We were in the car. He was driving too fast. We started to swerve. My mom yelled. He gasped. As he lost control I braced for the crash.
The phone rang and snapped me awake.
My stepmom answered it. “Oh hi Pauline. Yes. Oh no. Oh that’s terrible. Ok… Ok…. Ok…Bye.”
She sunk onto my bed. With a big sigh she started to talk. Her words were clear yet they blended together into something unintelligible. I knew what she was trying to say but I needed to hear the words.
She gently put her hand on mine as she said, “Honey I am so sorry. Your mom is in heaven.”
I was 16.
What now? I wondered.
Happiness. Love. Peace.
Are these the words you use to describe your emotions when someone is no longer part of your life??
or would you use words like sorrow, anger, regret, and depression?
or maybe, like me, you’d use all of these words and more. Maybe, like me, you were surprised to experience such a range of wildly different emotions when someone you cared about was gone. Maybe, like me, you were shocked that grief lasts at least a year… that holding a memory of someone in your heart can be joyful…that sadness hits you the hardest at the times you expect it the least.
That wild rollercoaster of emotions? It lasts a year.
A Rabbi shared this wisdom with my family. Grief can last a long time, but it always lasts a year. When you flip the calendar and see the date of a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or other memorable day — the absence of a loved one hits you all over again. Someone you shared special moments with is no longer by your side. You realize again and again that person is no longer physically with you. You relive the goodbye, the moment you knew it was complete. The feelings flood back in waves. All at once.
The most surprising part of it is….