Word Vomit: Wading Through Grief

So…..I’ve been trying to formulate the words in my head, but I always end up losing my thoughts. So much to say about the last two months and the torrential downpour my emotions have become….so I’m going to do what my mentor and teacher, Francesca, says to do: “Say it badly.”

A little background, because what I’m about to say is very personal and painful. But I know there are others like me, suffering in the same manner as I am…

I have been reading Francesca De Grandis’ books for some time. She is a pagan, witch, shaman, and wonderful person. For any of my pagan followers, she is the creator of The Third Road , a Faerie Tradition.  This is the path I also follow.
The books of hers I’ve read are listed under my Good Reads page.  More books of hers I’m working on are soon to follow.

I recently began taking tele-seminars with Francesca, and as part of that training, she is available for one-on-ones, which is priceless.  I had my first one-on-one with her this weekend.  It was soul-opening.

So, that being said, here is more background on what is happening:

I lost my mother on June 2. This year. It’s very fresh for me. My mother raised me mainly as a single mother. She and my father divorced when I was one year old. She later remarried and divorced again by the time I was five. She didn’t marry again until I was around nine or so. The last husband split on us, took all of my mother’s savings, and left us high and dry…homeless. My mother and I were close. She was my best friend, confidante, hero, and other things I can’t possibly express. She was my one safe haven. I was free from judgment. I could be myself. She gave me the freedom to be whom I wanted and needed to be. I am also her only child. The grief I feel is incomparable. I feel as though a piece of me died with her. I’m actually writing this as I’m gazing over my laptop and looking at her urn. I received it via registered mail on Friday. I should probably mention I live in South Korea, a half a world away from where my mother was. My home. California. I’m looking at all that physically remains of my maternal soul mate. It’s gut wrenching.

When mom’s ashes arrived on Friday I finally lost it. I stood at the post office window, where one of our nation’s finest, an Airman in the USAF, brought me the box holding my mother’s remains. I cried on the spot. I broke down in public. Everything just started pouring out. He looked at me rather confused, and I could only say, “It’s my mom.” The poor guy was utterly speechless. It’s hard sometimes for people to express sympathy or empathy, especially with something so huge. But he did manage to say to me, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Then he returned to silence.

I cried to the car. I cried my way through the store as I picked up a few things I needed to get through the weekend. I cried my way home, up 13 flights, and into my apartment. I cried as I opened the package and gently unwrapped my mother. I set her on the hutch area in my dining room, and I just looked at her. And I talked to her. I cried to her. I let it all out. The only problem was I couldn’t hear her voice. I couldn’t feel her arms around me. I couldn’t see her. And I got angry. So angry.

So, here I am now writing this blog. With my notorious word vomit.

Francesca (my aforementioned mentor and teacher) and I communicate regularly via Twitter. She knows what I’m going through. And I’m told she understands and knows my pain. I believe her. I trust her. So….through Twitter and through classes I’m also taking with her (I’m now on my fourth), we’ve talked a little bit about the trauma I’ve endured since mom died to date. And she offered to have one-on-one time with me in a spiritual lesson…a little faith healing if you will. That’s what I like to call it. I’m sure she also refers to it as shamanism. 🙂

So, we scheduled a time to speak, and when we did speak, it was powerful. Turns out the feelings I’ve written about are only the tip of the iceberg. For those unfamiliar with Francesca, when you do work with her, she channels. She is in trance. And what she is able to feel/see/sense is uncanny. She’s amazing.

