The Kids Are Alright
The following is an excerpt from a post written by Jacie Scott for Journal-ish.com and originally published on September 27, 2018, the anniversary of Cathy Scott’s passing.
I think all three of us - my brother, sister and I - handled mom’s death the same, but differently. If that makes any sense. My sister, for example, was only 15 when mom passed away - the youngest and probably the strongest of the three kids. She was the one who found mom in a diabetic coma just days before she passed.
“Normally when I got home, I’d go in and hang out with her,” my sister told me. “She wasn’t responsive when I was talking, but she wasn’t dead. I knew what it was, so I got her a Coke. After that didn’t help, I called [a family friend] who lived down the street. She came, then dad and the ambulance arrived together.”
I think my sister had it the hardest. She was there for everything. She saw everything. I had the luxury, if you can call it that, of going back to LSU and living in my distractions. She had to continue living in the very house that she saw her mom leave out of for the last time. She is the strongest.
She, too, handled her grief by taking on the mindset that she needed to just keep living, and it would get easier as time went on.
“In doing that, I don’t think I ever really grieved,” she told me. “I’d have a break down every 27th day of each month that year. Eventually it got suppressed and I wasn’t necessarily sad anymore. Just numb.”
While I had her on the phone at Bed, Bath and Beyond that day, I asked how she was doing. Did she still feel grief? Did she ever have random breakdowns? Of course, she did.
My sister is a new mom to the most adorable 16-month-old human being ever, in my biased opinion, and this new role has understandably triggered a lot of the emotions she’d blocked after losing mom. She recently started doing something that I still haven’t had the balls to do. She started meeting with a therapist. It’s helped her process the grief she didn’t acknowledge in the beginning and manage the new anxieties she’s faced in motherhood.
P.S. Did I mention that my sister is so strong, and I want to be her when I grow up?
One thing I’ve learned over the years, and especially in these last few weeks, is that there’s no right or wrong way to manage your grief. There are certainly better ways to process grief, but people will do what they feel is best for them in that moment. And it’s important for them to know that that’s ok.
I’ve also learned that no matter how you choose to manage that grief in the beginning, years will go by and you will still have the feels. Whether it’s on that specific day of loss, around that time of year, or randomly while shopping. Because the pain of losing someone you love never really goes away. It doesn’t get easier. You just get stronger. You learn to cope. You figure out how to get through those days and you let yourself have those random break downs. You realize that it’s ok to feel, because it ultimately makes you stronger. I think that’s what we’ve learned over the years.
We love you. We miss you. It gets hard, but we’re alright.