When I was first married, my mother sent along a recipe box filled with her favorite recipes, all handwritten in her familiar slanting cursive. It is the one thing of hers that I cherish most. I have a piece of her, her handwriting, an occasional Post-it note stuck to a recipe with additional helpful tips. It's as if she's still standing right there in my kitchen, a glass of wine in hand, and we're laughing about something silly we once did.
Truth be told, grief makes a lot of people uncomfortable. It's hard to see someone you care about torn up emotionally. It's natural to want to fix them, but that's just not possible. Therefore, the most helpful thing you can do for someone who is hurting is to offer to just be there for them in whatever capacity they need.
The death of two parents spread over such a chasm of time reassures me that I have grown up. had feared the brutal spectacle and harsh rattle of death. I had feared being alone with her at the final judgmental moment of leaving, feared I would abandon her and not offer a last comfort, that split second of reassurance as she left. Yet none of those fears came true.
I find rebirthing to be excruciating. I am consciously participating in its unfolding. That is part of the pain. The awareness. The consciousness. The involvement. It is not going easily or quietly or calmly. It is agony. Filled with bottomless voids, and oh so many memories. Memories of the past and of what could have been. But will not be. And I struggle to make new memories.