By Dani Hart
As my mom and I walked through the woods in frigid temperatures, we began to chat about the loved ones we’ve lost throughout the last years.
The past few years haven’t been easy.
After falling in love with her boyfriend Gary, my mom watched him crash his motorcycle right in front of her. She was the first responder to the accident and supported him in the hospital in the long months that followed.
Then, the other shoe dropped. Months later, her healthy mother had a stroke, leaving her unable to use half of her body and instantly restricted to a nursing home bed.
She tried to take care of both Gary and her mother, but after years of daily visits to her mother’s bedside and weekly visits to Gary’s bedside, Gary passed away.
“While I missed him and the relationship we had together, I felt a sense of relief because I knew that he was no longer suffering. The love I felt for him will always be with me, and I’m so grateful for the time we had together. I always knew he was with me in spirit.”
Compartmentalizing Grief & Grief Overload
After Gary passed away, she felt numb. She continued putting on a smile, showing up every day and being strong for her mother who was slowly losing life.
“I wasn’t feeling, I just kept going. It wasn’t until I met a new guy that I actually started dealing with some of it. I finally felt happy, and when I felt happy, I opened up to my emotions. Then it was like a floodgate of emotions, including bad emotions. I would go out with him and be happy, then go home and cry my eyes out.”
She spent the next few years alongside her mom, taking care of her needs and putting on a front to give her mom the best possible life for the time she had left on this earth.
“My mother gave me the best life she could, and I knew I had to give her that in return.”
Last winter, we knew that my grandmother was nearing the end of her life. She lost weight, stopped getting out of bed, began eating less, and everything slowed down.
My mom never stopped being strong for her mother until the day she died in January 2019.
Even after my grandmother passed away, my mom helped with the logistics, planned the memorial service, and accumulated all of my grandmother’s belongings at her house to help clear out the nursing home.