While the inital experiences of sadness and anger after the death of a loved one are often difficult to cope with, it is the unexpected moments that have always thrown me off.
These are the moments when a scene in a movie or a generic conversation causes me to feel angry or sad because of an experience I am missing out on with my parents. Or waking up on any random day, with no particular significance, and missing my dad so terribly that I am on the verge of tears all day.
These are the moments when it is so important for me to remember to take care of myself and do what I need to do to cope because 1, 2 or 10 years later, the at-the-ready support network usually isn’t present like it was at the time of the loss.
It’s not to say that my friends and family members wouldn’t be there if I asked, but since it’s been almost 9 years since my dad died, and 30+ since my mom died, I doubt anyone has “supporting Cindy through her time of loss” on their priority list.
So, in these unexpected moments of grief I turn to the things that I can do for myself…look through a photo album, let myself cry until I stop without any expectation of when I should stop, listen to music, cook a dinner that was a family favorite growing up, snuggle with my daughters, dance with my daughters, ask my husband for an extra long hug without needing to explain why, or call my best friends who I know always have me as a priority and lean on them as needed.
Usually the moments don’t last too long or interrupt my daily life too much, but they are always unexpected and always remind me that my parents remain a very large part of my life and my heart.