Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writer's Workshop Wednesday ~ Michelle Michael

Welcome to Writer's Workshop Wednesday!  This is my way of paying it forward to all the people out there who want to start writing, but don't have their own blogs yet, or who are established writers that are looking to appeal to a different audience.  I have also opened this up to those who would like to post anonymously about topics that are too difficult to write about publicly. Each week, I will host one or two posts by different writers.

I hope that you enjoy this series, I hope you find some new writers to follow, I hope this helps them out and I hope we can all learn something from them!

This post was just sent to me today, though I've been hoping it would show up in my inbox for some time now. Writing has helped me process my own grief, and has connected me with so many people in this world.  Some of them are people I am lucky enough to know in real life, our relationship made stronger because of what we now know we share. Michelle is one of these new wonderful connections. Through telling my stories about my father, and her sharing the stories of her mother, we have connected as only the children wandering the Earth without a parent can. 

I'm so proud of her for doing this, for taking this chance and writing about her Mom. With love and support, I give you this beautiful piece by Michelle.

Kelly wrote a piece for her blog a few months ago, The Distance Between Then and Now. If you haven't read it already you should (or just read it again if you have.) I know it takes a lot of courage to write and share something so personal. When I read it I cried, and then re-read it and cried even more.

I thought about reaching out to Kelly, sharing with her how her post touched me, but was hesitant to open up at the same time. Days went by and I finally just felt compelled to write her. She graciously offered a guest post to share my thoughts as well. I'm so grateful for this opportunity! She has lost her father to cancer, I've lost my mother to Cystic Fibrosis. And although our experiences with the loss are entirely different, the sentiment remains the same. She just gets it, I felt like I could have written her post. My hope is that my feelings may resonate with someone, make them feel like the aren't alone, just like Kelly's words did for me.

Now that Mother's Day is approaching, I know there couldn't be a better time to let it all flow out. For me, this is the most difficult holiday of the year. I have so much to be grateful for, and I am. Immensely grateful. I have a wonderful MIL who regards me as her own and two amazing children. But every year when Mother's Day comes I feel the loss of my own mother more than any time of the year. The anxiety of the holiday overwhelm me, even weeks before.

Sometimes I feel swallowed by the grief of it all and just try to make it through the day, struggling to hold myself together... I just miss her more than I can describe and feel her absence more than ever. The waves of emotion, the ups and downs of this holiday are just torture on my soul.

My mom passed away unexpectedly from complications of Cystic Fibrosis a month before my 15th birthday. She was not just my mom, she was my best friend, my everything. She was in pain and uncomfortable every day as she struggled to breathe and live with CF, in an out of the hospital every month. She dealt with an abusive and controlling husband. Tremendous hardship on a daily basis. And she never complained. And all I knew every day was how much she loved me and that I was number one to her. I took care of her at a young age when no one else would and forged a special bond because of it. We were especially close, all we had were each other.

As the distance between then and now increases (especially as I've become a mother and entered my 30's), I am constantly reminded how much she taught me, how much her selflessness, strength and loving nature molded me to be the person I am today. I push myself further, take that extra time to really connect with my children on a deeper level, even at 11:00 at night after a long day. Because I remember that even laying in a hospital bed after the 5th surgery that year, alone and scared, she took the time to listen to me. To make me feel heard, important and loved. I hold myself to a higher standard because of her. I am better because of her. When times are hard, I reflect on her life, remember how she was always smiling for me and making me feel special.

Kelly spoke about the distance between then and now. She said,
"Time puts more miles between then and now, for sure, but it doesn't make things easier."

She's spot on.

It's been almost 17 years since I lost my mother. Distance doesn't make it easier, just different as you move on the best that you can. You learn how to cope with the emotions of it all. It's impossible to understand unless you've been through it. A beautiful moment becomes painful for a minute… or that moment is ruined completely. It's like a kick in the gut, sometimes a quick jab that you can quickly dismiss, sometimes it just doubles you over and you struggle to catch your breath.

The random song on the radio, the smell of perfume as you walk through a store, watching my MIL with my children. Reminded once again that my mother was never able to meet them. My children will never know this unbelievably strong, courageous and loving woman that raised me.

In writing this I realize that I must find a way make this holiday different this year. Embrace the grief but not to hold onto it too long, feel it and then move on. Immerse myself in my children and family, enjoy the day with them and honor my mother's memory by being strong just like she was. She wouldn't want me to wallow in sadness and grief, she would tell me to grab my kids and hold tight. To make them feel blessed to have me, just as I have felt blessed to have her for the little time I did.

Bring it Mother's Day. The distance between then and now has given me more perspective and strength.

I'm ready.

1 comment:

  1. heart goes out to you, Michelle. You were so terribly young when you lost your mother! I cannot even imagine it. I lost my father a few years ago to leukemia, but I am adult--I think I would have been totally devastated had I lost him at 15. I truly believe your mother can see you, and that she is proud of the young woman and wonderful mother that you have turned out to be. And you honored her beautifully in this post. Thank you so much for sharing a part of your heart with the rest of us.


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