There were many things we discussed, but one piece is prominent in my mind. Something that just rings so true! Francesca sensed that a large portion of me feels as though showing my feelings requires permission (for lack of better terms). I thought about it for a minute, and it hit me: WHAM! “Of course I feel that way!!!” See, I lived with a very strong woman. A woman who stayed strong for me, never let me see her falter. A woman who held the family together the best she could (until recent years and a very toxic addition to the family), when my grandmother passed away 15 years ago. Grandma was the glue that held the family together, and I was just as close to her as I was my mother. Only now can I appreciate the closeness of my mother and her mother. How devastating grandma’s loss was to mom. Of course, I was heartbroken and devastated over grandma’s death, but nothing compared to what my mom must have been feeling. I tell you: my mother kept her shit together! I didn’t see her cry one single time when we went back for grandma’s memorial (except during the memorial). My mother didn’t fall apart until after we’d returned to California and my subsequent departure to Nevada, where I was living at the time. She never let me see her fall apart. And not to diminish my mother’s strength or effectiveness as a good mother, I learned that through her. I don’t fall apart in public (except on Friday. That was awkward.). I keep my emotions in check around people. I keep my emotions in check at work. I even keep my emotions in check when I am at home and no one is here. I just keep my emotions in check. Period. And in this case, I did so because I am my mother’s only living heir. Her only blood relative who showed up when she passed. All of a sudden, I was in her role. I was the adult this time. I had to take care of everything this time. I had to hold it together. For her. No family was there, but I had to hold it together for her. To make sure she was taken care of. To make sure her wishes were followed. To make sure that if she was watching over me, she could see she created a strong woman of me. I thought, “I will make her proud. I will show her I can keep my head on my shoulders.” I never had a full breakdown. I cried at her memorial, yes, but not the whole time. I cried up in Oregon visiting my father and my step-mother and siblings. But I always stopped. I never let myself hit “critical mass.” I never fell apart. Because, you know, if you fall apart that means you’re not strong. Strong people don’t fall apart. Yeah, ok. I’m challenging that completely archaic and asinine belief. I said to Francesca in our session, “Who says that falling apart and picking yourself back up again means you can’t be strong?!”

Well, after hanging up with her, the thoughts and feelings that had just started to boil to the top just poured over. They wouldn’t stop coming. I lost my mom.  I was already crying on the phone, but by the time we hung up, the session with Francesca had opened the door for me. The floodgates I built up to hold my emotions in check opened. I couldn’t stop crying. And I couldn’t stop being angry. I couldn’t stop thinking, “who the hell is anyone to tell me I’m not strong!?” Oooooh……you don’t even know what strength is until you fall apart! And that’s when the anger kicked in. I started getting angry at everything. I got angry with the gods. I got angry with myself. I got angry with my mother. I got angry with the fates. I sat in my living room and screamed, “Why?! Why take my mother so early?! Fuck you! Keep throwing it at me! I will make it through this!” I was genuinely pissed off at everything. I still am. Of course, anger isn’t an emotion on its own . It’s usually present because of a different emotion: fear, betrayal, what have you.  There’s something underneath the anger.

I figured out I am angry because I am afraid. I am afraid of what my life is going to be like without mom. I’m afraid because now I truly have to stand on my own two feet. Granted, I’ve lived overseas without my mother near me for 12 years now. I know what it’s like to live on my own. I just don’t know how to live on my own. I don’t know what to do without getting mom’s input first. Don’t get me wrong. I can make decisions on my own, obviously. I’m essentially an expatriate, only not really because I work for the US Government. I’ve just been overseas a long time. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her input on those huge life changing experiences or decisions. I always asked for her advice, even if I didn’t follow it. I’m good about listening to the input then taking it into consideration. If it’s the better choice, then I’ll follow it. If not, then I don’t. What I’m afraid of is: living life without my mom. Yes, death is a part of life. I knew she would pass eventually. I didn’t expect it to be at 58 years old because of a heart attack due to pneumonia. I didn’t expect her to never go home again after she suffered a major stroke a little over a year ago. I didn’t expect it to be so soon. She was so young. Too young!!! I am afraid.

I’m angry because I feel betrayed. The most important person in my life was taken away from me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the goddess. I love several goddesses from several pantheons. It’s kind of like family….and what my mother and I always used to say to each other when we were mad at each other: “I may not always like you, but I always love you.”

