That’s what I miss.

Everybody has these days. For no real reason, you can’t sleep. You’re not particularly tired and there’s not really any purpose in staying in bed until your alarm. You get up and go about your morning. For me, instead of things around the house, I always find myself going in to work early. There’s always stuff to do at work, right?

On these mornings, mornings I’ve had forever, I always have a moment of hesitation when I pull into my parking space at work. I take a deep breath and think about my day. In the past on many of these mornings I would call my mom. When I lived in Colorado, it wasn’t even a thought. She was two hours later than I was, so it was fine to call. After I moved East and started working again, I’d call her every once in a while and realize on the third ring that it was early in her morning, too. There were definitely a few times when I woke her up, but she never minded. She would say it was nice to start her day talking with me. Most of the time, anyway. I do remember once when I apologized and she said ok and then hung up. I didn’t mind.

In the past couple of weeks Mom’s birthday has come and gone. It was also six months since she passed. Six months since her viewing. Six months since her funeral. Six months since I’ve seen some family. And as much as those moments hurt and made me remember more acutely how much I miss her and feel her absence, this is really what I miss the most. Sitting in a parking lot looking at the field at my school, thinking about my day and all that awaits me, and just chatting with my mom. It’s not something I was able to do until six months ago. No. Mom was gone before we lost her. But still. It’s this.

When you are grieving or when you’re trying to support someone you love as they grieve, remember this. Remember it’s not always the big things. Sometimes it can be something you can’t even see that is the hardest. A friend reminded me the other day that grief is not a linear process. It’s true. Today, if people ask me, “What’s wrong? You seem off,” I will probably respond to most with something like, “I’m just tired.” Really, though, what I want to say is, “I just miss my mom.”

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