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I have existed six months without her.


It doesn’t seem possible.  That I have not only existed but that I am functioning.  Making it through each day without her phone calls—the one in the morning to make sure I got to work safe, the ones during the day if she is awake for any of various reasons, our chats on the way home from work, the good night call.  I sit now sometimes in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed unsure what to do. Reluctant to get up off the sofa and start the bedtime process without the “hi I’m going to bed, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, I love you.”


In a bit of insomnia brought on by steroids recently I read an article on grieving in the New Yorker.  It quoted a 2007 study by Paul Maciejewski (lecturer in psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s hospital, in Boston) that found that the feeling that predominated in the bereaved subjects was not depression or disbelief or anger but yearning.


That is what I do.


I yearn for her.  For the morning call when she would ask, “how’s the baby?” and I would tell her and without missing a beat, every day, she would say, “he’s so cute.”  I yearn for her to hear him talk, how in six months he has gone from short sentences to long and has full conversations.  How he tells you what she likes “Bubby Carole loves milkshakes”, “This is Bubby Carole’s song” or that the other day when I was putting my makeup on and he was playing (“I want to play with your toys,” he says every morning) he asked, “What are you thinking about?”  I yearn for the phone conversations on my half hour commute home where we would chat about nothing and then she would say “call me when you get home” and I would answer, “I am pulling in the driveway.”  I yearn to take her to her doctor’s appointments, to discuss celebrity gossip, to pick up a McDonald’s milkshake for her.


I yearn for the week before she passed when I could sit on the bed with her physical body, stroke her arm, and let her know I was there.  I yearn for July 17, 2002—the day before we found out her breast cancer of fifteen years prior had spread throughout her body and that our time was limited.  I yearn to laugh the way we used to over the silliest things where no sound would come out and our bodies would ache.  I yearn to tell her just one more time how much I love her, how she was my second favorite person in the world—bumped from first only when my son was born.


She was my light and everything seems just a little dimmer without her.  It is crushing after almost forty years of someone caring about my every heartbeat to learn to live without it.  To know that no one will ever be so worried about my well-being, love me so deeply.  Want to know that I arrive at work safely.


The same New Yorker article suggests that the more your identity was wrapped up with the deceased, the more difficult the loss.


I miss you Mommy.  I yearn for you.

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