To be honest, I feel cheated. I feel that my mother was cheated.  She won’t be alive when I ever remarry.  To greet her first grandchild when I have a child. I felt the goddess robbed me of more time with my mom.  I also felt guilty for moving away from my mother.  I felt guilty for not moving back to the states.  My mother didn’t want me to.  Of course she wanted her baby with her, but she always told me, “I’m your past, not your future.”  Mom…I have this to say to you: You were everything to me! Mom didn’t want me to stop my career to be at home and take care of her.  She didn’t want that life for me.  And that’s something that some people in my family don’t understand.  About her or about me.   I FEEL BETRAYED! I feel betrayed by the Great Mother. Now here is where the Catholic guilt kicks in (yes, I was raised Catholic for a time). *Gasp!* “You’re not supposed to get angry with God!” Yeah, well I am. Deal with it. I love the Great Mother. But I am angry. I know…I keep saying that. Maybe if I do keep saying it, she’ll hear me (Kidding. I know she hears me).

And while all these thoughts and feelings are running through me, I’m trying to keep my sanity in check. All I want to do is lie in bed and cry and cry and cry and cry. But I can’t. I have a life to live. I have a job to do…to keep. I have responsibilities to honor. So I have to get my emotions back in check. It’s a nasty cycle. One I have to alter to survive mentally and emotionally. How proud of me would my mother be if I just gave up like I want to? More importantly, how proud of myself would I be if I gave up? I’m no quitter. Instead, I have to break through traditional perceptions of “strength” and find my own version of it. I need that to fully become and realize the woman I truly am….and the woman my mother truly wanted me to be. Both of my mothers want me to be.

There is still a lot going on in my head and heart. Things I know I will address with Francesca in the future. Things that Francesca will guide me through. That’s what she does. She guides people. She doesn’t lead them. She talks to you. Listens to you. Throws out a glimpse of what she sees in you, and lets you run with it. Not the other way around. I’m a big ball of crazy right now, so I can only imagine where I’ll end up. Stronger on the other side of it, somehow.

If what I’m saying resonates with you, let me know. If Francesca interests you, you’ll find a link to her page on my “Who I Follow” tab.

In closing, I’ll share this:

I was recently rifling through my old writings and I found a poem I wrote several years ago when my grandmother passed.   As I read it, I realized the traits I saw and learned through my grandmother and wrote in the poem were the same traits I saw and learned through my mother.  Through my mother and grandmother I learned real, true, loyal love.  As I was still a budding writer at the time, it reads very much like a child wrote it.  And I was barely hitting 20 at the time.  It was also before I discovered that poetry didn’t have to rhyme to make sense. Anyhow, I thought it was relevant to share here.

Warm kisses felt on my aching brow
A gentle hand to calm me down
A silky voice so pure of love
Soothing words to comfort a child
A voice so sleek, so soft, so mild
A security blanket in a world so cold
A voice to teach me to be bold
A voice to give me courage in the night
A voice that inspires, says “…, take flight”
The woman who taught me much that I know
Finally broke free, found courage to go
Her lessons taught will stay in my heart
A woman and mentor who will never depart

So there is my first real purging of word vomit. Hopefully the next blog I post will be happier. Until next time….



  1. Sara, omg, what a wonderful blog! Your experiences will really help people who have similar experiences. You can deeply touch them. 

    I am more grateful than you might ever know for all your kind words about me.  I am honored and humbled.

    I keep telling friends that I try to be worthy of the students who choose me, because they are such amazing people. 

    I am happy I was able to help you open the floodgate of emotion by, in part, creating  safe parameters within which to let your emotions out, both during and after the session. I feel it is vital to never help someone open up but then leave them too vulnerable after the session is over. We did good! Be proud of you. I will be proud of me for helping, but it was mostly you! Hug.

    1. Hi, Francesca!

      I think we did a very good job of this together. 😉 I had the tools for the most part, you helped me to figure out how to use them. Haha! I truly appreciate all of our experiences together since meeting. You have definitely helped me to open my eyes, ears, and heart. I’ve been walking close to this path for a while, and since we’ve been in contact, I can feel myself fully stepping onto the path I was meant to walk. I feel like I’m coming home. So, THANK YOU for that. For helping me. For everything. 🙂 And may the Lord and Lady continue to bless us. 😀

  2. I have to tell you, reading felt so eerily familiar to me. Your connection with your mothers and grandmother are very similar to my connection with my mother and grandmother. I read this and felt like it a precursor to a time I always avoid thinking about. I got a small taste of it a few years ago when my grandmother passed away and my heart aches for you. I can only to easily put myself in your shoes and get an idea of the overwhelming tidal storm of your emotions.

