After my mom died, a friend gave me a book called Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. It was several years — literally — before I was ready to read it. Not because I didn’t have time and not because my stack of books to read was long, but because the grief was still too raw. Too raw to read a book that is meant to help ease that grief. That’s pretty bad.
It’s true that time heals, though, and after a few years I was ready to delve into Edelman’s wisdom. While parts of the book were hard to read because they brought back a flood of memories and transported me back to the time of losing my mom, other parts reminded me that many other women were walking the same road, missing their moms every single day.
The single best thing I learned from losing my sweet mama is that no one can dictate another person’s grief. People grieve as differently as they live, and no one has the right to say “This is how it should be done.” There are no “shoulds” in the process of grieving, and if anyone suggests otherwise, walk the other way. You have my permission to be flat-out rude if need be.
I’m tickled and honored to again be a guest blogger on one of my all-time favorite blogs, Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. I’ve never met Marie, the bloggess, in person, but don’t have to be in her presence to know that I like her, that she’s good people, as they say in my neck of the woods. Marie’s blog was one of the first BC blogs I found after being diagnosed and joining the pink ribbon club, and through her I’ve “met” many other BC bloggers whose words and experiences enrich my life on a regular basis.
I wrote this post for Marie a while back, at the behest of another BC blogger friend, Lauren, who had the amazing idea of having BC bloggers “stand in the gap” for Marie while she dealt with her beloved mother’s failing health. Blog posts came from far and wide, and while Marie no doubt felt loved and relieved, those of us in the gap felt honored and happy to help. It wasn’t until I embarked on this cancer “journey” that I truly understood how it feels to help someone in need. Sure, I’ve minded my friends’ kids while they ran errands, and I’ve delivered home-cooked meals to friends who’d had surgery or brought home new babies. But being on the receiving end of so much love, so many great meals, and such endless kindness was a whole ‘nother ball game.
Now that I’m on the other side of the cancer experience (knock wood), I’m even more motivated to lend a hand to those in need. Being featured on Marie’s wonderful blog is a thrill, but knowing I’ve lightened her load a bit is even better. And, after being home with sick kids for days on end with no end in sight, it made my day.
Cheers to Marie and Lauren and the other Nancy and every other woman out there navigating the world without her mom.