I'm doing okay

It's been over a month since my mom passed away. All in all, I'm doing okay right now. Although it still feels raw and not real in certain ways, I'm doing okay.

The weeks after her death I found myself to be rather calm and melancholy. I found myself going through the motions, but not really emotionally attaching to much. I found myself not very motivated in the evenings. Steve can get to the laundry when he gets home. I found myself detached, maybe. I found myself watching tv in bed all Sunday afternoon. I found myself not giving a shit when paint was found on Cici's bedroom carpet, all the while Steve was pissed as hell.

I haven't cried all that much since the funeral. I have my moments here and there. I opened a beautiful card from a college roommate (thanks Christina!) with a beautiful bracelet inside, symbolizing the Prayer of Serenity. I cried hard when I saw it. It was beautiful and perfect in every way.

I find myself getting teary when I'm alone...like driving home from getting my hair done, or after dropping Cici off at dance class and I have 30 minutes to kill. Being alone with my thoughts is tough. These are the times, especially in the car, where I blast music to distract. Post Mallone has been great company for me. Podcasts are also great company. I play them in the car on my commute, which was when I would talk to my mom on the phone....every morning from 9a - 9:30a.

One evening Ben's cub scout leader said very sweet words to me, extending her sympathy. I got choked up at first, but she then chimed in with, "clinch your butt cheeks..." and that was good comic relief. Most times when people extend condolences I haven't been emotional. I don't know why.

Snapshots of her funeral will enter my mind and those can get me upset. We had a sheriff escort the day of the funeral. He led the way from the funeral home to the church, and then from the church to the cemetery. As we were pulling into the cemetery entrance we passed him...his car was blocking the road, he was standing outside of his cruiser and saluting us as we drove in.

As we were leaving the cemetery after the burial service, I remember looking back at her grave and feeling like we were leaving her. Like she was going to be alone in the cold. But, notice the man under the tent? He was with the funeral home. In my head he was keeping her company. This gave me a bit of peace. It made me feel like she wasn't alone. I will always remember this image.

Ben was a pallbearer. Seeing him help carry my mother's casket is another snapshot that can get me upset. His little 11-year-old body was contributing the best he could. What a huge duty for such a young boy. I know my mom was proud that her grandsons were pallbearers.

I lost it pretty good just this past weekend. My mom always got us tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil. She got the tickets in December. She was supposed to be with us. As we sat down, I took in the view...they were great seats. She would have loved it. My big eyes welled with tears, and Steve looked and me and gently asked, "what's wrong?" That just goes to show you how much I haven't been crying. I gave him the look of "what the fuck do you think is wrong?" And he quickly said, "oh," and put his hand on my leg. I was weepy as we waited for the show to start. I cried hard when it started, and I cried hard as we were applauding at the end. She should have been with us. 


After my mom's death, I've found myself finishing projects around the house. Those little projects that just dangle over your head, yet you never get around to.

I think the reason I'm finishing up little projects is that I want to clear out mental clutter...I don't want to keep thinking, "Oh, I need to do this," or "I need to hang that." Just get it done!

I've had a mirror sitting behind my couch in our family room for YEARS. I finally hung it. We fixed the soap pump at the kitchen sink. I've gone through the kids closets (mostly) and pulled out all the too-small items. Donation pick up is Friday. I cleaned out a corner of the kitchen and organized it better for us. All of this is making our home more and more settled.


I haven't felt my mom yet. I did have a dream about her one night. She was wearing the blue skirt suit that she wore to both my and my sister's wedding. She was sitting at a table, in a restaurant setting. I told her how much I missed her. She didn't say anything back. We didn't touch.

Ben said that he heard my mom on Christmas Eve. He and Cici were in bed, she was asleep. He was in that twilight sleep. He heard my mom say, "Benjamin..." He opened his eyes and looked around, but didn't see anything. I asked him if he was scared or comforted by it...he said he was comforted.

My father has dreamed about her.

I used to see hearts everywhere...in rocks, in paper scraps, in food, ect. They were so prevalent that I even told Cici that someone was sending me hearts, sending me a message, but I didn't know who. In hindsight, I wish that I told my mom...maybe she would have thought to herself that this was a sign to get her heart checked.

My heart is very open to receiving her signs. But, I don't think I have any signs yet. There is a lady bug that has been around our house, in the office, in the powder room, and now she's in my bathroom. I also notice wind chimes far more than I ever did. Is she signing through the wind? I'll keep my heart open to receive her sign.

My grandmother visits as a white butterfly. Even my kids, who've never met her, will say "hi prababcia" (great-grandmother) when they see a white butterfly. I talk about her so much that the kids feel like they know her. I'll certainly do the same with my mother...I won't let her spirit die.
found this picture while going through albums before the funeral.
My mother in the left, my father in the middle, and my grandmother on the right. 

I've learned that life doesn't always happen the "expected" way, the way you think things will play out. I learned this many years ago.

When Steve proposed, fireworks weren't set off. He asked a question and I answered. When I labored with Ben, it wasn't all dramatic like it's shown on tv. Now, it was crazy dramatic with Cici, but that's a story for another day. With Ben, I pushed for 2 hours, and in-between contractions Steve, the nurse, and I talked about anything and everything from the Pope to politics to whatever. Never would I have thought that delivery could be so controlled and chill.

And in grieving, I thought I would go through all those stages. From denial to acceptance, and all the in-between. Maybe it's because it still doesn't feel real, maybe it's because of my faith, but I really don't think that's I've hit any of those stages. Yet? I've accepted her death, accept the things you can not change. But could I already be in that final "acceptance" stage of grief? Certainly, I can't. But, when will those other stages come?

Maybe those stages won't come. Maybe since her death was so sudden and so unexpected that I have to accept it. I talked to her just the night before she died, as if ordinary days would follow. There was no caring for a sick parent. There was no discussion about death. From one phone call of "no pulse" to the next call of "she's gone" was 50 minutes. There was no time to think...it simply was. There is no choice but to accept it.

I've learned, through conversations with people, that grieving is totally unique to YOU. This I accept. How I've handled this is totally different from what I've thought it would be like. I thought I would cry every night. I thought I would become depressed. I thought I would have that feeling of not being able to continue....but none of that has come true.

I've had people remark at how I seem to be doing good, almost too good. My response is that the kids and work are very good distractions. I've been so busy at work that I have no brain capacity for anything but the task at hand. And the kids are at an age where they are constantly doing something that keeps me busy. I'm thankful for that.

My mom's birthday is February 2nd. That will be a tough day. So will Mother's Day. And the Alaska cruise we plan on taking in June. She was supposed to come with us. I've already written off Christmas 2019...I'll be around on the 22nd, but I want to get the hell out of dodge after that. Christmas in Cancun? I like the sound of that. 

My friends have been a tremendous support to me. From the cards to the flowers to the phone calls and the dinners, I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. They keep me lifted. Their support has been amazing. There are good people in the world who are kind and spread love. Isn't that what life's about, spreading love? Loving one another?

So, here I am 38 days after the death of my mother, and I'm doing okay. I have good days, and bad moments that leave me drained. But, I'm okay.


  1. Oh Joanna. This post had me crying at my work computer. You put your feelings into words so well. I've been thinking and praying for you and the whole family, and I don't even know you in real life. :) One day at a time.... No words, just sending a virtual hug.


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