My child-heart cries out, selfishly, as I sob:
“Mommy! Mommy? I want my mommy!”
Who will help me? Who else will love me so selflessly and endlessly, and do anything for me, simply because she can?
“My heart is broken, Mommy. Who can help me now, when it is your loss I mourn?”
I feel so shockingly alone without my mother’s presence in the background, always so capable, energetic, and willing.
How is grief different from self-pity?
But there’s a wiser voice offering a tempering perspective.
I really need my mother! I’m hurt because I’m broken. I ache where there’s something lost.
She’s a node in the network of friends and family; connections may have been severed. All the work she did there must be taken up by another; the strings of the web must be gathered and tied back in. I am at sea without her soundings.
Mom is an intricately delicate moving part at the center of the machinery of my life. Part of the heart, part of the soul, part of the mechanism of how I function. This must be mended for life to be whole, happy, workable.
Something has broken in me, and that’s what grief is.
Repairs may be rough or patchy; some bits may never be the same.
This, then, is the work of the motherless child: to set her scarred vessel on its course again. Whenever, however, that may be.
And, someday, I’ll go on.
Not quite as before, perhaps, but on the same headings my mother’s guidance helped me choose so long ago. My journey hasn’t changed, but I’ve lost a dear companion.
Mom died on July 11, 2019, at home with her husband and children. She will be sorely missed.