A Time To Weep
Is there a clinical time allotted for mourning? I read this on the Center for Grief & Loss website, “Grief takes a long time. In fact, it never completely ends, because you will never stop missing the person who died. You will always feel pangs of grief over the absence of this person in your life”. For me, this is true. I miss my ama, apa, sister Lupe and these past few weeks I’ve especially missed Patty.
My Rules for Mourning
En mi vida y corazon, I’ve established two rules of engagement for mourning, just to help my heart along. Primeramente, when their birthdays and “graduation days” (the anniversaries of their deaths) come along, I share a shout out with my sis Marina and we remember something good and tender. Segundo, I will not allow the dark memories to crowd into my mind. Even as I write, the memory of the day they passed and the emptiness I felt wants to take over. Nope! I will only allow happy memories.
When I keep these boundaries up, things go well and the grief passes like a strong wind, it ruffles me up and our beautiful shared memories are scattered on the floor of my mind. Pero, aveces, mourning surprises me. It either creeps up slowly and distracts me for a season. Other times, it slams me down and paralyzes me for a long moment. In that grief, the accusations sting me.
No lo entiendo. It can be overwhelmingly confusing. Is it normal to feel such intense grief after so long? Is it normal not to? Am I a selfish daughter and sister because I don’t feel sad consistently? Am I a selfish wife, mother, sister and friend because I still want to bring up my loved one and remember them always, with memories or memorabilia?
I have so many things in my home, closet, jewelry box, and albums that tie me to my loved ones, but especially Patty. (A look inside my mourning box is a whole separate post) Once again I find myself facing this: If I remove “such and such item” from my life, will that remove Patty? I find myself painfully attached to these things and they paralyze me from making changes. Guilt screams and points its finger at me. A good and loyal sister would never “get rid of that” And usually I crumble and put off any changes.
Ben and I started some changes last year. My kitchen is looking great! Mi esposo is a Macgyver! He can fix, or make anything using his God given talents. He’s been busy and I haven’t had to face “getting rid” of those things that have Pattys fingerprints on them. Y ahora, in this new year as changes continue, I’m getting closer to facing the old worn things again.
My sister Patty was a lady who enjoyed nice things. Even as a young girl she asked for the best and my ama was always exasperated at her “ricachona” tastes. How in the world did this girl have such rich wants? Somehow, my ama managed and Patty would acquire at least one name brand item of clothing or accessory and she was always classy on that first day of school. Y pues, she carried that ‘trait’ into adulthood. Only the best for Patty. Meanwhile, over on my side, to this day I barely know a name brand. Para que vean, Once I went to church wearing my nice hand-me-down handbag and as I set it down by my chair, one of the ushers said “Wow sis! You must have some money” I laughed a bit confused. Then he pointed to my handbag and said “That’s a Coach purse” I was still confused. He explained that it was an expensive brand. I wasn’t surprised, it came from Patty. For the record, I googled Coach brand, and discovered that Coach is considered a mid range accessible luxury brand! Que “accessible” ni que nada! Ridiculous. It was accessible to me only through my bougie sister. “Anyways” when she bought something new, I got her accessible mid range hand-me-downs and I was more than satisfied. The name brand things I now own are “My Patty Things.”
When Change is Needed
So what am I getting at? Over 20 years ago, my beloved sister gave me her nice, practically brand new couches and dining room table. Patty died (that was hard to write) over 15 years ago. I still own and use them. My couches have aged and worn down, I won’t describe how much. My nice sturdy single pedestal claw feet dining room table with ceramic tiles is hanging on, very durable. Pero, it is looking tired and maybe worn down, aveces, when the grandkids climb on it, like kids do, I worry for my table first and then my nietecito! Hijole. The tiles are faded and grout has been picked on . It is just time for a change. Patty’s family and mine shared many beautiful gatherings. Great conversations happened at the dining table when we were sitting down properly at dinner time. My couches have been so hospitable to all. Patty visited me at full term pregnancy and struggled to rise from my couch. I got some help from the springy cushion to bounce her up on her feet. Years later, though my couches were old, they patiently waited when my 90 something year old apa struggled to rise up from the sunken cushions. Neither would admit that they were tired.
These practical pieces of furniture fulfilled their duty. It’s time for a change. They are part of the memories, oh how I struggle to part with them. I want change. It can be so refreshing and pretty. But the grief makes me believe that I’ll lose those treasured memories. That won’t happen, will it? Will I change? Will I forget her? Where are my boundaries? How do I apply them here?