The other day I was at a strategic planning meeting for 2015. It was offsite, meaning "not in the office", and we went into a room as a group and discussed our work for four hours. We came out, ate shrimp and drove off in our cars for the evening. We'd talked about some of the most critical work in health care.
As I drove home, ready for the weekend, I managed to carve out my space to think of her. I arrived home. We couldn't decide what to do for dinner. I walked into my bedroom and took a few moments to read my Twitter feed. I was struck by grief at that time, and it continued with me all evening. I even dreamed of my mom, and she stayed with me through yesterday and then I dreamed of her again just prior to waking up a half hour ago. I met it even though I didn't know it would be there waiting for me, in my bedroom, likely where I'd left it after dressing and exiting earlier that morning for the day.
That's how it is now.
This idea of carving out space inside of me is something I've been feeling since late May. My family went on a trip to New Mexico. We went back to a place that we'd spent much time together, somewhere I was likely conceived, and it was good. It was reinforcing that the grief can be met. I know now that it will never go away. It's not just a thing that eventually stops. That's what is difficult and also significant to me, as its power is how I will push through, how I will never stop remembering her final moments and how I will never take for granted her authority and goodness.
I don't think about cancer. I don't think about the medical part of it. That piece -- I want to push away right now. I draw on it when I consider how monstrous of a challenge it was, and that we -- really, just she -- met it and said you will not beat me. There was a discussion about "ideal patient outcomes" at a meeting the other day, and there is a nuance and satisfaction to small victories that seem nothing but are everything. You don't know this until you live it. It's a blood test or a procedure and the results. But it's also getting on the right elevator to take the test and finding a good parking spot and the day's temperature being just right so you can sit outside for lunch in between all the shit.
I carve out and I meet. I let myself cry. I meet the grief and I take it and I continue walking down the hall. Some days I just pitch it out the window. Other days, I leave it for later. I let myself wish so desperately that I could talk to her. I have let go of anger, but I'm indifferent to talking about it. I am carving out my space to be alone with it. I want to read and run and swim and do it easily without feeling tired or frayed. My daughter stops and will get teary-eyed at random moments. I will ask her what's wrong. Her response every single time is: "I miss grandma".