Grief is a peculiar beast. It can sneak up on you slowly, gently, when you least expect it. In a scent, on the notes of a melody, in the turning of the seasons. It can also hit you head on, an unexpected blow to the chest, knocking the air right out of you.

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Heading to Birmingham this morning. My mom is in the end stages of dementia and is starting to shut down. It could be days or weeks at this point. Please pray for my brothers and my dad. My relationship with my mom is complicated to say the least. I especially covet your prayers. October 9, 2011

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Thanks to Facebook’s on this day’s feature, this was one of those head on moments, unexpected and emotional. In the six years since my mother’s death there haven’t been many tears. I think I mourned what we never could or did have long before she was gone. But, in the still, wee hours of October 9th, the tears came. From a place so deep that a blow to the chest was needed to release them.

And it happened again later that evening as we were watching “This Is Us.” I know, everyone says every episode is a tear jerker, and that has certainly been true. An episode hasn’t gone by so far where I haven’t found myself teary or actually crying.

Ironically, last night’s episode was Memphis. As William and Randall stand in front of William’s childhood home, he says, “I can’t stop looking at that door. Used to be two of ‘em. Now one is bricked up. Isn’t that a strange thing to focus on? All these years, and it’s a door that’s hanging me up.”

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I made it to my parent’s house that day, six long years ago, knowing it would be the last time I saw my mother. And until last night, I didn’t realize there was a door hanging us up all those years. For her, I think it was the fact that she grew up with an alcoholic mother. A story only hers to tell. A story she kept to herself, behind a bricked up door. Mine was the door, hell, the walls I built as a little girl because of the emotional disconnect. I carried and reinforced those walls well into my adulthood, and never could really leave the safety of those walls behind.

Much like William, my life has been filled with almosts and could-haves. Are there things I wish I could change? Of course there are. Definitely things I would have done differently. Maybe if I had torn down the walls I built, those walls I thought were protecting me. Though they did in many ways, that protection came with a heavy price. And when it came to the end, the little girl who built them, knew it was too late for demolition, and knew that the door her mother bricked up would never be open for her to walk through.

So, there I was, at the end of last night’s episode, my throat tight, long held tears running down my cheeks. My chest physically hurt, crushed by the weight of 40 year old walls.

Forgive my rambling. Grief is, indeed, a peculiar beast, playing by it’s own set of rules. Wherever you find yourself on this journey, whatever you feel, or don’t, it’s okay. The despair, the sadness, the emptiness, the anger, the regret, the disappointment, or even apathy; it’s all so incredibly normal. My only advice is this; if you have the opportunity to tear down walls and set things right, try to do so. It may save you some of that regret. But also know, if that’s not possible, it’s okay to do nothing. You are the only one who gets to say what is right for you. 

Maybe these words, coming 6 years later, are what’s right for me. So, today, I’m going to let them matter.

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So if it matters let it matter
If your heart’s breaking let it ache
Catch those pieces as they scatter
Know your hurt is not in vain

Don’t hide yourself from the horror
Hurt today here tomorrow
If it’s fragile and it shatters
Let it matter, let it matter

They say you know it ain’t easy
I wouldn’t want it to be
Cause ease is for the shallow
But we were from the deep

“Let It Matter”
Johnnyswim

This article has 3 comments

  1. Julie W Reply

    I’m so sorry for your pain and loss. Although I am very touched and glad I stumbled upon this, as I am not on FB very often anymore. Your an amazing Writer, keep it up! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. Jo Reply

    Our stories are pretty similar. My mum too had untold stories from a legacy which I suspect she didn’t even know herself before she died 9 years ago, but she would have been deeply affected by the repercussions (family tree research has illuminated some of the legacy since.)

    Hers & Dad’s was a very co-dependant relationship. He has been at sea the last 9 nine years and only knows how to connect with people by showing his knowledge. There is no emotional relationship with anyone and often manifested as self-pity and rudeness..

    Thanks so much for the reminder that ALL our stories matters. Especially those that are complicated, where few understand and sometimes even we don’t fully understand ourselves.

    xx

    (Jo Inglis – didn’t let me sign in via twitter)

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