Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anniversary Grief: The Loss of Innocence

I'm tired of writing about grief.

Perhaps I could fake my way through a perfume 
review instead.

Like I've ever written a respectable perfume review.

Still, I could give it my best shot. 

But I'm just too tired.

Mom's death anniversary is looming heavy and my emotions are all over the place.  I'm fatigued, distracted, irritated and everything makes me cry.

Like re-runs of Scrubs.

Memories of this time last year are excruciating as Mom was dying before our eyes.  Watching her process, I learned one thing: it's hard to die.

The will to live takes over after everything else is gone.

Not that Mom wanted to die.  She fought long after losing the ability to walk, to think and even to breathe.  Sadly, I was ready to let her go before she was ready to give up the fight.

She never gave up.

After each visit, I would fantasize that Mom could die peacefully in her sleep after she had said an eloquent goodbye.  Death wrapped up with a bow at exactly the right moment and in exactly the right way.

If there is such a thing, I wished it for her. 

And for us.

Instead, the day she died was spent trying to manage the situation with my father and my brother.  Later, when it was clear we were at the end, my sisters came, too.  Each detail of that day is etched in my mind forever. 

Some I hope will fade, some I hope never to lose.

Mom died on Saturday, February 20th at 8:20 pm.  I know this because I checked my watch after she drew her last breath.  This detail seemed really important at the time.

Here's the thing about grief: it traps you in a whirlpool of churning emotions.  I am exhausted from thinking about, feeling sad about and even blogging about my mother.  And yet, here I am, immersed in this reality, unable to step out of the pool just yet.

And grief has changed me.  Now, I worry more about losing those I love; my father, B-man, my son or one of my siblings.  This energy is unfamiliar territory and new to my radar screen.

Still, I hang onto the hope that the one year mark will bring a shift or at least a softening of the loss.  Perhaps it will even spark a new level of healing.

But part of grieving is losing one's innocence and confidence - at least temporarily - that life will turn out and everything will be okay in the end.

Oh, how I want that back.

Image from


  1. Josephine I wish I could provide words of comfort. Instead, all I can say is that you are not alone in feeling the grief from the death of a loved one. It does get easier in some ways, but in other ways that pain never truly fades, and nor should it, in my opinion. It's perfectly normal to feel these turbulent emotions and everyone deals with this in their own very personal way. Hang in there, we're thinking of you at this difficult time.


  2. I do feel for you, Josephine, and if my experience from a perspective of 12 years down the line is anything to go by, I promise that the loss will soften with time. You won't ever step out of your pool, but you will edge nearer to its shallower waters as the years go by. I think it is lovely that you got to be with your mother at the end, even if her passing was not the "perfect" send off you had wished for her. I hope you can draw some comfort from that, and from the happy memories of your mum in her prime.

  3. Josephine, I wish I were as articulate as Vanessa and Michael, but I am not. All I can say is that you are not alone and we're thinking of you.


  4. I am so very sorry.
    And it is so true what you write about the intense worry about losing others. That first tremendous loss robs us forever off peace of mind.

  5. You have described in such a beautiful way the loss of innocence that continues to haunt us all these painful days and months later. I long so much for the way we were; and grieve for the people we used to be. Sharing your heart is what makes this blog exceptional...beautiful post.

  6. Michael and Vanessa articulated perfectly what I have learned about losing a loved one (like you, a parent). Since I can't say it any better, I'll just thank them for stating it so well and take this moment to send you warmest wishes of love and peace to help you through, Josephine.

  7. Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments. They have touched me deeply. I feel so fortunate to have friends throughout the world who share their own experience with me.

    I will take your strength into the next week.

  8. It had been about four months since we lost our son. I remember in my daze standing in a grocery store and kind of waking up. I just stared as people moved around me, thinking "what is wrong with these people". Can't they see the huge letter D etched into my forehead? Can't they see how changed and different from them I am? They are so innocent, those that haven't lost someone they loved SO much. It has been six years now and I find peace in finding others to share with and help through their grief. Through your blog you not only express your feelings but allow others to share with you. I hope you find great comfort in that. A circle of grievers, helping each other.

  9. My friend died on January 25 2010, so the anniversary thing is looming over me too.

    I like your perfume reviews. They're like haiku.

    Wish I had something else helpful to say.

  10. Josephine,

    i am so sorry about the loss of your mother. I lost my mother on march 20th 2007. Its coming up on 4 years now and when i get down its the memories & pictures i have to keep smiling. The loss of a loved one is a feeling you cant describe unless you have had the experience. they way you described your loss is almost exact to my experience loosing my mother. Each detail of that day is etched in my mind forever as well. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. your mother is always with you in spirit and she is a piece of you.

  11. Josephine

    My heart goes out to you, grief over the loss of a loved one can be so excruciating and debilitating that it is hard to endure. You are very brave for sharing your experience.



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