A friend once told me that parents should be the softest place to land for a child.
Undoubtedly, that’s what my mother was.
Although she passed away in March, 2014, I haven’t written about grieving until now. That’s not to say I haven’t felt the urge- I’ve felt a literal itch in my fingers to put my thoughts on paper… my experiences, what it’s like to suddenly be motherless at 26, and to grapple with the manner in which she left. The way my family has imploded.
I’ve put off writing about it like I’ve put off doing other things that bring me happiness…in an effort to sit deep into the grief, or, to prevent myself from being “too happy” while missing her, I don’t know. I’ve seen other people write about their grief with such courage and vulnerability, and a part of me has been afraid of breaking open in the same way. That opening up that wall that I’ve so carefully shut would be akin to peeling back layers on something that wasn’t quite ripe.
I’ve felt for some time now that my grief is on the cusp of spilling over, and trying to keep the waves at bay has been fruitless. (Triggers: music, handwritten notes, smells… oh- her smell- will do this to you). This is one of the many things people don’t tell you about grieving… that you feel closer to everyone you’ve never met who’s also lost someone because they can relate- and yet, you feel further away from everyone else who are closest to you. How do you explain to someone who’s idea of loss is an extended relative passing away at an old age that you have to cancel plans because you’re choking back sobs in your car in their parking lot, and you’re pretty sure your heart is actually breaking? How can you tell someone who’s complaining about their Mom being a bitch to stop it and appreciate her because she might be dead soon; to stop telling you “they know,” and “you’re so strong” because they don’t, and you’re not?
Losing someone catapults you into a club you wish you weren’t a part of and an island that you float on. I’m “lucky” that my partner has experienced the exact same thing, by losing Mary, his mother and the love of his life in 2011 to Cancer. (I tell him now that I had no idea how strong he was, and hope he can forgive me for trying to be empathetic when I had no fucking idea and should have said so). Although I have met a lot of these people, I’ve found few people can talk about grief, and even fewer are comfortable listening.
My mother was my softest place, and I’m dedicating this blog to her. Raw, unedited and potentially polarizing, I expect the posts will resonate with some, and repel others. Above all, I hope it helps a reader to know that it’s okay to talk about death, grief, and life after losing someone.
2 thoughts on “The Softest Place to Land”
I think this is brave and compassionate of you to open to others. For other and for yourself. Being candid is hard, especially when it’s something so personal, but you do it with honest grace and a welcoming openness Hannah. I look forward to reading the words that you choose to share. Xo
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I am a friend of Kim’s and am thankful for her passing along the link to your blog. I am a member of the club you refer to feeling like I lost my soft place to land far too soon as well. I am also a person who has taken to writing a blog as an outlet to release my raw and untapped feelings. What I have learned from my experience is that this outlet creates a catalyst for people who are less comfortable about talking about death and its impact, to have a deeper understanding of where I come from, making it easier to break the ice. You are a wise and wonderful writer who will without a doubt have a profound effect on others through your gifts. Not to mention how incredibly therapeutic you will find this process. Thank you for sharing such a personal perspective on such a personal experience. Grief is an amazing and difficult process that we humans are granted as a gift. Embrace it. Nothing but good will come of it.
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