Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Inspiration: Martha Stewart. And Yoda

I'm not sure how to describe the last three weeks.

I want to be eloquent and walk you through a chronological process of grief (denial, arguing, bargaining, depression, acceptance). I wish I could write "Ta da! In the course of one essay, Emily's back on her feet and feelin' fine!"

It's been much messier than that. I'm still somewhere in the middle of a tangled mass of emotions, memories, wishes, and gratitude. My emotional landscape looks like Dagobah: swampy, dark, uninviting.

I'm struggling. I'm self medicating with food and I haven't run in weeks.

My home has become a shrine and it's painful. All the photos and artwork from Mom's memorial service are laying around the house, waiting for a place to belong. We moved all the funeral flowers into our garage so the cat doesn't eat them. Wilting bouquets and the sickly sweet scent of lilies greet me every time I go downstairs. I had a collection of Mom's coats hanging in our entryway, waiting to be delivered to the consignment store. I stuffed them all in a bag and moved them out of sight. Songs pop into my head that make me think of her, and a melancholy cloud settles on my psyche.

People keep saying "Let's get together! Let's grab coffee!" and I smile and nod and then hide. I'm tired of being transparent, because I don't feel transcendent anymore. Ironically, I'm also annoyed when people don't ask how I'm doing. The glow of love and support we received the week Mom died has faded. Frustratingly enough, I'm still the headachey, anxious, cranky person I was before. I'm afraid of finality, of dying, of not saying the things I really mean to say to the people who mean the most to me. I worry about losing other family members and visualize tragic accidents. I feel pessimistic, discouraged, and drained.

But I do know this: My path through grief will be one of creativity. It is already littered with fabric scraps, paper clippings, yarn fuzz, and tacky glue. The aching in my heart is only eased by a frenzy of art projects and tactile keepsakes. Maybe they are gifts to offer at the altar of grief. Maybe I'm leaving knickknacks for people to remember me by after I die. Maybe I can sense Mom is close when I'm surrounded by art supplies.

I'll show you what I've been working on soon.

Meanwhile, I'm reminding myself that life goes on, even in swamps. There will still be stories to tell and encounters to report. I'll continue to share them here.


  1. Hang in there Ems. And get rid of those damn lilies! I had the same experience when my mom died. I can't smell one without having a visceral reaction.

    It gets better - really. Take the time to heal. Stay inside and craft. Let yourself grieve at your own pace. Be kind to yourself.

    I'm thinking about you. If you need a bread, I'm home on Friday nights, Sat and Sun so give me a shout out!

    Love you!

  2. Hey...please give yourself grace, time and space, and trust yourself and spirit. It will get better, not that the loss will go away completely. It will become more softer. Be gentle with yourself and honest with others. :)

  3. "Maybe they are gifts to offer at the altar of grief."
    AMEN !!