Grief Is Not Linear

Grieving is a weird thing…the way you can convince yourself that you’ve processed things properly and completely and then BOOM…you find yourself in the midst of an emotional breakdown.

My mother passed on January 1, 2015. Seems like every year around this time, I fall into something. This year it is manifesting as anger. I am pissed off about nothing. I find my patience is shorter than ever and I have that overall feeling of dread. It didn’t occur to me until after I had a shouting session with my adult son that maybe it is grief.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

C.S. Lewis

I went into therapy before she died (she refused further treatment), because I knew there was so much for me to process and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t run right over/through it the way I do with the most difficult things in my life. I knew that losing my mother was going to be the hardest loss of my life, our relationship was so complex, our love so interconnected to the deepest parts of myself.

I thought I did a good job. I allowed my feelings to just be, gave myself the space and time to let things ebb and flow. I made peace with the reality that was our complicated relationship. I learned a lot about myself, even ugly truths. But, in hindsight, I don’t think you can intellectualize grief and that is exactly what I was doing. Silly me. I thought since I sorted things out and didn’t cling to any feeling in particular, that I was okay.

And I am okay…mostly. Maybe it is perfectly normal for me to not be okay in the weeks surrounding the anniversary of her death. Maybe the heaviness that is lingering around everything these days is just a reminder for me to get in touch with myself and reflect on the love we had for each other.



After three years, I think I am starting to understand that I will probably never be “okay” again. I will forever be René, who lost her mother Shirley, and is never really going to get over that loss. I will still be René and my life will be good, but certain times of the year might just be heavy with remembrance.





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