The past two weeks have been a voyage of loses due to friend’s loved ones passing away. While it certainly is apart of the process, saying goodbye still jolts us into the realization that life is not forever. No one likes to think about death, but this very real occurrence is one we will never get used to. It is no wonder that so many have a hard time actually showing up for these moments.
In the last few years, my mother who will soon turn 85, will not go to funeral homes. Even those individuals who have been an important presence in her life, aside from her two husbands, did not warrant a visit from her at the funeral home. She can not withstand the intensity of her emotions, so she stays at home……. alone in her sadness. I remember how stoic she was at my father’s funeral. I found it eerily uncomfortable and began to realize that her version of processing feelings is to simply not feel. I asked her about it once and she told me that if she started to cry, she was afraid she would never stop.
A lovely man, that I have known since I was a child passed away this week. He was the husband of my mother’s best friend. My mother and Sue have been friends since they were 6. Almost 79 years of walking through life together and yet, as Sue lays her husband to rest, my mother will most likely not be present. She literally can’t stomach the reality. All of us can relate to my mother at some level. This is her way of pushing aside the sadness. This is her way of not dealing with feelings. It would be amazing if she didn’t crumble in the aftermath, but sadly, she will. This is her process, which ironically, is not a process at all.
So, as I have done for years, my family will provide representation. We will make excuses for my mother’s absence all the while providing as much support as we can. Oddly enough, I used to get angry with my mother. I thought that she was so selfish in her actions, but now I understand this is her idea of self-preservation, and I simply can’t fault her for that. After all, she is in her own transition.