Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diamonds Outweigh the Grief

I had trouble falling asleep last night. It took as many as twenty minutes for me to reach oblivion. A long time for me.

I had an image that kept flashing through my head. I tried brushing it aside with visions of sugarplums, but it was a persistent bugger.

It was that time in the hospital when we had decided to take Mom off the cancer study (because it seemed to be killing her faster than the cancer) and we had Hospice come in to talk her about using their services at home. I was the only family member in the room and she turned to me in a panic. “That sounds like you think I’m dying! Do you think I’m dying?” Only every time I look at you mom.

That’s not what I said. I didn’t answer her question – I just said that we thought she’d be a lot more comfortable at home and that Hospice could help with that. And she was a lot more comfortable for the next three months.

I’ve replayed that scene in my head a million times since then. I think I gave the right answer. She didn’t want to think about death. She never did.

When she gave me her diamond earrings the last time I saw her she said, “it’s just that they’re too big for my head now.”

It’s been 6 years, 183 days since she breathed her last. I would have thought that the random huge grief would lessen with time. I guess not yet. Not yet.

And I have to admit that losing a mother is just about the most enormous thing a person faces – bigger even than diamond earrings.

I’m thinking today of people who’ve lost their mothers recently, especially Dr. M, Chris, Rachel and Rebecca. Hoping the diamonds outweigh the grief most of the time.


  1. a very touching and personal post. Thanks for sharing

  2. my Aunt was like my 2nd mother and she has been gone over 2 years now. There are days that the grief still catches me by surprise. I miss her.

  3. What a beautiful story - all of it. Yes you answered perfectly! Well done, you, a gift to your mother.

    Thinking of you with love.

  4. Your mom was very blessed to have a daughter like you!

  5. Love that about diamonds being too big for her head. My Mum didn't like to discuss the inevitable either. Even right at the end.

    For all the sadness it is good that we had Mums we could love so much, isn't it? The alternative is far worse.


  6. Very moving post, my love to you.

    And that random huge grief. I don't think it ever goes.

  7. You know how, once in a while, when your husband comes into a room or does some little thing, your heart swells with love for him at that small moment? Your grief is really just the love for your mother--still there, still active--rising to the surface. We perceive it as sadness because of our great loss; because we know our loved one is gone and we have no tangible receptacle for that love. But it is still love just the same.

    Be glad that you have such a depth of love for your mother that it still springs forth. I'm sure no one would object if you shared it with them.

  8. Thoughts are with you. We all need our moms even though at times we don't think so.

    Side note - it takes the average person 17 minutes to fall asleep. You aren't too far behind.

  9. Hugs to you. I dread the loss of my mother something fierce, for so many reasons. I've told her that she simply can't die, but she pays no attention to me. Like my former dog, Dooley. I told him he had to lie forever, or at least as long as me. He didn't listen. Grief weighs something awful, and sometimes seems to shift its weight upon us just as we adjust to it. It's not friendly one bit. Diamonds, at least, sparkle and make us feel pretty.

  10. That was a perfect answer. You spoke the truth and left the door open for future conversations about her death. You mother would have been more persistent had she really wanted the answer that day. She wasn't ready for it and you were wise to respect that and acknowledge it with the proper answer.

  11. You answered your mother's question perfectly. It's been five years since my mother died and nearly 10 for my father, and still, sometimes I'm taken unaware by waves of grief. Life is bittersweet without them.


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