Last week was the four years since my mother-in-love passed away from cancer. Four. It seems like last week. It seems like a lifetime ago. And of course I always think about her that week, just like I also think about her on Mother’s Day and her birthday and my husband’s birthday. Just like I think about her on a weekly basis. It’s been four years and I don’t remember when it happened but I finally quit reaching for my phone to text her but I’ve never stopped remembering her. But I don’t usually GRIEVE her on those “big days” though. In fact last week, even while remembering the last 12 hours, I felt buoyant. I found myself smiling. In part, that’s because even in her last hours, hard as they were, she gave us reasons to smile through our tears. We can celebrate that she’s not suffering anymore, that we will see her again. So I’m not surprised necessarily when those milestone days don’t cause tears. But a couple of weeks ago, my supervisor’s father died after a long and difficult struggle with cancer. And when he sent our team the email with an ADORABLE picture attached, I found myself sobbing at my desk. Not just crying. Quietly sobbing. Once I gathered myself, I went to my husband’s office to let him know (we work at the same organization) and I found tears leaking down my cheeks again. Thankfully I was still clutching a tissue. I cried off and on all day. I had worked there for a month. I don’t know my supervisor that well and I had never met his parents. But I realized, I missed my mother-in-love. Grief rolled over me like a freak storm.
That’s the most recent example. Four years and while it doesn’t happen as often (or as dramatically), the most mundane moments will send me into a tailspin of missing her. It might last a few seconds or a few minutes. It might result in tears or just a tightness in my chest. But it’s never something I can prepare for. Grief is a strange thing isn’t it?