"Not in the Mood"

NIH News in Health tells us that “the death of a loved one can affect how you feel, how you act, and what you think. Together, these reactions are called grief.”

I lost my momma unexpectedly on January 1, 2016. Every Mother’s Day since, I have not been “in the mood” to celebrate; I just want my momma back. I spent the last five years treating Mother’s Day like any other day. Selfish, I know.

Not once did I stop and ask myself, “How does you not wanting to celebrate Mother’s Day make your children feel?” What if my children feel the same way about our relationship that I felt about mine with my momma? What if not “being in the mood” makes my children think that I do not love being their mom? I feel this last question would be easily answered for anyone that really knows me; my children have always been my whole world! But, does my feeling this, negate the fact that the question needs to be asked? No, it does not. I should ask. I should talk it through with them. I should, but I am “not in the mood.” Selfish again, I know. How do I move past this? How do I start enjoying Mother’s Day with my children? How do I acknowledge the hurt, loss, and feelings of abandonment while balancing my children’s need for me to really present on this day? I just need to figure it out. Period. Plain and simple. I mean, isn’t that what being a mom really is? Sacrificing, balancing, pretending you are ok when you are not? Is this healthy for me? What kind of example am I setting for my children? Is acting like everything is ok, just to make others comfortable smart? I have always told my children, “If you can’t be honest with yourself, who CAN you be honest with?” So, does pretending mean I am being dishonest? So many questions; it makes my head whirl. The anxiety I feel knowing that I need to address this situation is multiplied ten-fold. by all the questions. I hate feeling like I might be disappointing anyone. I have always had issues with this, this abundant need to please everyone. Why do I do this? Would my children understand if I just explained how Mother’s Day makes me feel? I am confident that they would. Why don’t I trust in the teaching that I have provided over the past 23 years? Why do I keep putting off having a conversation? I will tell you why, I am just "not in the mood.”

Finding ways to cope with loss is tough. Some things work for some people, and some things do not. What I have found always to be true though, is you must keep searching, digging deep within yourself and not giving up until you find that “something that works for you.” I know there is not a specific timeline for grief. I know there are no parameters set up that guarantee if you follow them that your depression or anxiety will just resolve. It is an everyday battle. NIH News in Health says “To adapt to a loss, a person needs to accept its finality and understand what it means to them. They also have to find a way to re-envision their life with possibilities for happiness and for honoring their enduring connection to the person who died.” I know what I need to do. I need to have a conversation with my children. Maybe come up with an idea to celebrate both being a mom and the memories that I have of mine. I need to trust that I have instilled patience and understanding in my children, just like my momma instilled in me. Psychiatrist, Dr. M. Katherine Shear at Columbia University teaches that “grief is a process of letting go and learning to accept and live with loss, the amount of time it takes to do this varies with each person. This brings me peace. Has it taken me 5 years to acknowledge that I am not dishonoring my momma by celebrating the day as someone’s? Yes, it has. Is taking this long, ok? Yes, it is. Was I too hard on myself by calling my grief selfish? Yes, I was. Could this conversation bring me some closure? Perhaps. Will I have the conversation? Yes, I will. Even though I am “not in the mood.”

by C. Spiteri, 2021

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