Day Eleven

Aside from my mother’s eulogy, I haven’t written anything in eleven days. So sitting down to write this feels sort of odd and foreign. Eleven days is a long time for me not to have written anything humorous or added a chapter to my novel.

Instead, the last eleven days have been hell. Eleven days of being nauseated at the very thought that my mama’s name will never again pop up on my Caller ID. Eleven days of emotional rollercoasters- moments of peace that she’s in Heaven, followed by moments of selfishness because I still want her here with me. Eleven days that I wish we didn’t have to experience.

Eleven days of me warning everyone who comes in the house not to throw away the Sesame Street cupcakes in the refrigerator- although they are old and messy and hard as rocks- because my mother brought them for my son only days before she died.

Eleven days of piles of laundry and dusty floors and my children walking out of the house without having all of their homework done or pants that match their shirts or brushed hair because I don’t care about chores and tasks and responsibilities.

Eleven days of me lying in a bed because I can’t move once I open my eyes after unsound sleep and my first thought is, “Mama is dead.”

Eleven days of not writing because it is too painful.

I said in my mama’s eulogy what an influence she was on me with her storytelling and writing her own tales and poems. I don’t know how I’ll make it through so many more years without hearing the factual stories of her youth or the fictional stories about fairies and farms and characters with funny names. She’s influenced everything I’ve ever written- with her love for elaborate synonyms, and her humor, and the way her mind worked to weave a plot. She’s always been the reason I do what I do, and without her, I don’t have the desire to do it anymore.

She went to bed eleven nights ago, with her suitcase packed at the foot of her bed for her upcoming trip to Destin. She went to bed with a glass of water on her nightstand and her church clothes hanging on the chest of drawers. She went to bed healthy and fun and beautiful and never woke up. My husband was the first to find her lying there, and when he walked in our house with eyes soaked with tears, I knew she was gone. I fell to my knees, and I knew that the next eleven days- months and years- would produce this hollow and sickening feeling.

I’ve been terrified to be alone since that Sunday morning. My sister or brother or husband or children have been with me every second of the last eleven days, but now I’m alone. Life goes on, the kids go to school, the husband has to go back to work, and I sit here surrounded by these piles of laundry and dusty furniture and responsibilities and sympathy cards and beautiful ceramic angels and gifts. I look out the window to a pool that desperately needs vacuuming, a dog that needs brushing, mums that need watering, but I can’t move. I want to call my mama and ask her what to do.

If only the last words I’d told her were “I love you”. If only I’d taken more time to sit on her couch and talk with her instead of popping in for short visits because I had to get the kids to softball or go home to write or do whatever I thought was more important at the time. If only I’d recorded more of her beautiful, flawless performances on the piano. If only I’d listened better when she gave me advice or told me how to can tomatoes or make buttercream icing. If only I’d known the last time I spoke to her would be the last time- all the things I would have said.

If only I’d known that she was going to die on my daddy’s birthday. She was reunited in Heaven with him on his very birthday, which I have to believe is something other than beautiful coincidence. But all of that- his birthday, her death, the day I officially felt like a 34-year-old orphan, the shock of it all- that was all eleven days ago.

I remember the toughest time of grieving after my father and godfather died- the days after- maybe the 11th day or the 12th, the month after- when the calls and letters and hugs stopped. When the shock wears off and you find yourself forgetting for a moment that she’s gone- you crave her meatloaf and hearing her play the piano and her story about the crazy fool who rode around town on a motorcycle in the 50’s with a colander on his head. When people see you in the store and forget that you just experienced a great loss and they instead talk about their child’s latest bout with eczema or the funny thing they saw on TV. Your tragedy is old news and life goes on for everyone else- husbands go back to work, children need to send in money for the upcoming field trip, there’s a new party invitation in the mail, a new book signing you are supposed to attend. Facebook statuses about other people’s normal are unbearable to read, and you’re left with a hole that will never be filled. wpid-screenshot_2015-09-21-21-58-32-1-1.png.png

I’ve been through this hurt before, and I know I will smile again. I know the Lord walks with the brokenhearted. I know I will write again, and laugh again, and life will eventually go on, but not today. I’m not ready to live today as I did eleven days ago- as if everything is normal. I’m not ready to leave the bed or go to the grocery or look at Facebook and like photos of other people’s joy. I’m not ready to wash the clothes or vacuum the pool or brush the knot out of the dog’s tail. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to embrace this new normal without my mother here.

Today is the 11th day, but to me, it still feels like the first.







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About Susannah

I'm a freelance writer, blogger, aspiring best-selling author, wife of one and stay-at-home mother of two. I was chosen for the Top 13 in Blogger Idol and contribute pieces to The Huffington Post and Hahas for Hoohas. My work has also been featured in several humorous e-books, "Southern Writers’ Magazine", "The Humor Daily", "The Funny Times" and on the Erma Bombeck website. When I'm not putting pen to paper, bandaging boo-boos or spraying Shout on unidentifiable stains, I enjoy reading, playing the piano and teaching my children all about Southern charm. God has blessed me beyond measure and to Him be the glory forever.