    I’m glad that Francesca helped you to open the floodgates some, to help you release some of the emotional pressure that is stuck within. Perhaps it will help, reading your blog made me think of the saying that sometimes to be strong you have to bend like the willow. Otherwise your might break. Grief is different for all of us, my mother never let us see her grief at her mother’s passing. She had to take my grandmothers place as the matriarch and the glue of the family. There is never a moment when I see her as faltering. You have to see those moments about yourself because you a always with you. Let yourself grieve, I know that you are strong enough to pull yourself through it. It takes a kind of strength to make a post like this and bare yourself to the world. All your going through, it just underscores your unique strength. We can’t be our mother’s but we can be strong in our own ways. Who knows? Maybe someday you’ll learn that your mom went through similar doubts about her strengths and saw only what she perceived as weaknesses.

    I hope that when I have to face the inevitable that I can keep myself as together as you are. To not only continue your life, your job, but to also add spiritual classes and development to the list… Those are huge accomplishments in the wake of all you’ve been through recently. Even though you talk about being angry and frazzled, when I hear your voice in class that never comes through. In fact I doodle notes like ‘Sara’s voice makes me happy’.

    Thank you for such a frank and honest post.

    1. Hi, Phaedra.

      Thanks so much for your comment on this blog. It really did take a lot for me to write this. It wasn’t hard to find the words so much as it was to stop writing! And to actually form the thoughts of what I was feeling inside.

      I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your grandmother. I know that must have been so difficult for you and your mother. Losing those we love, I think, is the hardest thing we will ever experience. It’s so raw and painful….and just a huge blow. Even if it’s expected (in mom’s case it wasn’t).

      I can’t even say how thankful I am to Francesca for helping me out with this. You sort of start to feel hopeless when you can’t really identify what you’re feeling let alone putting words to what you’re feeling.

      And if/when you do come face to face with the inevitable, I’m here for you. 😉 I just hope it’s not for a VERY long time to come. 🙂

  3. I popped into your site a few days ago (b/c I like to keep up w/ certain people) & when I saw this long article I thought to myself, “I’ll come back and read it when I’ve got the time.” Totally forgot until Francesca tweeted. And now I’m crying. Wow. Bless your little heart with big strength. So much love coming from complete strangers. XOXO

    1. Thank you, Raine. I won’t lie…it’s been a struggle. It’s so hard to get through the day at this point, but I know it will get better. I feel better than I did when I wrote the blog, and I think it’s because I finally have mom’s remains with me. I know her soul is no longer tethered to the shell she had in this incarnation, but it’s comforting knowing that on some level, she is here with me in Korea. I walk by the urn every morning and say “Good morning, mom.” Same at night…”Goodnight, mom. I love you.” It gives me something to direct my concentration and thoughts on. It gives me something to actually look at when I talk to her instead of looking like a crazy person wandering around her apartment talking to the air. Ha! I think of all the lessons I’ve learned through life, this is the biggest. And this is where the test of my strength will be biggest, for sure. And because of how my mother raised me, I KNOW I’m going to make it through this in one piece, whole and intact….and even stronger than before. 😉

      Thanks so much for reading my blog. It makes my heart happy to know that people out there read it.

  4. Wow, Sara, yr response to my  comment  was such a blessing to me, you have no idea.

    And to both you Phaedra, thank you for saying so many incredibly nice things re me. (I am now going to go put on a crown because, clearly, I must be  pretty special. LOL.) See you guys in class.

  5. I have big fat tears dropping onto the keyboard. You never get over losing your mother, but it does get easier. My mom passed on 17 years ago. I still miss her. I am grateful every day for the years I had with her and for having had such a wonderful, loving and kind mom.
    I am glad you are working with Francesca. She is amazing.

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