Riding the Wave


Hello, everyone. I thought I’d touch base,say hi, see how you’re all doing.

Yesterday was the three-month anniversary of Mom’s death. Grief is like the ocean, rising and falling, and the one grieving is like the beach, taking what comes. Massive rollers or easy ripples, it ends up being all the same.

Mostly, I’m doing okay. Last week was bad, for no reason I can discern. She was everywhere, in everything I did, everything I looked at. So many memories, some of painful, others indescribably sweet. Both kinds sweep the legs right out from under me.

Last month, I attended an Alzheimer’s support group meeting, just to let them know that Mom had passed, to talk about grief and all that comes with it. Another member had also lost her mother, so we commiserated. She is in a very difficult place, much worse than mine, and I wish her peace and healing. She said she wouldn’t be back, that it’s too soon. And, in truth, she may need a different sort of group now. I thought I might keep attending, both to process what’s occurred and to offer any helpful insight I might, but it’s too soon for me, too. I need a break. Part of my brain says I’m being selfish, but I’ve sense enough to tell that stupid inner voice to shut the hell up. I’ve earned some “me” time. Besides, there’s a new group member who is really caustic, very brittle, having an extremely difficult time dealing with her mother’s illness. She’s so raw that it’s almost physically painful for the rest of us to be in the room with her. I feel for her, but she needs more help than I can offer. I hope she gets it.

I’ve discovered–and this’ll undoubtedly sound strange–that I’m grateful for my grief. There was a time in my life when I thought I’d never mourn my mother at all. We went through a difficult period and I really believed that I wouldn’t care, that I would in fact feel relief when she passed. I cannot express how grateful I am that we found each other again, spoke of our hurts, made our apologies, and received forgiveness in return. The measure of peace I feel from that experience is not to be believed. I regained my love for my mother and that’s something I can hold to my heart for the rest of my days.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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4 Responses to Riding the Wave

  1. bluestempond says:

    I wonder how I will feel in the same situation. My sister-in-law just lost her mother after years of physical (bot not mental) break down, and she cannot stop the tears. When my brother told Mother that his wife’s mother had died, she said, “Lucky her.” It’s hard to know what to feel, so I guess I’ll take it as it comes, as you are trying to do.

    • Yes, you take it as it comes, but find things to bolster you along the way. Walk. Get out in nature. Hug people. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a support group. If the first one doesn’t fill your needs, try another. They really do help – I didn’t think they would, but they do. My heart goes out to your sister-in-law. SHE definitely needs to talk to someone, perhaps a grief counselor. Or she could write about what she’s feeling. If she wants to write to me, I’d be happy to share what little bit I’ve learned. We are not alone.

  2. adina says:

    “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.’ Isaac Asiimov

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