Tearless Distraction

I have been unconsciously distracting myself from the rapidly-approaching first anniversary of my mother’s death, which will arrive all too soon on May 31st. I have become busy again with many projects and plans, being productive and constructive and feeling increasingly connected to my body and the world around me, in new and surprising ways.

I still think of her every day, and smile at the photographs of her on my fridge, but I have not been making space for sorrow, and I have been feeling an increasing edginess that nudgingly reminds me that soon, sometime soon, I need to. So tonight I posted a poem and some links to songs that remind me of her, and her death, on the memorial website that was created for her, and I listened to those songs, one at a time. Last year, they had me weeping time and time again, but tonight I find the tears that have dried up these past months are not yet ready to flow.

I hope they do soon. The ache I begin to feel when they are absent reminds me of a poem I wrote (and posted) last August whilst sitting on a red London bus on a rainy day:


Countless others
Have likened the rain to tears, or tears to rain.
The comparison should have lost its potency through reiteration
Yet, sitting watching drops trickle steadily down the window,
I can think of nothing but how they would feel on my cheek –
Cold rather than hot and salty,
Expressing my sorrow when my body cannot.


16 thoughts on “Tearless Distraction

  1. Her memory will live on forever strong through you and the powerful thoughts and emotions you evoke. Stay strong during this phase fast approaching the anniversary and remember to just express freely whatever you may feel as none of it can ever be wrong.

  2. I think they’ll come. Loss is that temperate thing that can absolutely overwhelm, and yet sit silent for time on end… but there’s nothing bad about either. Take care! x

  3. My thoughts are with you as you approach this anniversary. We had a small ceremony at the gravesite, with the unveiling of my mom’s gravestone, on the first anniversary of her death. Oddly, I didn’t cry that day, just as I didn’t cry at my mom’s funeral. But I made up for that on the days following both occasions. You will cry when the time is right and release the tears that need to be shed. As I approach my dad’s wedding (8 days from today), I find myself really missing my mom, that familiar ache of loss weighing on my heart. I know the tears will flow soon. Take care and remember you are not alone.

    1. Thank you Kathy, I really appreciate your sharing of your experiences, it is so comforting. I’m sorry it has been such a hard time for you – the wedding, your birthday, Mother’s Day… Sending a big *hug*

  4. Laurel, anniversaries are so painful. Sending hugs your way.

    As usual, I can so relate to your words. When I began crying less often, the absence of that level of emotion bothered me. I was still sad but mending, and sad to be mending. It’s as if I wanted to stay an open wound in order to be exposed to/closer to the time when my love was alive. Healing/sealing/mending meant a sort of closing. The healing happens in stages and each new layer of scar tissue makes me irritable. But the good news I found was that just when I was afraid I wasn’t going to be crying that much any more, I started crying again. A lot. In the morning, at night, in public, alone, sober, buzzed — the tears still come and I LOVE them.

    I think you’re really smart to make time for sorrow; how beautiful.

    p.s. I haven’t forgotten that I want to email you …. working more hours lately & juggling, same excuse as always.

    1. My dearest Ruth, do not worry, I am more than happy to wait until the time is right for you to email.

      It is always so comforting to hear of other’s experiences of loss – there are so many overlaps, no matter how different our stories, and how varied our journeys. Your words feel immensely reassuring.

  5. A warm hug to you – my first visit to your blog and I love everything I see and read. Dad passed away 6 years ago and to this day I tear up suddenly when something I see or hear brings back memories….and at other times I feel just peace and tranquility take me closes to him…you will find your own time and space too…stay well.

  6. Hi Laurel,
    I picked up your link off Finding Life in a Death and popped over to see you.

    I hope you managed your Mum’s anniversary ok.
    The first ones are always the most difficult, birthdays and christmas especially.
    I miss the little things that my mum used to do,like calling me on my birthday and singing happy birthday down the phone, and the cards that she used to send, as she used to spend so much time picking them so so carefully, making sure the words were right, that they became part of her present for the day.
    It’s funny how a little memory like that can bring the tears still.
    Kathy says ” that familiar ache of loss weighing on her heart” .. how true that is.
    I hope that your tears were not too painful when they arrived. Sometimes just shedding those tears is a relief.
    Good luck with your journey, there will be many more ups down to come I’m afraid, but when the downs come, just remember your Mum with a smile on her face, enjoying herself. 🙂
    love n hugs xxx

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