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Grieving As A Momma

This is hard for me to write. I am usually able to finish pieces, posts, or articles that I write in a day. This one isn’t as easy.

Everybody experiences grief differently. The world is unfair. I’ve learned this a few times in life. I’ve grieved in the past for lost loved ones. In the past, I wasn’t yet a mom. The grief was different. I was able to sink into the sadness and focus on my pain.

The world is unfair took on new meaning this summer. My friend was killed. She was eight months pregnant. My son was two years old in May and this was the first time I’ve dealt with loss since I’ve been his mom. Grief is different with a child. It’s not always easier, but because of my son, I was able to keep moving.

I spent the summer away from Saskatoon. I was staying at a campground in Ontario so we could spend the summer with my partner while he was working there. My partner worked night shifts and my son and I went off exploring the area while he slept.

I was driving when I got the phone call that she had been killed. I’m not going to get into details because I can’t write about it yet, but her death was tragic and unfair. Luckily, I was driving back to the trailer so I somehow held it together until I got home to my partner.

Then, I lost it.

I cried, and I could barely get the words out. Hearing horrific news while I was with my partner helped. Simply having that second person to hang out with our kiddo while I walked my puppy and had a cry. I’ve spent a lot of this year parenting solo while he’s away; having that extra support was needed.

It wasn’t until after he had gone to work, my son was sound asleep, and I was in bed with my puppy (a 100 pound dog), that I realized it: even though I had assured everybody that I was okay, I wasn’t.

I was scared.

I was sad.

I was devastated.

I didn’t want to be alone.

That night, I brought my sleeping son into bed with me, and I kept a light on. My partner took the weekend off work so I had distraction and comfort in the next few days.

After he went back to work, and we tried to get back to normal (as normal as it can be while staying at a campground), I had a bad couple of weeks. I knew I was sinking, but there was one thing that stopped me; my son.

I was hit with absolute sorrow that lasted for small amounts of time because I still had to be a Mom. No matter how sad I am, the fact that I’m a Momma will not change. I still have to get up every day and take care of my son.

To be honest, taking care of my son was the easy part, even with the temper tantrums and tears that the Terrible Twos bring. Taking care of myself was what I needed to work on. I knew I had to though, because I’m responsible for a two year old.

In the past, I let the grief take over. I drank too much, I didn’t eat enough, and I didn’t do anything for my mental health. This time around, grief took a much healthier route. I stuck to minimal drinking, I ate when I fed Anthony, (although it wasn’t always healthy over the summer), and I wrote.

I wrote in my journal every day. I wrote to my friend. I wrote about my grief on Facebook and Instagram. I admitted I was having a hard time and I tried to let people in.

This is the first time I’ve written about it in blog form. I haven’t even written about this on my own blog. Once I heard about the opportunity to write for Mothers Empowering Mothers, I knew I wanted to share my grieving experience here.

There is something I learned in the past from my losses: gratitude. It didn't fail me this time.

I felt gratitude for every memory I had of my friend.

I felt gratitude for every moment my friend spent with my son.

I felt gratitude for the fact that I take TONS of photos, and had so many of our moments together in photo form.

I felt gratitude that the last time I grieved for somebody who died too young, she was my roommate, and she was there for me through it all.

I felt gratitude for knowing her.

Unfortunately, there was a mix of anger that I lost her, but sometimes gratitude is give and take, and while it’s important to feel the gratitude, it’s also important to feel the pain.

Having my son helped with the gratitude. I am grateful for my days spent with him. This summer I got to watch him explore new places and it was amazing. There were times when I just watched him feeling complete and total gratitude. There were other times when both my partner and I watched him feeling like we were the luckiest people in the world. Like I said, the world is unfair, but somehow we have this incredible little boy who just wants to discover the world.

Being a Mom doesn’t always help with going through the stages of grief. I had a certain amount of time to be sad, but most of the time, I had to be a Mom. It’s hard to deal with the pain when you’re dealing with a toddler. I lacked even more patience than usual.

Here’s something I’ve learned though: if you have a child that is constantly learning from you, and you’re dealing with something really tough, you get help. I get help. Through this experience, I’ve realized that I have had anxiety issues for much of my adult life. It’s not always there, but I can remember specific times in my past when it was, and I ignored it instead of dealing with it. It came back as I was driving home from Ontario. This time I recognized it and I am going to be dealing with it sooner rather than later because I’m a mom and I need to be mentally and physically healthy for my son.

This particular grieving process is FAR from over. Fall is here and I feel just as sad as I did at the beginning of summer.

The moments of sadness come and go.

The moments of anger come and go.

In the meantime, I have my writing, my friends, my family, my partner, and my son.

I have my son.

And for that I will be so grateful, and I will continue living my best life for both him and for those that I’ve lost.

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