To my mom…I’ll see you on the other side of the hill.

Song: Easier – Grizzly Bear

I saw a movie tonight, The Other Woman. It took me back to a place I had almost forgotten, losing my mother. The movie was about dealing with grief. A woman mourning the loss of her newborn baby. I identified with the lead character throughout the film and by the last scene I found myself crying. I looked down only to see a single black tear on my hand. My mascara was running.

The familiar setting of the city in Autumn brought me to a single day frozen in my memory. The leaves turning color, people wearing their Fall coats. I could suddenly smell the exact air when I last said goodbye to her. I saw the trees around me on the ride to the hospital and I remember what it felt like to hold her hand.

There was a lot of guilt associated with my mother’s death and that same guilt was portrayed with the lead Natalie Portman. She blamed herself for the death of her baby. This movie unlocked a place inside me that I guess was tucked away. Sometimes life surprises you like that. My mother and I were estranged when I found out she was dying and forgiving myself for that took a long time. I’ve learned when people lose someone close to them they tend to blame themselves. It is part of the grieving process. This is what my book is about, Fix You, making peace with my past and letting go of the “could have’s” in life.

I made a pact last year to visit home during the month of October because it is still the hardest time for me. It will be 9 years this Fall, and I can already feel it. The Fall hovers over me like an eerie dark cloud. It used to be my favorite season, it still kind of is, but now sad feelings I can’t explain loom around me beginning in mid-August with subtle reminders – the stores changing out their summer inventory with candles, sweaters, and blankets.

Moments later I look over at the white urn on my dresser wiping back the steady flow of tears. I want to hug it because it is the closest thing I have to her, but then I remember it just carries white bone and ash. When these feelings overtake me, I allow myself to feel the pain and sob. I am a big proponent of “letting it all go,” because I’ve learned, the pain – the burning ache of missing this special person, can eat you alive…

I’ve had this reoccurring dream lately. I’m on a large plot of land somewhere in New York state. It is a very picturesque setting, the sun shining down on the radiant emerald green grass, surrounded by streams and valleys. There is a farm with several small houses in between, and the main house – a white one, has a small country store inside. In some dreams I make it to the big house and in others I don’t. I find though if I venture off to the other side of the hill, sometimes I see her, and there in the distance is the house. In the dream I don’t know she is gone, I just feel complete.

I excitedly enter the store of homemade pies, jams, and fruit butters, my hair all tousled from the wind. I scour the shelves looking for my favorite spread, apple butter, but they only seem to have unique jams like lemon and fig. There are a lot of lemon jams and I wonder if there are lemon trees on the property.

I don’t know what the dream means, but I hope she is happy on this magical land. There are always pumpkins ready to be picked, and lots of children playing in the sandy driveways.

I promised myself when I started this blog I would just write and see where it took me. I have to admit I didn’t think it would take me here, sharing something so personal so soon, but it feels right, and I think she’s guiding me in some way.

I’m not convinced that the mourning will never end, at least it hasn’t for me yet, but movies like this one remind me that there are others out there like myself who have lost someone they love.

RIP Mommy, I will see you on the other side of the hill…

~ Estella

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