She turned 72 in my heart and it’s popping confetti in there.

Said my five year old son on my dead mothers birthday. I was not as positive or poetic. I was just intermittent between sadness, grief, rage and resignation at my alternate reality. The reality that I live in feels very different from my external reality. One where my successful husband is moving us to a different city, with so many new possibilities and so much to potentially look forward to. I think maybe the change will be good for me because inside I’m stuck in the past. I’m stuck yearning for my younger days when she was alive and everyone was healthy and close to me. My family feels fractured, I am terrified of losing my father after having seen the impact of my mother loss on my life. Life continues to feel joyless even though I’ve adjusted back to behaving normally and the dead are the ones that got away from this dreariness. In contrast, other people’s families including the one I married into feel like they have that semblance of blissful normalcy that my own family will never experience again. It is forever changed irrevocably because the center that glued us together is missing. And yet in an odd sense, I carry about her essence in a way that I have never felt when she was alive. Doing mundane things, I feel her subsumed inside of me, in my thoughts and subconscious mind, ever present in the pain of her absence; her absence looming larger in the presence of others who surround me. It feels like a shadow stalking me at every moment. It’s unfair to her because she only loved me with everything and she loved happiness. Yet in her death, not anyone’s love can make up for her love lost. I have much to be thankful for and should be as poetic and grateful as my 5 year old but I feel contrite in my sadness.

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