A Day For Mothers 2022

There are friends that still ask, even after all this time:

“How are you feeling?”

but I know they mean “how are you grieving?”

I look back at the early days of loss and I can see myself getting sick–the PTSD creeping like a slow-growing mold, finally taking over. I look back to a year ago and I see a woman trying, clutching the shards of a broken life confused as to which bits to pitch and which to hold on to, holy and hopeful.

At two and half years in I can feel the miles behind me.

A few weeks ago, I came home rushing–coming from a place to go back out to a thing. I just needed something. I put my key the front door and opened to a sea of glass. On the floor at my feet were hundreds of tiny crystal pebbles of what used to be a vase — a beloved wedding gift. Confusion, fear, and grief rushed within a nanosecond.

All my moving stopped. My hand hit my chest, and my breath caught in an audible gasp.

For a moment (really, it was just a moment), I had no idea what to do or how to keep going or what had happened or how it had happened.

Eventually, I took in the Ipad resting in the space where the vase had once been. I could almost see the fast moving child leave it there not knowing it would somehow become an agent of destruction while we were away from home, assuming all was safe.

I wondered why I ever kept such a precious thing in such a precarious place.

I stepped around the twinkling shards carefully. Were they were mocking me with their tiny prismatic rainbows reflected in ethereal swatches of color across the wall?

I found the dustpan and broom. The upright kind they use at my hair salon. I stood tall and swept up the rubble. I grabbed the soccer bag I’d come home for and paused in the doorway.

I looked back at the console table, assessing future risk.

And exhaled.

This weekend I will gasp and clutch at friends from high at a reunion we are lucky to still be having. On mother’s day I will be with my oldest and dearest in Boston. One of whom just lost her mother. I am likely running from my children. They have forgiven me for worse.

I promise I didn’t plan it this way. Things fell apart and this appeared in their place. Still, I know I am so lucky.

Like a tour of an historic battlefield, I will sight see across the places of my grief. I will drive past both the farmhouse I grew up in and the beach house where they died. I will see family friends and my mother’s friends and I will gasp and clutch at memories of taking for granted the voices of people whom I adore and cannot hug anymore.

Two and half years later, this is how I grieve them and what mother’s day feels like.

And of course, someday, I may clutch at memories of these days.

Or perhaps it will be someone longing to hear my voice.

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MeghanRiordanJarvis

Meghan Riordan Jarvis is a trauma and grief-informed psychotherapist, speaker, educator, writer, wife, and mother of three.