Grief Is Individual   4 comments

As I write this post, late on Friday, November 25th, I am living my 366th day on this earth without my mom.  Ruth M. Cumbo passed away last year on Thanksgiving day at just after 4am.

Just the other night, I woke up from a nightmare where I had been groaning, “Mommy! Mommy!” over and over.  Even in the dream, I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t rescuing me.

Many loving people have sympathized with me over this year.  I have heard tearful stories of mothers who died twenty years ago, of those totally unknown, of those still living by in failing health.  I have appreciated all of these as personal, painful, lovingly told stories.  Stories are what bind us together.

But even as I listen to these, even as I know that people are reaching out and holding me with their words, I still feel alone in this.  My grief is unique to me, just as my mother was unique to me.

For me, grief is compounded by the fact that – despite all the love that surrounds me – I grieve my mom alone, without a partner, without children who might give me glimpses of her expressions or gestures.  It is a scary thing to be both motherless and not a mother.

I miss, most, of late, my mother’s hands.  Whenever she was in a conversation where people were real and, thus, there was risk (and she loved these conversations) her fingers constantly worked a pattern on her jeans – as if the movement of her hand against her thigh might calm the hearts of those in the room.

I miss her fingers on the piano – so pale in their tint, so soft, so confident.  Something that Mom kept tucked away in herself – a humble strength, a confidence – came alive when she played music.  I miss that.

So while others miss Mom and while others miss their moms, no one misses her like I do.  And this is both beautiful and almost impossibly hard.

Who do you miss?  What do you miss most?

If you’d like to read more about why my mom was so important to so many, please see the guest post I was honored to write for Confessions of a Funeral Director, Caleb Wilde’s blog.


Posted November 25, 2011 by Andi Cumbo-Floyd in Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships

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4 responses to “Grief Is Individual

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  1. She did have beautiful hands. Grief is so fascinating to me – it’s something we all have in common, yet is the most personal experience of all. To realize that everyone feels this way, and no one feels this way is mind-blowing.

  2. Five years ago my young brother drowned. I have grieved alone even though I am the eldest of eight children and am the caregiver of both my eighty two year old parents and the mother of four sons. My sons have all left home and I am separated but have my parents living with me.
    It doesn’t seem to matter how many people are around, whether children, parents or friends the grieving is within my own heart.
    It has taken five years for me to even write a word about it, which I did yesterday and posted on my blog.
    For me it has been a long road from then to today and for you it will be as individual as you are. I too would dream that I had my brother and was swimming to shore with him, he was saved and everything was so wonderful, then I would wake up to the horror of the truth.
    i wish peace for you and I wish for that moment of acceptance that will come to you at some time in the future.

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