Breathing Through Grief

These were the trees outside my Mom’s retirement home one short year ago. Today, they are starting to bloom again, but she will never see them and that shatters my heart. Same for the tulips and the flowers and the robins in my yard. I am not sleeping well, or doing anything else well right now. For those of you who don’t know, my Mom passed away suddenly May 5th. Her funeral is already a bit of a blur.  As for me, my chest hurts, my appetite is gone. I haven’t taken a true breath in almost two weeks. I move through my days irritable and cranky with my kids and I don’t want to be there either. There are moments when I stop and realize I am breathing shallow little breaths and I haven’t inhaled deeply in a long time. It reminds me a bit of the kind of breathing you do when you are physically in pain and that makes sense, because this feeling is painful and heavy. A stone in my chest.
I miss my Mom’s phone calls. I miss hearing her voice. I miss popping by her retirement home with the kids to say Hi. I miss her worrying about me in the ways I always found humorous. She used to remind me to call her when I got in, so that she knew I got home safe, even when I lived just two blocks away. I miss hearing the silly phone indicating her name. I miss her voice and her smell and her gentle spirit. I even miss her needing me.
Today is the first day I have been back to work, well trying to work full time and I managed to move forward through most of my day without huge issues until 2 p.m., when it hit me like a ton of bricks. She died. I don’t want to be here in a space where she isn’t surrounding me. I am not breathing, sleeping, smiling, laughing. I am just sad. The side of my cheek is sore from biting it to keep tears from flowing in public. I don’t want to talk or see anyone. I have no desire to fill the space around me with conversation. Words don’t make much sense right now. 
Sometimes it was exhausting being the person closest to her, but it was also incredibly rewarding. The reality is that this last two years she appreciated me more than anyone else. She told me regularly she loved me and that was precious and real and a gift. I miss her so much it makes it hard to breathe. 
Thanks for listening. Have you ever lost someone close to you? How did you manage the days following their death? What, if anything, helped?

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Louisa Bacio

    I am so sorry for your loss. I understand how devastating it is.

    Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday. We lost her suddenly in November, so the first without her.

    It won’t be the same again, but your breathing will get more clear over time. Lean on those close to you for support.

  • Lisa Dunn Wedmann

    Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I lost my brother 2 years ago. Everytime I write it, or say it, I start crying. Watching my parents grieve, as I also greived and worried about them, was a real learning experiences. What I learned: we all greive differently, and we go through it in our own time. I learned to cut myself a lot of slack and to do what I needed to do. Some days were ok. Some days I wanted to crawl under the covers for the day. Wherever I was, and wherever my parents were, it was ok.

    It is better today, just different. I am an only child. Life will never be the same. But I am forever grateful for the time we had.

  • Annie Brown

    Oh my dear Paula… my heart breaks for you. I am here… I will listen to what ever you want to babble about.. even if it is just a coffee… anything I am here. Many hugs to you.

  • Alyssa K

    I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁 No words can begin to describe what you must be going through. (Hugs) my sympathies, strength and prayers sent to you during this difficult time…