2.Dear Mom,

It’s Monday, and I didn’t see you this weekend. Somehow, that makes everything harder. I thought about driving by your grave, but couldn’t. Not yet.

I don’t know who to talk to about just stuff. People offer to listen, but you never know if they really mean it. “You can talk to me” loses its meaning when every little thing becomes a point of contention. And all of the hurts, the slights, the ugly things from others are amplified right now. I wonder if this is how it will always be, or a time-limited response to grief. Am probably best off away from people.

I want to smile back at those who act kindly, show my gratitude for their efforts, but apparently am falling short. And those who repeatedly ask “Are you alright?” Just. Stop. No, I’m not alright. No, I’m not going to smile with enthusiasm so you feel comfortable. Right now, all of my energy is in trying to keep my head above water. How many times do I need to use my words?

“Checking in” – that works for me as I feel no expectations. Texts and phone calls are good for can opt out if falling apart. Face to face suffocates me. I know intentions are good, but isn’t the anxiety obvious? And why is it assumed that things are better with people right there? Clearly, I am no good communicating.

So, here I sit, grateful for the relative quiet and peace of work. Earlier, kiddos were running and playing outside. Before me stacks of work demand attention, but I’m thinking about the day and what I would tell you on the way home – the card from one of my old schools, how M was so proud she made a star on her own, the huge smile and hug from T when he saw me, and pictures the littles made for me.

I know that your son has always been your #1, and you said that to me just a few months ago. The words spoken aloud hurt; I won’t lie. So yes, I definitely understand that I am less important, and am oh-so familiar with that role. However, think you loved me despite my failures to meet your expectations. Think our conversations were usually a welcome interruption of your day. Who knows.

All over the place emotionally. Just feel the feels and keep swimming, Dory. Dreading the drive home.

Love ya.

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