Mid May to Mid June is my loss trigger crunch time. I write about it every year because it’s a thing. Mothers Day: May 12. Mom’s B-day: May 24th. Mom’s Deathiversary: June 6. Miles’s Birthday: June 8. Grads/dads, and end of the year events like karate belt tests and tween Instagram posts exacerbate the nostalgia and the milestones that matter to like 3 people in my life, one of whom is gone.
I miss my mom, but she drives me forward, always.
The investigation I’m doing with MILK Podcast: The Loss Season, is fueling me. I’ve done 8 interviews so far this season and have more episodes to come, every other week. I have so many questions about loss to ask.
I was able to interview my middle sister Lanie about her work as an oncologist and about how her life changed when my mom had cancer. Like MILK Caroline Schrank of Down to Earth Funerals, Lanie is able to discuss end of life with knowledge and compassion because she is not afraid to confront it. She has contributed so much to conversations around integrative oncology, patient and nurse advocacy, as well as writing her own rules in the medical world. She is an inspiring doctor, person, and sister, and I am super excited to share this interview soon. I’m thinking about how much our mom would appreciate us talking about how we parent and what we learned from her example.
I love what I’m making right now, how I’m connecting with my communities, and how being a parent is challenging in a new way. The kids are more complex emotionally then ever, and there is that that loss of the mom I was — to babies, toddlers, elementary schoolers. I’m loving and treasuring my female friends, and finding ways to feel joy and pleasure despite the calamitous state of the world.
I’m also thinking about success, and what that means to me in these times, at this age, with these concepts of loss in mind. I’m making this show, this season, the way I want to make it because I’m on a mission to understand how loss shapes this half of life as a parent. But I’m also trying to make a living, as my industries are changing and I’m here with the skills I’ve honed, wanting to create and earn. Especially with my kids having needs in new and surprising ways, that are different from the early, messy, desperate years of baby and toddlerhood. So I’m trying to grow this and make it better and collaborate and make a living doing it. Its a new challenge. I’m having to pivot and learn new skills.
I am aware of my talent and experience. Hungry for meaning and for some wins.
I’m thinking about how I want to set examples for my children, teach them how to show up for people, to connect, to use their empathy and creativity to help and support. I’m thinking about amplifying people where I can and watching them shine. Because my mom did this.
I’m thinking about Brazitte Poole, a wonderful woman from my hometown of Pittsburgh, that our family met three years ago when she applied for a scholarship we set up in my mom’s name. Brazitte graduated from Duquesne Law School last week on my mom’s birthday, and we can’t wait to see the good work she will do in this troubled world. Judi’s legacy lives on through women like Brazitte.
And of course, I’m thinking about Heather as we roll into summer, her favorite season. I miss her. It is so weird, and so confusing that she is not here. So I’ll keep trying to understand and appreciate what it really means to be here one minute and then gone the next. I’ll dance to Prince and other dumb songs with the other mom friends and laugh and cry and talk and remember. I will be there for her family and for my own.
Stay with me on the loss thing. It’s real.