but have always appreciated it–I guess to quote the most basic girl quote of all, “I’m spiritual, not religious.” And I guess that’s true, although being raised Catholic, I still feel Catholic, even though I don’t actively practice (especially with Poppa Frank in office, since his idea of Catholic best aligns with my own…)

In all my time I’ve questioning, of how God exists, of whether or not there’s an “afterlife”–I’ve never really questioned whether a soul exists–I feel like it’s so easy to see it in people that it’s not really a question. But when I think about the way I understand the body and soul to interact, how we are vessels until we are through here and then that spirit releases–well, I can’t help but wonder what is the current fate of my mom’s soul? Is she already gone? Is she trapped within this new person that exists in her place? Or is she in some limbo, where half of her is pulled out already, and a little lingers on, patiently waiting to be reunited with the other half.

I can’t honestly say which of those options makes me feel better, or if any of them do…

Less existentially speaking, I just really fucking miss my mom. I miss the way she loved classic and folk rock and shitty pop. How she was more in touch with “cool” TV shows than I was (She and my friends used to always talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer together), and loved reading Janet Evanoich novels, and really liked Ghost stories. She was funny, a lot more funny than I even knew, until I hear stories from old friends and colleagues and I start to get it, start to better understand how we’re linked, what parts of me come from here.

I wish she could have been there for my marriage, for my divorce, for the relationships and the accomplishments and the fuck ups since. I wish I could know if we would have gotten along as I got older, if I would be feeling as sad about losing her if I knew her better, if we would have been friends. I wonder if her being gone would have given me the freedom to stay off the east coast longer, maybe stay off it for good. I wonder what other parts of my life would be different if that one is. It makes me realize how many parts of my life her illness has affected, how completely and utterly changed I am because of it.