Monday, November 14, 2011

Momma Masks

Peanut -

Momma was home sick today, with a touch of the flu piled on top of general pregnancy and grief exhaustion.  It's strange - I work from home most Fridays, and am home a lot over the weekends, but today was somehow...different.  After taking some conference calls, and catching up on work e-mails, I found myself not only unable to rest, but also unable to stay away from your bedroom.  Momma spent a frenzied hour in your room, searching for something - anything - that still smelled like you.  When my search turned out to be generally fruitless, I sat on your personalized Pottery Barn futon (a Christmas gift from last year) and cried my heart out.

The tidal wave of grief ebbs and flows, some days washing over me with such force I'm worried I'll drown.  Today was one of those days.  In an effort to find some comfort, I pulled all the grief support books down from our top bookshelf (a precarious move for my unbalanced, pregnant self).  In the course of one afternoon I re-read six of the books, searching for answers, support, a roadmap.  Something.  What I found...nothing but confirmation that this is all "normal."

Days like today are actually good for Momma's brain and heart.  Without the pressure of work, or friends and family around, I was free to leave all my Momma Masks on their shelf.  Today was raw, unfiltered Momma mourning.  I use that word - mourning - very intentionally.

Grief is what I carry with me, day in and day out.  It lives in my heart, my soul.  I don't expose it freely, yet it has become my constant companion.  Grief is what will live within your Momma until the day we meet again in Heaven.

Mourning is my public, external expression of that grief.  Mourning is what I exposed without shame in the first days, weeks, months, after your death.  But, once the American culture's accepted mourning period ended (between 4-6 months) and Momma was back to work full-time, mourning was replaced by the Momma Masks.

The Momma Masks help navigate the day-to-day.  They help others feel more comfortable - like they have the old "me" back.  But, they hurt after an extended period of time.  Their fit is unnatural.  Sometimes it's hard to breathe behind them.  They can feel brittle, hollow.  And, a "day off" from them is a truly welcome occasion.  A chance to breathe...just breathe and cry without reserve.  To mourn.

Peanut, I hope you felt me with you today.  I held your froggies and shared some tears of love.  I rubbed your urn and traced the outline of the carved teddy bear over your name.  I turned on and played with your toys.  And, I pulled you close to my heart.  Loving you, missing you, aching for the moooooooooon and back.

- Momma

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