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Don’t Leave Me Breathing

(I wrote this on September 26, 2012 – about ten months after my mom’s death. Everything I wrote then felt too personal to share, but now after time has gone by it feels good to look back at the healing that has happened and also to remember how raw the grief was for so long.)

I am so afraid of the grief leaving me.

The weather is starting to cool off a little bit here in Texas. Funny that it being in the eighties is cooling off, but that’s how it is here. September is nearing an end. Last year at this time mom and I were dancing together from the nursing home to the cardiologist to different hospital stays. It was like a terrible jig in which the steps got harder and the music got terribly unpleasant and we tried to stay together until ultimately, we collapsed in a heap of silence and stillness.

I miss her so deeply and fully. It’s the biggest feeling I can feel anymore – this grief and this emptiness. I can feel other things, surely – pride in my children and joy in the things they do. I feel love for them and Chad. I feel peace in my work and my church and I can feel annoyed when people disagree with me or if things don’t move at a pace I enjoy. But the only feeling that has really defined me for the last year is this grief.

But sometimes now, and this is the scary thing: I feel like I might actually survive it. And if I survive it, then I will come out on the other side somehow. I feel like the strands of this darkness are getting more slippery and I know it is God healing me – but I am terrified of it.

“Don’t leave me breathing,

no, not alone,

There’s so much more I meant to tell you.

I went by with flowers just to see,

But the granite told me you’re still gone.” 

(from the song, “So It Goes” by Chris Pureka)

As long as I keep carrying this sadness I’ll know it was true that I loved her. The empty place inside me is proof that maybe it is possible I can slowly disappear, too. Sometimes I wish for that. Or I wish I wished for that. It’s just this beautiful life distracts me. It’s hard to wallow too much when there are little boys to love and blessings all around.

The part of me that died when she died is dear to me. I don’t want it to live again. I want that empty space to remain as a monument to her. I don’t want it to be filled. The ache of it reminds me of all I have lost – all that I had when I had a mom so beautiful.


Pastrgrrl – September 26, 2012


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