You’ve reached a point where you talk about your mom knowing she’s deceased. You’ve stopped counting the months and comparing that she was alive however many months ago. You talk mostly about her in the past tense and you’re able to handle it, most times.
Your bouts of crying have become fairer and fewer in between. But when those emotions overtake you, they come at you with full force and knock you down. Your grieving will not be a momentary lapse. You’ll get hit hard with it and the sadness will creep up on you like the day she passed. It still hits you like a ton of bricks.
Your father will seem happier now. He’s not as distant because he’s accepted the fact that his wife is never coming back. He’s not completely warmed by fond memories of their lives together yet because most of the time it still stings. But he will talk about her now more openly, but that also means he’ll cry just as freely.
Navigating life without her has become your new normal. You’re able to celebrate holidays with a little more excitement now, but each activity is met with an instant pang of guilt that she’s not around to share it with. You’ll be more accepting of your needs and you’ll realize that you need to take care of your mental health before you continue taking care of anyone else around you. Life will be bittersweet at this point, but it’ll have sweeter moments than you’re used to. When you experience a big life change, or good news at work, you’re not immediately saddened over the fact that you can’t share the news with her. You’ve found other outlets and other people to revel in your joy out of necessity.
You won’t feel as bad sharing your grief with those around you. You’re more open now about what you need and you don’t feel bad asking for support, or time, or a pair of ears to listen to you vent. You no longer feel like you’re burdening people with your pain, because your pain is real and you’ve stopped running as a means to hide it.
You begin to look at other family members to fill your mother’s space. They’ll never be her but you’re coming to terms with the fact that you can share your favorite activities with someone else who misses her just as much. You’ll start to shop at her favorite stores without breaking down. You’ll share stories of her that once pained you without feeling broken. You’ll be better, or as good as you can be.
Nine months after you lose your mom, you’ll both question and feel joy over how quickly the time has passed. You’ll marvel at how strong you are – and how strong you’ve been. You’ll feel proud over what you’ve been able to overcome and you have a strong sense that your mother would be too. Nine months after your mother dies, you’ll start to begin your life over again. You’ll realize that you find less joy in shopping for others around the holidays, because no material item can bring you happiness like the friendship you shared with the one you lost. You’ll have this urge to make big changes – to travel the world, to experience something new, to write that book you always wanted or to venture into unknown territory.
Nine months after you lose your mom, you’ll have this knowledge that life is fleeting and you want to soak up as much of it as you can. You’ll want to make new memories and new experiences that don’t have your mom in them. At first you’ll feel guilty about this, but then you’ll have no choice but to accept that this is your new normal, and that there’s a part of you that wants to create something new for yourself because comparing it to the past, is just too painful.