There are moments that feel impossible and others that fly by unnoticed. Mostly I’m exhausted almost constantly, as though a perpetual scrim has enveloped me, making everything feel heavier, cloudier, more difficult to sort through. It’s not terrible, just different. This is grief, I’m told.
This morning is one of those heavier moments. Maybe it’s because it’s Tuesday, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings are when I post something on this blog. Often I would refer to a video or story my mother had sent me that made me smile and I’d post it here for all of you to enjoy. But there will not be any more videos or stories from my mother and as much as I accept that, I still feel a tightness in my throat, a constriction in my chest, an overwhelming sadness. I remind myself that she lived a long, often beautiful sometimes difficult, complicated life. A life with long tendrils that reached so many. This is grief, I’m told.
When my mother died I was in Africa. At Stanley’s camp in the bush in Botswana, to be exact.
We had spotty wi-fi, but it was enough to be able to communicate with my siblings. It was enough to make me feel connected in our grief.
But then we flew to another camp, deeper in the bush, which had no wi-fi at all. I wasn’t able to reach anyone, and so other than my husband, I was alone with my grief. It was a tough few days, and yet those days were also filled with the excitement that can only come from seeing a leopard bounding up a tree, crouching in front of a bush and then leaping so fast the naked eye can barely keep up, to kill a squirrel. Or the joy and amazement of coming upon a pride of lion: two males, several females and half a dozen cubs, before hurrying off to make one of a half dozen flights before eventually arriving back home in New York City.
Upon our arrival home (it took us almost 40 hours) I had to deal with an array of technological problems, one of which was my computer that had crashed on me the third day of our trip. I am just now beginning to post videos of our African Adventure, with a new video coming out every day for the foreseeable future. Making these videos, in many ways, has been a life saver. It’s somewhat methodical work that is also wonderful as I am seeing all the footage I took of our amazing trip. Traveling is always a joyful experience for me. I love to travel, just as both my parents did. My mother’s death has only made me more intent on traveling as much as I can, while I still can.
As my mother lay dying I called every evening and my sister held the phone to my mother’s ear so that I could tell her about seeing a blackback gorilla charging, and the baboons that were intent on sneaking a treat from the expansive breakfast buffet, and the hippo that came close to our boat in Zambia and how the guide told us his open mouth was the first warning sign and when asked what the second warning sign was, he said a hippo with open mouth running towards us, which was exactly what he was doing!
My days were filled with excitement, even elation as well as overwhelming sadness. It was a lesson in holding two seemingly opposing things in either hand and having both be true.
This is grief, I’m told.
You are an amazing woman! Take time for yourself. Hugs and prayers.
Oh Bobbi, thank you. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated speaking to you before I left. It meant so much to me.
You went to Africa at the perfect time. It was perfect because you were able to take her back there with the very real experiences you were having— reliving experiences that she must have had. What a wonderful way to say “So long for now mom.” What a wonderful way for her to leave with you narrating the scenes to her. She was ready to go. What a wonderful gift from you to allow her to leave like that. ❤️
Thank you Dawn. I really appreciate your thoughtful words. It is what I hope and believe to be true. ❤️
Grief is so hard and hits you at the most unexpected times. It’s good that you can focus on your trips and also the good memories of your Mom. Hugs, Sandy
Yes. I agree. Thank you Sandy.
Grief…..I know it well. My advice…..just know you don’t have to be strong. Your family will do that for you. Take your time with everything. Things will fall into place when it is supposed to .❤❤❤
Thank you Sherry. Good advice ❤️
Loosing a parent if a difficult thing especially when distance is involved but such as great distance that you were made things even worse in sure. But you got to feel the joy your mom and dad shared with their love of Africa to help you in your grief. The tightness will ease and then surprise you at times over the years but you will grow from it Ariane. Take it slow and easy.
Thank you Sandi. I appreciate your insights. They are all very helpful. ❤️
Oh Ariana, so much grief comes from losing our loved ones…I lost my mum and my sis almost literally two years apart, and it was almost more than I could bear….I had spent five years caring and being my mums advocate as she descended into the depth of Alzheimer’s. She finally gave into that final stage when she learned her favorite daughter had passed from cancer. I had the utmost privilege of being with her in her final moments, as I had with my sister….after Mum passed I spent the next year floundering around wondering what my purpose was now..depression, anxiety, grief, all reared their ugly heads. Be gentle with yourself, you are never alone, and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. And take as much time as you need to process navigating theses new waters without the person who knew you the longest. Your mum would want that…she sounds like an amazing woman, and one you were so blessed to have in your life. And in the end, you were in the right place at the right time, Africa, speaking with your mum on your adventures…what a beautiful gift for both of you! Keep your momma stories coming…you will know what to post. They’re in your heart ❤️❤️❤️
Thank you so much Taylor. I am so grateful for the experiences of others who’ve gone through this and really appreciate you telling me about yours. That sounds just brutal. I cannot imagine losing my sister who is also my best girlfriend. I hope you know your grief and experience have helped me. Thank you for that. ❤️
tears and prayers.
Thank you so much Patricia ❤️
I lost my artist mom 22years ago. She was a painter and a stitcher! She is always with me and she loves my artwork!
Oh Genie. That makes me happy to hear. ❤️