I’ve been thinking about mourning a lot lately. As recently as a hundred years ago people still dressed in black or wore armbands to mourn the loss of a family member and to display their state of mourning. A quick glance at wikipedia shows that in the United Kingdom:
“Mourning was worn for six months for a sibling. Parents would wear mourning for a child for "as long as they feel so disposed". A widow was supposed to wear mourning for two years and was not supposed to enter society for twelve months. “
I lost a child. I was in my element during his life. I felt like the last three weeks of his life were the best weeks of our family’s. My entire life revolved around caring for him and making sure we filled those weeks with love and memories. We had so much support back then.
Then Rowan died, Matt went back to work, and I had to help Evelyn readjust to “normal” life. My purpose in life now? I don’t know. I stopped everything. I gave up all the goals and dreams I had for myself because my son was more important. My identity was shaped around the care of this special little boy.
And when he died…we became so different from everyone around us. People stopped calling. We already felt so completely paralyzed after his death that the sudden end of support was deafening.
The very few who kept calling or texting – you were and continue to be invaluable. You will never know what you have done for me by just asking me how I’m holding up and listening.
So what is mourning for me?
It’s feeling lost.
I’m trying to build a new life. My old one is gone. I’m not who I was before. The old goals just don’t seem right anymore. I haven’t found a new purpose. I feel disappointment from others and I can tell that how I’m acting in social settings isn’t “right” but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do instead. Not being asked for help or to participate in things has made me feel completely useless even more than losing my son already did.
Maybe I should have just worn black. People may have had more care before they complained about certain things. Maybe they would have reached out to include me or forgiven me more often for social blunders or short tempers.
The truth is, I don’t feel lost anymore. I at least feel like I know which was is North, even if I’m not sure where I am or where I’m going.
I think maybe I’m out of the “mourning/grieving” period. I’m rebuilding in slow steps. One thing is abundantly clear. You can’t go back. I won’t be who I was. Never again. I’ve changed. Permanently. In many ways it’s a good thing, but I definitely have new flaws too. Flaws that are a part of who I am now.
I still care about the earth. I still pay great attention to the food we eat. I refuse to use chemicals to clean my home (vinegar and vodka work just fine). I still believe in meditation and helping those in need. I still believe in natural birth…and natural death.
I believe in forgiveness, and I believe in accepting apologies when they are offered.
I don’t believe pinterest has anything to do with being a good mother. I hate cable TV. I believe I don’t have time to waste.
I will always think about Rowan. I will always talk about him. I am a mother of two, not one. But, I’m ready to start foraging through life on my own path again. I’ll carry the burden, but I’ll be moving. One foot in front of the other.