Mom’s birthday came and went without really much of a blip on my radar. I kept waiting for some kind of Big Emotional Response ™ to the first birthday without her, but other than a brief moment in church when I remembered a Beth Moore conference we had attended years ago, the day passed without incident. I didn’t feel the grief rise up the way I thought that it might.
A few days later at the gym, I got teary on the glute machine. My mom had worked at Curves for a few years after she retired for her job as the Activities Director at a nursing home. She loved the time she spent there, but we both talked about how much we hated that one machine – we both called it the PITA (Pain In The Ass – haha) machine. It seemed like such an odd place to feel sadness about mom’s death, but as I stood there, counting down the reps until I was done, I did indeed feel that sadness in my chest, just a little bit.
At my last therapy session before the holidays, my counselor asked if there was anything in particular that I was worried about with the upcoming holiday season. I told her that I kind of knew how grief worked, and that meant that I was probably not going to feel sad on the days when I expected it, and I didn’t want to feel guilt about that. We discussed ways I could overcome the guilt that might crop up when I didn’t cry on the six month anniversary of my son’s death or my mom’s birthday, and we talked about allowing grief to happen when it was ready. Giving permission both to grieve and not to grieve was equally important.
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