Monday, September 19, 2011

lost in loss

The two experiences I've had with death are shockingly similar, yet worlds apart. The whole family gathered in my grandparents' house. At my mother in law's home, there were four, then three when she moved on. I stand next to a man who has now lost both of his parents. I'm there for him as much as I can be, but I'm still just outside of it. Still feeling helpless, wringing my hands, doing the laundry and hoping it helps.
The loss of my mother in law has been, and continues to be life changing. In my world, my grief is secondary, and that's OK, because it is still personal and important. She was a friend, a connection to my husband's past, my sole female counterpart in being a Panza. I miss her smile, the one that looks exactly like my husband's.

I do my best to be a support staff, for Nick and my father in law, because I feel that's where I best fit. When the situation presents itself, I know what to do, I feel confident in how to help these two men. Mostly, their needs are practical. I'm good at practical. When emotions flare, I offer a hug, and usually a few of the right words find their way across the room. I say it's OK to cry.

But here's the place I really get lost: What do I do for my son, who has lost his grandmother?

I don't have a place for this. Up until now we haven't done anything. She's in a few pictures around the house. Oliver still recognizes her, and points her out as Grandma. But... he's not yet two. Those memories and recognition will fade.

When do I tell the stories? How do I tell them without crying, for fear of confusing him? Why would Mommy cry over a story that's supposed to be happy, about someone we love? And worse... what about the stories I don't know? The questions I can't answer?

The memories he won't have.

I grieve for his loss more than anything.

Because he won't remember how she loved him so much.


  1. Babe. This is beautiful. I understand. That was the hardest thing for me about getting pregnant. Knowing that Allie would never be held by my mom, knowing she'd never get to hear her or see her or be loved by her.

    It hurts so bad to know that someone who would have loved your child as much as you do is gone. I don't know what to do. I do know I cry, and as Ava is getting older, that gets harder for her. She hates to see me hurt. But I tell her that it's just because I miss her so much. My heart loves her so very much that sometimes I just wish she was here.

    The pictures and the stories will help. While everything is fresh, I'd put together a little book of stories. About her, about her and O, pictures. Make that a memory he will always have.

    It hurts. But you will make it ok for them. But don't be afraid to cry and just tell him mommy has a sad in her heart.

    love you guys.

  2. An excellent comment by Jess to a heart squeezing dilemma.
    Love, yer Mom

  3. oh hell, i'm SOO sorry for your loss. :( sooo very sorry. i'm in tears reading this...

    i'm not sure what kind of pictures you have of her, but have you thought of maybe creating a photo book for Oliver? that way he can look at it whenever he wants and it may spark up some memories you can tell him about, too...

    big hugs, friend. big, big hugs.

  4. Aw, this makes my heart hurt. You are so much like me -- I, too, would be doing the laundry and hoping it helped. You are an amazing mom, and you and your husband will share funny stories and pictures of his grandma so that he has memories, and stories, and ideas of her. And that will be perfect.

  5. I am so so sorry for your family's loss, Sara. Your mother in law sounds like such a wonderful woman--I know you and your husband will never let Ollie forget her. Lots of warm thoughts to you all.


If you don't have a login, choose Name/URL from the drop-down box - the URL field can be left blank.