The Day a Real Live Momster Came to Town and it was Me: Lessons From Tiptoeing Through Grief

In the hardest things we do-love sees us through. Maybe not right away, but it does. I have to believe this, especially TODAY.

My grief following the passing of my father has been consistently inconsistent. Some days (like today) it looks like anger and impatience with the people I cherish most- the souls that look to me to be strong and balanced. Other days it looks like aloofness, over busyness, silence, exasperation, or head under water-drowning in emotion-always love. The worst is when it “sneak attacks me” and just shows up, “seemingly out of nowhere” hijacking my mood and my sanity.

Sadly, today was one of those days. I had a few maniac mom moments. I’m not proud of this, but I’m also not going to benefit from shaming myself. Let’s face it-we are all a little broken and sometimes that gets the best of us. For those unable to readily admit the harsh truth that you are broken too, then perhaps your trustworthiness at introspection is a bit suspect (to be brutally honest). Anyway, I digress.

Although I pride myself on purposeful and patient parenting (most days) my broken parts took the lead today and it wasn’t pretty. I was a maniac. A full-fledged, raging MOMSTER.

I yelled, I opened the door to the patio and threw a nerf gun into the dark yard because if I heard that sound one more time after saying “please stop” ten times my head was literally going to explode. I released it like a quarterback in the middle of a night game under the BIG LIGHTS. And it felt good. Really good. I was possessed. It was not in fact a shining moment for me but….it was both a physical and emotional release.

I swore at my children. Like the big bad, bomber. Even my eldest’s “classy mom” remark didn’t slow me down. Then I cried, hard. Like sniffling and snorting hard. Grief had me on the floor today and even my babies may have thought I was going to give up. But I didn’t. I succumbed to the sadness; yes, but I did not permit it to overtake me. I got up, brushed myself off and started over. I failed them miserably today. But then I ROSE up. 

Perhaps you’ve been in a similar place-most of us have experienced this at one time or another (maybe not the quarterbacking because that was a first for me) but you know what I’m saying. Desperate and reeling-like on the ground desperation- and teetering on the edge of insanity. Often as women, we tiptoe around grief and continue in our roles doing “all the things for all the people” in our lives until it literally bulls us over. Reminding us that is not humanly possible to continue our fast and furious pace without acknowledgement that part of our soul is now MISSING. We can’t simply press on as we once were because we will never in fact BE THAT AGAIN.

We are forever changed, and at times, our grief serves as a wake up call of sorts. One that “knocks some sense into us” and reminds us that these things can not and should not be under the rug swept. They belong to us, and therefore, they have their place in our here and now. Because they are serving up lessons we never wanted to learn but we MUST. They are begging for our attention and sometimes, like today, forcing our hand.

The lesson here is that although I was knocked down today, I didn’t stay there pinned and helpless-I didn’t wallow for long. I picked myself up and made reparations. I said I was sorry, recognizing that I was out of my mind momentarily, and guess what, my babies got it and they embraced me. Even though they haven’t been schooled by much loss in their short lives, they understood because it came from my heart-a fragile and vulnerable one that is trying to figure this darn grief thing out and still run a family and work and play and just be. I don’t have the answers but I do know that no matter how crazy it gets LOVE always wins.  I believe that wholeheartedly.

So… I wiped the tears away, kissed those beautiful faces, told my boys we’d recover the launched gun in the morning (chuckled with them for a moment that I have a really good arm “for a girl”), apologized to my daughter for snapping at her and making her stand to do her homework, and most of all, I told them I loved them. Because that’s what matters most of all.

I told them that with every fiber of my being, from the brim of my nose to the tip of my toes-I love you all. I assured them that that will never change, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when its ugly and messy-I love you. That light will always shine through and will never cease until I take my very last breath.

And do you know what happened next? They welcomed me with open arms and eyes brimming with hope and LOVE. In some silent way they communicated that they understood and that it was ok to NOT be OK sometimes. Even and especially for a mom who prides herself on being just that for them and everyone she loves dearly. They somehow just knew in that moment, that grief is messy and that the most important thing one can do is to simply BE THERE for those you love as they figure out how to navigate it. They somehow understood that although this grief journey will be chaotic and unpredictable and exasperating sometimes, it will also be a beautiful opportunity to solidify our bond more deeply-as we traverse the bounds of our love for one another.  

And all at once, within this massive chaos came a ray of CLARITY. This anger I was experiencing was just my LOVE turned inside out. It spilled all over my precious babies today because they are most special to me-we share a vulnerability and unparalleled mutual connectedness (which is the substrate for the depth of emotional experience-both good and bad). That is the price of our relationship investment. We’ve created a bond that can endure the good, the bad, and the compete MOMSTER moments. And for that, dare I say, I am proud.

We unleash our dark side with the people who matter most because they are SAFE. We would never, ever do this to those we do not share such an intimate connection with. We just wouldn’t. And so it goes…..grief appears to be love with a limited capacity to be EXPRESSED. It builds and builds and then, sometimes…it bursts. 

Loving FULLY doesn’t mean it’s always pretty. Loving fully can be raw and wild, just as it was for me today. But it IS love nevertheless. And the capacity for my children to forgive in the insanity that accompanies profound loss is just another blessing that love provides.

So…. it does in fact, see us through. And if we let it, it can LEAD our lives in the most spectacular of ways. Today, tomorrow, and evermore.

With Big Much Love,


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