Reflections on Two Years Since Mom’s Death

Tomorrow will be two years since Mom died. She’d languished in the nasty clutches of Alzheimer’s disease for a little more than eleven years and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit her eventual passing was as much a relief as it was wrenching.

Through the ensuing weeks, I was fortunate to have many family members, friends and, yes, even clients, around to support me. My husband and I relocated from Connecticut to Tennessee a year and a half earlier, so I wasn’t even nearby when she passed away… and it took us two days of driving to get back there. Along the way, I kept in touch with family and friends via email and text. I also found myself borne up on the prayers and support of dozens of Facebook friends. Aside from a few moments that stand out in my memory, much of our time there is a blur.

At the wake, we saw streams of people – many of whose faces I recognized but whose names I don’t recall. It was a steady flow of friends, neighbors, coworkers, clients, Dad’s coworkers, a state Senator, the daughter of one of my brother’s colleagues (from a job twenty years earlier), my husband’s former business partner, his office manager, our former pastor, our favorite waiter from our favorite Chinese restaurant (yes, really!)… UNICO members, my parents’ longtime friends and even their longtime friends’ grown children.

Afterward, Cousin Maria invited everyone back to her house, where she’d amassed a feast that could have fed 50 people. Socializing was the last thing I wanted to do, but I went because it afforded me a way to reconnect with family after being so long away. What a blessing that was! It was a little like being in a beehive – a constant buzz of activity – surrounded by people who’d known and loved me my entire life. And there’s something oddly comforting about being amid people who all have the same nose. Then there was the food. Oh, the food! Pasta, meatballs, chicken… every manner of Italian food, on platters piled teeteringly high with assorted deliciousness. Did I mention that Maria must have, in a former lifetime, been an Army cook?

If you asked Maria why she did that, she’d probably say, “We’re Italian. We feed people.” But it was more than that – what she did was a tremendous ministry to our family. She reached out and took a tangible step to help when we were immobilized by grief.

If you’re on the periphery of a loved one’s grieving process, there are concrete ways to help. There’s always a plethora of hugs and the obligatory “I’m so sorry” murmurings. And everyone says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Trouble is,  grieving folks are so numb at this point, they can barely think of what they might need, let alone conceive of articulating it – or reaching out to ask someone to help.

Fortunately, Jodi Whitsitt (a recently widowed mother of three) has provided a baker’s dozen of specific, real-world ways to help a grief-stricken loved one.

What are some of the ways you reach out to the newly bereaved in your life? Please share in the Comments section below.

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6 Responses to Reflections on Two Years Since Mom’s Death

  1. Rhoda Hiller says:

    Your reflections left in tears. I lost my Mom in 2013 and the entire trip to PA is still a blur in my memory. Thank you for sharing your private thoughts and emotional ride. No other death has such an impact as a mother’s death.

    • persnicketyproofreader says:

      Thank you, Rhoda, for commenting. You’re so right: A mother’s passing leaves such an impact. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. KC Frantzen says:

    I read a while ago that if allowed, you can shine shoes for the family. It’s something that they’ll need at various events and a mundane task most don’t take the time to do, especially in the midst of hive activity.

    Never forgot that but hope to be able to do that for someone some day. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Hope you will submit for our Writer’s Group publication. It’d be a good one. 🙂

    (((Hugs)))

    • persnicketyproofreader says:

      Hmm… I never thought about shoe shining. What a special detail that often goes overlooked, especially amid the swirl of activity and the haze of loss. Thanks for sharing that, KC.

  3. Carol Maikowski says:

    I lost my mom 2014, which is still a blur for me, and the tears still flow almost three years later. There is not one day that goes by, that I don’t think of her and wish her back, although I know that my wish will go unanswered, it still hurts even now and my heart will be forever broken without her. I believe she played a major role in her own funeral because everything she wanted fell right into place, but my best friend Lisa helped me to prepare everything that the funeral home needed, since I was completely out of it, so having her with me to pull everything together was a huge help. Her repass had lots of people who knew her and loved her through the years, so even though I was out of it, she had a beautiful send off. I miss you mom.

    • persnicketyproofreader says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Carol. I’m sure it was a difficult time for you. Your friend Lisa sounds like a wonderfully compassionate woman. In times of grief, it’s such a comfort to have friends who can see to the details while we’re in our personal fog.

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