I spent yesterday playing hooky. When the alarm woke me at 3:40am, I got out of bed, made my coffee and sat on the couch thinking. I started to write in my journal about my friend Jean who just recently lost her Mom to cancer.
She and I share an awful bond, the breast cancer bond. We are the same age and our lives have paralleled in many ways, but she had her Mom 20 years longer than I. She is in the midst of heavy grief, a grief I understand all too well. I give her a hug and ask her each day how she's doing and I am glad when she honestly tells me how sad she is. We talk for a long while about bereavement and the toll it takes on one's spirit. I know she appreciates these conversations, I know how important it is to verbalize the hurt, the feelings of guilt and betrayal, the impact of such a grave loss. I am gratified to know that maybe I am helping her through what can be a most difficult period in a woman's life, no matter what her age. She knows that she can share with me and that I will listen with an empathetic ear. I can because I know what it is to have no one to talk to about such a loss. I was alone, in a new town, recently divorced and running a business by myself when my Mom died. I dealt with my grief many years later when training to volunteer for our local Hospice.
For her, talking with me is a kind of therapy. For me, however, it is a dredging up of old grief, feelings not forgotten, not hidden, but put away somewhere, only to be taken out at holidays, in April and in June. I miss my Mom more than words could ever express, but I can not spend my life grieving her loss. I do think about her almost every day, but I consciously try to remember her laughing, young and happy. When she pops into my mind now, she is always smiling. I worked hard to throw away the images of her last few years, and only see her smile. It took a long time. It is not that I hold my grief back, that it is not acknowledged, but if I allowed it to come to the fore everyday, I don't believe I could live.
Yesterday, though, as I was writing about Jean and her loss sadness washed over me like a wave. I closed my book, wiped away the tears and went back to bed. I snuggled up to Greg's warmth and shut my eyes and let his even breathing lull me back to sleep. After a while he awoke annd asked me when I was getting up and I said simply I don't feel well and I am staying home..
And so I played hooky. I stayed in my pajamas all day. I read the whole paper, fresh out of the bag from front to back. I indulged in a hot, sweet cup of cocoa. I climbed up to the loft and finished one of the two moleskine exchange projects that have sat fallow for months.The hours I spent in creating pages for Hilary's book soothed my soul and took me out of myself and the funk I had fallen into earlier in the day. I gave myself a facial and took a long hot bath. It was a beauty day, mental health day, and it did me a world of good. I know my Mom would have approved. Thanks, Mom.