In the first weeks, and even some months, following her death, I had to actively remind myself she was gone.
|Our first moose-ears|
They day we found out Knish was going to be a girl, I was going to call her. In fact I reached for my phone and got all the way into my favorites list before I had to remind myself: she's not there. I suppose she knew already that news.
I felt it again as the holidays approached, though not in the same sting you might think. Thanksgiving had been hit or miss as a family holiday since I was in high school and a USY retreat met over the holiday every year. And unless Hanukkah fell late, I hadn't consistently celebrated that at home since I left for college (although last year I did get to celebrate with mom since she stayed with me after my tonsil surgery). Until we got to New Years. New baby body and no mom to help play fashion police. Small budget, big ideas, and lots of angst - and wasn't there to trade shopping links on our chat app. Her friends helped and I found an option. But the party was hard. A cloud hung over it (maybe it was just over me) and after midnight I cried the rest of the night. She was supposed to be there.
The baby still came without my mom there to help. Other family helped. I was still supported and fed and someone could hold the baby while I peed. But she was supposed to be there.
I have been sick and missed her the most. I am making a job transition and have questioned every step - many conversations would have been run by her. Would she like the house? Does she like the baby's name? Does this top go with this skirt? What are you making for dinner - I'm hungry. The big and the little. She has missed it all. We have missed her.
This weekend we will unveil the headstone. Our final step in the grieving process. The first year of holidays and birthdays have passed. And there will be big holidays where we will miss her - but new traditions will blur the past and the excitement will still come. Turkey will always be turkey at Thanksgiving, even without mom. But it's the little moments where I feel her absence the most. Getting our nails done together. Somone to whine to (or wine with). Our cruise director, fashion police, and care taker.
The first year is done but there will be many more years. Harder for different reasons. And with every new phase with the baby will leave me missing her afresh - countless new firsts that Mom will always miss.
Mayim Bialik shared this poem at her own father's unveiling last month and I found it very moving.
Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep (Mary Frye, 1932)
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.