It has happened a few times lately. When asked about how long ago my mom died, I get the date wrong. Not the day, but the year. She died on May 22, 2017; except I keep saying 2018. It’s like my brain can’t comprehend that we are approaching the third year without her.

Since her death, life has carried on at a serious pace. Dion’s health has seen dramatic change, Cate has entered her last year of high school, and The Dale has seen both significant growth and loss. I have been repeatedly faced with crisis, during which I simultaneously leap into action and feel deep sorrow. It is in the ‘crisis pocket’ that I often catch time to consider the absence of my mom. But I don’t want that to be it, which is why I am exploring ways in which to create more space to grieve my mom.

There isn’t a day when I don’t think about her. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine her death to be a dream. I can place myself at her bedside on that Victoria Day when she took her last breath and it takes my own breath away. And somehow, inexplicably, it feels like just yesterday that we were having one of our long chats. It just doesn’t make sense that she isn’t here.

My mom lived and breathed the hope that the grave would not be the end. The moment she died I envisioned her more alive, more vibrant, more whole than ever before. I give thanks for that. And I so wish it wouldn’t take death to find new life. It all feels so mysterious. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” says Scripture.

Because of Elaine Clare Grant (Muirhead) I love strong coffee, toast that’s a little burnt, and popcorn cooked on the stove. I enjoy savouring food and company while sitting around a table for a long time, just as she did. I am so grateful for the way she taught me and my brother Logan to dig into our big trunk of art supplies and take the risk to be creative, for shuttling us around to piano lessons and basketball games, for supporting our choices as adults, and for loving our families. Our mom introduced us to Jesus and taught us about what it means to live in Him.

As I open up my heart, yet again, to feeling her absence, I recall the words I closed her eulogy with:

Mom, you caught me when I failed, and were always on my team. In addition to being my mom, you were my confidante, my friend, and my cheerleader. You were a good mother. I know you are celebrating with God, just as we are here to celebrate you.

I miss you already still.

3 thoughts on “Feeling Her Absence: Notes on Grief

  1. Hi Erinn,
    You put that exactly right. “It just doesn’t make sense”. My mom was 84 when she died but full of life and fun. She should still be here. But of course not. ( it was 16 years ago!) It’s a weird kind of oxymoron and conundrum. The pain lessens with time. Trust me.
    Sending you love and hugs,
    Susan Allen

  2. Hi Erin
    It was Christmas day 2016 that my mom left to be with Jesus. Your words are my words too. I’m not going to say that I know how you feel but I do understand the grief. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost picked up the phone to call her. I too keenly feel my mom’s absence. Your mom was a special lady. She had a lot of love to shower any one around her. I’m sorry for your pain but remember…she’s doing what she loves now….living in pure joy with her saviour. And you will be with her again some day. Hugs to you. Patricia.

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