And that is profoundly confusing for me. I have always had words. I was the second-grader who got in trouble for bringing a book into the girls’ bathroom so I could get to the end of my chapter. I was the third-grader whose teacher pulled her aside to say, “Honey, I know you have a lot to say, but can you practice waiting to say it later?”
I have always processed the entire world verbally. If I didn’t talk about it, I wasn’t sure it had really happened.
But I am out of words right now.
I feel stiff. I feel frozen. I feel as if every one of my deepest and most profound emotions is stuck in my throat.
I am learning that grief presents itself in strange ways.
When my Dad died, I cried and mourned and wrote about him and talked about him and somehow put everything in place.
But with the death of my Mom, I find myself at a loss for words.
One of the many things that Mom and I shared was our love of the spoken and written word. We were both readers. We were both writers. We both preferred verbal puzzles to mathematical ones.
We were also both more emotional than logical. We both struggled to force our hearts to follow our brains, instead of the other way around.
And now she is gone.
And I have no words.
I have tried and tried and tried again to come to this safe space where I can write just what I feel. But I can’t quite get my arms around the hugeness of the hole in my world.
I have no words.
Mom was graceful, even when she was unaware of that grace. She was stylish, as I can attest now that my sister and I have sorted through the 12 bags of her clothes.
Mom was opinionated. She was strong. She was fragile and breakable, and we all spent so much energy trying to protect her from the life around her. She was never able to fully grasp how much we loved her and looked to her to guide our way through this life.
I have no words to express the strange feeling that I have without her in my life.
One moment I feel like a balloon that has escaped its knot, rising and rising into the stratosphere with absolutely nothing to guide me.
The next moment I feel like the wise woman of my own village; the oldest and wisest, able to fold my mother’s lessons into my own.
I am here because I am afraid that if I stop writing, stop speaking, I will simply disappear. Without the reflection of my Mom in my mirror, am I really there?
I have lost my words.
I believe that they will come back. As I embrace my beautiful granddaughter and watch her falling into a good book, I see my Mom.
Life is a journey. Life goes on, no matter what we think about that fact.
My Mom is gone. For now, my voice has gone with her.
I will look to my children and to theirs, and I know that I will find it once again.
For now, I am here only to show that I am here.