There’s this duality to everything I’ve experienced in the last week. Aching heartache. Overwhelming relief. A constant lump in my throat and a very limited ability to actually cry.
Remorse. Joy. Gladness and anger. Confusion. Raw, savage clarity—the kind you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
Goes something like this.
Trigger (and there’s a million right now because this is so fresh; I didn’t know I had so many).
A familiar pang of loss and hurt.
Habit: attribute it to mom. Twenty-seven years of experience says the most immediate thought is always: you can’t talk to her, you don’t know where she is. She could be dead.
She is dead.
Acute pain and a papercut’s worth of relief.
I don’t have to worry anymore.
I can’t talk to her anymore.
I wish I could talk to her.
Her pain is gone.
Remember this funny thing she did?
Remember this tender moment you made yourself forget?
Remember when you didn’t find it hard to breathe just by thinking about her in passing?
Maybe you were annoyed.
Maybe you were sad.
But you weren’t this…
I find myself forgetting for small periods of time, feeling like this is normal already. Because it’s been normal more often than not with her. But not this…
And when I remember, for a heartbeat, splinters shove into the nailbed of my soul.
Because there was always the hope that I’d talk to her again. Eventually, I would get to say all of those things that had built up in the last few years. I’d tell her that I understood mental illness a lot better. I’d get to tell her that I see so much of her in myself now that I’m older it scares me sometimes. I’d tell her that trauma begets trauma and I get it.
I would tell her that I forgive her.
These things plunge into my weary heart, already so burdened with our shared history. I know them. Maybe somewhere, she now knows them too. Maybe our souls will meet again on a plane the eye cannot see.
So many maybe’s. Much internal conflict. So many questions. Some I won’t have answers to for months. Some I won’t have answers to ever.
And I must find a way to be okay with that. I must find a way to move past the conflicting emotions, the maybes, and the things I’ll never get to say. The things I will never hear.
For now, I’m not sure what that looks like. I’ve been skipping through my days and trying to find the most normality I can. Inside, it feels like things will never be normal again. This sad is exhausting, a burden I don’t want to carry.
While I do feel I’m capable of living daily life and finding my way through the wreckage that is my heart, it’s still something that’s caught me off guard. It’s something the heart has no way to prepare for—not really.
I’m still reeling, for as much as it may appear to have set in.
I don’t think there’s a cure or even a treatment for this kind of pain. Talking about it doesn’t help. Avoiding it doesn’t help. Reminiscing helps until it doesn’t. Until it starts to make it worse. I feel trapped in a nightmare I can’t wake up from.
And at the same time: I am happy for her.
I’m sad that her life was sad, and comparatively short. I’m sad that I can’t say the things I wanted to say. I’m sad that she never met my son.
But I am so happy that she is finally at peace. So happy that she found rest. And, as my sister said: “At least her fucking back doesn’t hurt anymore.”
My other sister asked if it made her an asshole to feel relieved. I don’t think so. I don’t have to go to bed wondering what she’s doing to make it through each day. I don’t have to wonder if she’s dead somewhere. I don’t have to question her sanity. I’m relieved too.
I feel everything.
And I feel numb beneath it all.
This constant, crazy duality of emotion has my psyche a little off-kilter, but you know what? I’m dealing with it. I think Nita would be proud.