Complicated Grief

My mother’s death was not an easy one.

I do not think any alcoholics death is easy.

She was out of pain. She did seem peaceful;

That is all true;

But it was not easy.

Alcohol abuse thins tissue walls.

The internal organs of an alcoholic are very, very thin.

My mothers death was not an easy one.

My mother was peaceful and calm

and as the day wore on I could see the change come over her;

the moving away from




I can not erase the memories and I don’t want to.

I can not erase the memories

and I want nothing more.

Complicated Grief.

I took a photo of my mother early in the day

before she  seemed to have passed beyond the veil.

I looked at the photo today for the first time.

I wish I had not.

The Woman in the photo is not the Woman I remember lying with

on November 30th, 2011.

The Woman in the photo had already wandered on her way.

I wish I had not taken a look at the photo of my mother.

Now there is no going back to the image in my head and heart of she and I together,

her hearing my words, and feeling my touch,

and coming closer as she moved away.

Today I lost the last image I had of my mother and I together

lying in Peace with one another.

Today I lost the ONLY image I had of my mother and I lying in Peace together;

the only one.

Complicated Grief just got even more so.

So it goes.

Everyone says, “Take care of yourself. Go easy.”

How? How do I do that?

How does anyone make it through

such Complicated Grief?

Peace, only not so much here,


~ by Step On a Crack on January 2, 2012.

15 Responses to “Complicated Grief”

  1. Oh, dear Jen. I have no answers. Just arms trying to span the distance to give comfort to your wounded soul. I don’t know how anyone gets through. They just do. Keep writing. Keep pouring your soul onto your keyboard and accept what little we can offer. Praying Gods grace is sufficient for you. For you who is loved without end. Yes, dear one, peace and love.


    • Dear Debby,

      Thank you for being here! Time. Time and more time.

      And writing. It is funny, I am isolating in my physical life as is my wont to do when devastated BUT here I am HERE!

      Lovely. I will count my blessings and count you twice!

      XXX. J


  2. Jen, what is it? Don’t go easy. Go the way you must. What is the complication? Tell someone. I don’t know your mind. Only you can unravel your hell. That is what you are saying. xxx mel


  3. Ah, but you still have the image, my friend! It hasn’t gone away because you’re writing about it here.

    Be careful not to confuse the mind’s image with the heart’s and the soul’s. The visual picture you have is far less important than the feelings of the healing you shared in your mother’s last moments.


  4. For me there were multiple impressions of dad’s death.. the feeling of peace and passing, the te pretty awful physical reality. For a time those two impressions jiggled back and forwards in my thoughts and I resented the memory of the ‘physical breaking’… but I think I had to spend some time with it to be able to release it and have it release me. Now I can still very much remember the details but they don’t hold emotional weight anymore. Mm what does go easy with yourself mean? That is a good question. I would say eat when you can, cry when you need to, talk when you feel like it, go outside and walk when everything feels stuck, let people love you and forgive yourself all the mess and murk that you feel. The most important thing is hang on..


    • Oh my. Thank you so much. You know what this is like and your comment makes that clear. It is amazing how reading this helps me feel not so alone or misunderstood. I like the ‘jiggled back and forwards’ image. That helps to know that your too had ‘jiggling’.

      I did an awful lot of thinking about what you said and you are right; I do need to spend time with it before I will be able to release it. Period. No other way.

      Outside. Yes. I will walk in the botanic gardens tomorrow and see the sky that Mrs. D. mentions.

      Outside. ‘Jiggle’. Spend time with it….

      Yes. Thank you very very much. Man this is HARD. You just made it easier.

      XXX Jen


  5. Nothing lasts forever. Not grief. Not joy. Not beautiful images. Not haunting ones. It’s best to just live in the moment when things from the past creep in and threaten our peace. There’s never nothing going on. If you want a beautiful image, simply look around. Look closer.
    Beautiful write. Powerful and fearless. Thank you for sharing.
    Peace & grace,


  6. You are takng care of your self, right here. Everyone is just giving you permission to do it, an invitation to take your engine apart right here, if you want, and clean and grease every part, and put it back together, and if you cannot remember how it goes together, to get the owners manual right here. That IS taking care of yourself.
    And “go easy” means “don’t feel guilty if a bereaved person has to grieve”. Sounds too simple, but I do guilt all the time and my family has taught me: Something I do HAS to be okay. It can’t be that everything is wrong, so I have to go easy on myself.
    And that is doubly true for someone in mourning.
    In the good ol’ days, people wore mourning clothing to show they were sad and inward and given to tears–even heavy veiling to separate the teary one from the tsk-ing ones–to give them time and space as they walked through each day. That time and space is what “go easy” means.
    I think I repeat myself, now, but it is important to know this: Statistically, mourning takes about two years to complete, for an “easy” death, and longer for a difficult one. Usually. So, although each death and each mourning is unique, it might be good to think it might take longer than we feel we have time or energy for.
    And it is normal for the grieving one to feel like “I am a bother” but among those who love, that is untrue.
    Oh, and we love you.
    And that is what it all means.


    • kathy you nail it ALL in this comment! I want to wear a heavy gown and wear my sorrow. I want to open swollen eyes and have it be not just OK but accepted. I DO feel I am a bother! I am the caretaker and this is not my gig. I feel vulnerable and as an adult child of an alcoholic I do NOT wear that well at all. I bristle at the thought.

      I really appreciate the imagery of taking my engine apart. I carried this thought today and wrote and wrote as I took that sucker apart. It is ONE MESSY engine and that is the truth.

      cleaning this engine of grief is going to be hard work and to make this thing run smoothly is NOT going to be easy or quick.

      I am going with this image. I am taking this image and running with it.

      Thank you. I uncovered some gunky stuff which helped me understand what is in my way using this image as my template.

      You are a genius!

      God Bless you! XXX Jen


  7. Looking inward, thinking and writing about it, can lead to peaceful places. Sometimes the noise feels it will overwhelm one, but keep breathing, deep and slow, and peace will come.


  8. Everyone has already written perfectly terrific stuff. I can only say “ditto” and my own mantra for the past going-on-six years: the only way out is through.

    That’s just the way it is.

    Big hugs to you, Jen. And love and light.


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