No mother I have ever met has asked to become a member of the “Grieving Mothers Club.” This club is not fun or normal and yet I am finding that mother by the 100’s are being forced to join this club on a yearly basis. While I am not happy about being a card carrying member of this club, I am so very thankful that I am not at the beginning of this journey, a newbie to the world of grieving the death of a child. I have come a long way in my 66 months and 10 days. To some who stand on the outside of my world, judging and telling me how to do this, I look very foolish and pitiful, but to those who have accepted the new me they know I have come a long way, baby!
While some mothers are further along and other are just beginning to come out of the fog, I have learned many valuable things along my journey. I have tried to share my feeling with everyone as best I know how; to a world that cannot comprehend what I am going through. I have tried to describe my journey in very descriptive details, more than most normal people want to read, but the words that other grieving mother can read, relate to and breathe a sigh of relief to know they are “NORMAL.”
I am reading a new book, a biography, and I found something that the author said very enlightening and felt it applied to me and all other grieving mothers. If you are new to this journey you may feel I am silly with my words and how can that be possible, but if you are further along you will understand me, metaphorically speaking.
I have learned that I have times when I “take off the grieving mother and hang her in the closet,” I can put the grieving mother on a hanger, and put on a “semi-normal” me to face the world. There are times now when I can literally “be” Sherry, without feeling conflicted with who the world thinks me to be from my title of grieving mother. I have learned it is OKAY to be both—I don’t ever get rid of the grieving mother; I just need to know when to wear grieving and when to hang her up, metaphorically speaking.
I know you think I am insane and I have really lost my mind now. What in the world am I talking about and how is this possible. I have shared with everyone that I recently went back to work after 29 years away from the working world. I did not go applying for every job that came along, I had a very specific job in mind and I went after it and I got it. I have been on the job for 5 weeks and I LOVE IT! I am happy! When I go to work I am a Disney Cast Member and not a grieving mother. For a small amount of time being a grieving mother is not my main title. I have been able to “hang-up” the grieving Sherry for the Cast Member Sherry. NO! Heather is never very far from my thoughts, but for me when I am working, I am focused on the guest and making their visit magical.
Many of you will say okay, Sherry, I work and I don’t feel happy or magical. I would say then you don’t work for Disney…kidding. For me personally, I have needed to be away from the house with something specific to do. The Cast Members for the most part do not know me or my situation. I have shared with a few new friends the quick version of 21 yr old daughter died 5 yrs ago..blah, blah, but they know the “new” me and not the old me that was I was. All they know and see is the ‘new” me. I also needed to focus on something. When I was raising the girls, they came first, then Heather got cancer and she came first, and then she died, leaving me to wonder who I am and where do I fit. Working at The Disney Store I feel I have found myself, the new me. I am using Disney language in my everyday life, and it feels good! I find myself feeling and being very positive and others around me are noticing how happy I am.
|My name badge-My character is Rapunzel for many reasons|
Honestly for the first time heading into the holiday season I am okay. This is not to say that smelly old man depression isn’t going to show up this year, I am just at a better place right now in this moment. I am terrified about working my first retail holiday season. I have listened to the girls tell about their experiences and I would be foolish if I thought this was going to be easy. Here it is Halloween and I have skipped forward into Thanksgiving and Christmas. I realize that my decorations and Christmas letter need to be done the week before Thanksgiving. Our store is open for 26 solid hours the Thanksgiving weekend beginning on Thursday at 8ish.While I am racing towards the retail season I also know that I am racing towards Heather’s birthday as well. But this year as with all the other years is different and that is okay, metaphorically speaking.