You Can’t Wait to Live in the After. You Have to Live in the Now.

It has been 4 months today since my mom died.

I say this all the time, but it still doesn’t seem real. It feels like it was both yesterday and a lifetime ago. In some ways, it was a lifetime ago. A different life back then, a different me.

I still feel so lost. I don’t know who I am or what I want to do with my life. Now that my mom is gone and our journey is over, I feel this urgent need to figure it all out.

I used to be so busy, so much hurry up and wait. Hurry up to be by her side and then wait until it was time to go home, only to hurry back to her side once again. I have all of this time now and I don’t know what to do with it. I have this emptiness in my life and I don’t know how to fill it.

So much of my life and my self identified with my mom’s Alzheimer’s. Now that my mom is gone, it feels like a part of my identity is gone with her. Like a part of my life and my self has died, too.

It feels like every week I take one step forward and two steps back.

And while I know there is no rush and no real urgency, it feels that way to me because I no longer have the excuse that I’m taking care of my mom. I no longer have any justification for not doing more with my life.

My mom was diagnosed at 62 and she died at 72. I am already 35. I don’t want to waste my whole life trying to figure out what I want to do and then end up dying before I’ve had the chance to actually do it.

During the ten years of my mom’s illness, I put my life on hold until the after.

“I’ll do that after my mom dies.”

“I’ll figure that out after my mom dies.”

“I’ll start living my life again after my mom dies.”

And now that I’m actually in the after, I’m having this sort of “oh shit” moment.

I’ve been feeling like I want to call someone to talk about it all, but I haven’t been quite sure who it is I want to call. I recently realized the person I want to call is my mom.

Obviously, I can’t.

I don’t visit my mom’s grave very often because I don’t want to feel like I have to go there to feel close to her. I know she’s not really there. She’s everywhere. She’s all around me.

So, I created this space in my backyard where I can go to talk to her and feel close to her. I went out there yesterday and sobbed for a good thirty minutes.

I told her about how lost I’ve been feeling. I told her how I can’t believe it’s already been four months. I told her how sad I am that she’s gone and how much I miss her.

But I also told her that I’m going to be ok because I know I will be…eventually.

One day at a time.

And friends, please let this be a reminder to you.

You can’t wait to live in the after.

You have to live in the now.

You can’t wait to live in the after. You have to live in the now.

5 thoughts on “You Can’t Wait to Live in the After. You Have to Live in the Now.

  1. Deepest condolences on the loss of your amazing mom. I cant imagine how hard this must all be! But, I truly believe as a nurse who has cared for those with Alzheimers that she is watching over you every moment with a smile. The garden tribute looks beautiful.

  2. Lauren, I just sobbed as I read this post to my husband. You perfectly described what I’ve been doing for the last 5-7 years, focusing on my sweet mom…. My husband is retired and seriously ill, but I don’t feel like I can winter someplace warm with him because I won’t leave my mom. Even vacations longer than 7-10 days have been so hard for me to commit to. And now with the nursing home shutdown, I feel like she’s already gone. So many things I put on hold. I hit a wall this week and now I realize why I’m crying so much.

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