01 July 2004
My wife's mother died about a month ago. She was golfing with her friends and a blood vessel in her brain essentially blew up. For her part it was in all likelihood a nice way to go. No pain - just a little confusion and then fade to black.
For the rest of the family it has been horrible. My wife has a brother and a sister. Everyone was together for the 4 or 5 days she was on life support and for 3 days after she died - planning and then living through the wake and funeral.
Then everyone went back to their lives.
Now it's been just over a month and many people expect the grieving to be winding down. And that makes it even harder, because it's not. People who've lived through it know better. It takes at least a year before you START to feel normal again - before the grief is not sitting right there on your shoulder waiting to blind side you when you aren't looking.
The first year is the hardest because it's the year of firsts - everyone has their first birthday without their mom (or wife or sister ...), the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas. And as hard as those are, sometimes it's the other days that are worse. My wife talked to her mom about twice a day every day. Close doesn't begin to describe how they were. The impulse to call her is deeply ingrained. That's the part many people don't get.
At least a year before you BEGIN to feel normal, and several more years before you really feel normal.
Of course, you never get over it. You learn to live with it as people have always done, but you don't get over it.