12 thoughts on “Day Eleven

  • Gwen

    Love and.prayers for you,I have walked in your shoes and know how you feel let me just say that I talk to my mom and dad all the time even though mom has been gone for 7 years this December and Dad has been gone 6 years this November.when I talk to them I know they hear me and I feel their spirit when I crazy but it comforts me ,talk to your mom,she is hearing and watching over you as well as your dad.I can picture God asking your dad what special wish he would like on his birthday and your dad replying I want my soul mate here with me Lord.God bless you and I’m sure they’re saving a place for you!

  • Meghan

    I have so been where you are and I’m sorry for your loss. My daughter passed away and it took all the normal away from me too! You put into words what I could not describe. Your inspirational and such a wonderful person! Prayers for you going up.

  • Christine Carter

    I haven’t stopped praying for you. I’m sick with worry and grief for you. Hold on. Keep reminding yourself what your mama would want for you right now. Your strength, your hilarious humor, your beautiful gift of writing, your faith, your mission in motherhood, and the mercy and support of others to be present now AND in a month, two months, six months and beyond. I’m guessing these things and more is what she would be looking for in your life. Make your mama proud! *When you are ready* For now? Just hold on. Survive. Each day.

  • Kerry Thomas

    Prayers for you…..I know exactly how you feel. Saturday it will be 23 months since my Momma went to bed and didn’t wake up the next morning. I felt exactly the same way that you are feeling now. I still have the what if’s that run thru my mind, I still have times that I go to pick up the phone to call her, or times when one of the kids do something and I think “I can’t wait to tell Momma about this”…..just know that she will forever be with you.

  • Sally

    I am so sorry. My mom died almost two years ago and I still cry. Give yourself time and love and if you look closely, I bet you can see her in your children’s eyes now and again.

  • Amy

    My heart aches for you, Susannah. I too know the stabbing pain you feel from losing your mother. You never stop grieving. It comes in waves though. So just hold on; ride the immobilizing sadness out, and let it process through you. It’s OK and totally normal. No matter if it’s day one, day eleven or day five-thousand-eleven. ((hugs))

  • Carrie

    I still have my mom, but I’ve almost lost her once and I can’t imagine the shock and horror of it not turning out all right… That being said, I’m also a single mom and I read that post about your single mom you wrote a year or so ago. I cried then, hoping I’ll do that well with my own babies, and I went back and re-read it when I heard about your mom’s passing. I know, as a single mom, that post made her heart burst with gratitude that she did something right and y’all recognized it and flourished thru it, because sometimes, when they are teenagers and the other parent is MIA for whatever reason, you feel hopeless and like you’ll never do anything but raise a couple of statistics. I’m sure you didn’t get it all said that last time you talked, but I’m equally sure that lady knew how much you loved, respected, and appreciated her. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Gloria Escue

      You take all the time you need and then some. I lost both parents in less than a year and was with them at the end… We are never ready to let them go. Don’t let what if’s take away all the joy, love and precious memories you have of her. The pain never goes away; time heals nothing but it gives you longer to try to adapt. You suffered a great loss with both parents and godfather.. She will live within you forever and there will be times when you can actually feel her presence with you. Losing your Mom was such a shock I know. I still keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers. I pray you are able to find Peace and Joy in your life with your children and family… You will. It just takes time and grief counseling is readily available… God Bless you all.

  • Kristi Pendergrast

    Awwwww darlin, I wished I could hug you right now or hold you while you vent and cry. Your mom was so proud of you kids. Mom was so excited to see her this fall, and wished she could have taken off to be there to pay respects to her. I know days are difficult, weeks, and months and years will be difficult. She would want you to be happy she is in a better place but I know we as humans want to be selfish in those times to have them back. God had bigger plans for her and she is in a much better place than we could ever imagine. I had no idea it was your dads birthday as well. So I know that date forever will never be the same. It could have also been a sign to let you know how very much she missed him and that she is okay and has found her peace-with God. One thing I do know is you kids were her world, I know your going through some emotional depression because of the circumstances. But she would want you to pick yourself up again, put those pieces that are broken back together and live, for her, for you, for your husband, and precious kids! You will get your strength back daily, it will be hard but you are strong. I love you and if you ever need to vent, cry, or even scream in here ill listen ill hit you, talk about old times cry with you and dust you off and help you any way I can baby girl. Love you so so very much and you all have been in our prayers everyday and will continue to be! Stay strong, she gained and earned those beautiful wings, now she is in heaven playing piano for our savior waiting on us all! I love you!

  • Katie Tawater

    It’s been 6 years since my mom was suddenly taken. As I read and re-read your words, tears flood my face. After 6 years worth of days, it still feels like one to me too. I’m the ‘baby’ out of 5 kids. I’m so jealous of my siblings because they had her longer than I did.

  • Lauri.

    Oh Susannah, I’m so sorry for your loss! How tragic when it happens out of the blue like that… Such a shock. I’ve read some really beautiful responses that pretty much leaves me speechless. I know you to be a strong woman – who will embrace life like mama would want you to do.

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