I lost my mom to cancer 17 years ago this year, but I feel like I’ve never been able to properly greave. I was 22 at the time and she was sick for 8 years before that, so many memories of her are of when she was sick. My family was never known to share feelings, even before my mom passed. Months after her passing, my dad told me to “suck it up.” After many years of struggling with this thought, I understand my Dad’s comment wasn’t because he didn’t care about her or me, but he was doing that best he could during that time (I understand this now with the help of Brene Brown).
After listening to your podcasts all summer and eventually joining SCS in December, I continue to struggle to wrap my head around my move from suffering to sadness, to something more neutral. I would like to get to a place where I can talk about my mom with family, honoring her memory and not end up in a puddle of tears. I both understand and appreciate the concept that nothing has meaning until we assign the meaning, and it’s not the act of my mom’s death that causes suffering. Somewhere I have thoughts, assigning meaning to her death, which in turn causes my pain/suffering. Identifying each of these thoughts, proves challenging.
I’ve been working through her death itself:
C: My mom died young (47)
T: It’s not fair
A: Buffering (Food, work)
R: Avoiding feelings
T: It was her time
A: Being with my emotions (journaling)
R: Acknowledging my emotions
However, I feel I’ve lost direction as I am unsure how to identify (each thought) and unravel them to create a more neutral, or less painful experience when I think about her now. I understand this will be a lot of thought work and I know I must rise to the challenge. I feel like my feelings surrounding her passing are like a huge ball of rubber bands. Each rubber band a different color; similar elastic qualities though entangled; with a slightly different struggle to remove each from the ball.
Today is her birthday and in honor of her memory, I have committed to working harder on my mental health.
p.s. In re-reading what I’ve just written, I believe I am assigning meaning of my mom’s passing to my family members and how they might be feeling (I am a very empathetic person). This now seems so unnecessary as I am responsible for my own thoughts and feelings and no one else. I need to stop it! 🙂 *Ode to the value of self-coaching.
Of course, I feel your insight on this would still be quite useful.