The Belt of Orion


I considered not writing anything at all today. It takes a lot out of me. It is terribly painful to be transparent and real with you. This type of entry takes me days to write. I can’t do it all at once, I get too emotional. It’s something I have to do little by little, a few words here and there. Walk away, regroup, get it together, come back, write some more. It takes a toll. Re-reading, editing, deleting, pondering, adding and crying. Frankly it would have been much easier to remember this 6 month anniversary in complete silence. When it comes right down to it though, I can’t do that. It would be very uncharacteristic of me to let it pass without somehow marking the day by writing something…anything. And I really don’t have a choice in the matter anyhow. My thoughts begin writing themselves without my permission in my mind and if I don’t put the words down, I feel like my brain will explode.

Will this be something profound and meaningful? Probably not. Something inspirational and eloquent? No…not likely. Something from a heart that is still broken, raw and empty? Most definitely. Something from 6 months worth of mourning, change, adjustments and grief? Yes. Something from a daughter who misses her mom and would give anything and everything to have her back? Absolutely.

It took 4 months not to feel like a zombie. 4 and a half months to not sob every day. It took 5 months to start to feel like myself again. 5 months to feel like I wasn’t stuck in a bad dream. 5 months for the brain fog to finally lift. 5 and a half months to really feel like it was going to be OK again. 5 and a half months to get my appetite back and not to feel guilty about feeling good or having fun. I honestly felt like I was supposed to be sad or I’d be betraying or forgetting my mother. But, she would not have wanted that. My mom did not do that when my Grandma died. So I can’t do that either.

Now at 6 months, I can have two or three good days in a row. Then…BAM! Something out of the blue throws me over the edge…

Looking up at the sky and seeing our mom’s “3 stars.” You know the 3 stars that are in a perfectly straight line going up and down? Orion’s Belt. She always said that those stars were her stars because they represented her kids.  She’d look up at them all the time.

Finding a gorgeous picture of her on Valentine’s Day that had a Calla Lilly in it from before she got sick. She was healthy, radiant and happy. She had an amazing smile. Her skin was lily white and she had some weight on her. It was her gift of love to me on Valentine’s.

Receiving a text from my Aunt Leigh that said “Rachel just came in to talk to me and I noticed something on the inside of her wrist. I asked what it was and she showed me a heart with AK inside. I asked what that was. And she said it was for Aunt Kathy. She felt her with her today and wants her to be with her tomorrow. Totally started crying. ” Rachel had just competed in day 1 of the Georgia State Swimming Championships. There was an elephant in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center that day. It was my missing mom.

Reading Facebook status updates by my dad or my brothers that are about my mom. They just completely wreck me.

Losing the Brown Scapular that was on her pillow right beside her head when she died. I wear it every day tucked in my bra. I panicked, I sobbed, I prayed, I pleaded and I found it because she whispered in my ear to look “here.” More sobbing from relief and joy.  I simply could not bear to lose that.

Having to move from the home we shared – our dream house, our porch, our beautiful neighborhood. It was like her dying all over again. Leaving that house without her was a very bad day.

Creating a “tribute” wall to her in the new house. The ideas would come to me and I would just cry and cry setting it up. It turned out beautiful. Grandma’s shelf, Grandma’s mahogany table, her tea cup, the cross stitch pictures that Aunt Mary Ann gave her, her Lladro Nurse holding the baby, our family picture, a candle…a rosary.

I often wonder what she’d think of the new house, would she like it? Would she be proud of me? I hear her voice telling me what to do, how to decorate, how to set things up. She had a good eye. I recently had her wedding portrait matted and framed.  It is a thing of beauty.

I get my sentimentality from her. Everything in this house means something. Everything stands for something. Everything is a memory. Everything reminds me of her. I keep those memories very close. They make me sad and then they ultimately comfort me after these long (or short) 6 months. Miss and love you more than you can imagine mom! Time is healing but time will never erase you from every fiber of my being.


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