Mama’s pajamas

I don’t know what inspired me to grab my mom’s pajamas out of her memory box this evening. But I did. In fact I’m wearing them right now as I type this post.


Sometimes I cannot even stand to grab the box and look through it’s contents. Sometimes I can’t even make eye contact with a photo of my mother.

Even 15 months later, there are days when it hurts so hard and the memories are so raw, that it’s easier to ignore them than to recover from 20 minutes of crying.

Then there are times, like tonight, when I just HAVE to do something that reminds me of my mother. Whether it’s whipping up her favorite recipe, thumbing through camping trip photos, or, like tonight, using or wearing something of hers,

Tonight, it was her pajamas. They actually went straight from the laundry at her house after she wore them, to my house, to the memory box.

They still smell of my parent’s home and Gain detergent; her tried and true brand.

I don’t want to have to wash them.

My mom loved her pajamas. She had LOTS of them. PJ pants and shorts, matching tops and bottoms, night gowns with and without buttons, lacy, striped, Disney, holiday themed. She was the pajama queen. And she loved buying them for me too. Anytime we had a camping trip on the horizon, she’d pick up a new pair so I’d be “decent” in front of anyone who was sleeping with us in the camper. Apparently faded old Christmas pajama pants with old 5k shirts weren’t suitable. 😉

That’s the thing about grief. It’s unpredictable. One day you could be weeping over an old Facebook message you still have of hers. Other days, you’re laughing uncontrollably at a ketchup bottle story. photo 1

But as you go through life after the loss of a parent, you do adapt. Life adapts. It’s like your brain eventually figures out what to do, and you just, do. 15 months ago I would have never accepted this fact. And if you’re reading this post right now, you might have just lost someone close to you and can’t imagine a future where your life is normal.

I must admit, life is definitely not the normal it used to be. It’s a new normal, and it’s ever changing. Once you get over the initial shock of the loss, you realize that you have a life, and they would have wanted you to live it as fully as possible.

And so you do.

This post was inspired by a few things that have been on my mind lately. Initially, it was a search that led someone to my blog. “Triple negative breast cancer worst case scenario”.

I’ve been thinking about those words a lot lately, as that is what my mother was initially diagnosed with, and what eventually took her life. I remember staying up very late so many nights researching breast cancer on the internet while my mom was ill. Was this a daughter searching for information on what could happen to her mother?

I wish I could reach out to whomever came to my blog with these search terms and speak with them. To tell them to stay positive and never, ever give up hope. To tell them that I’m here for advice, guidance, or just an ear if they need it. Hopefully they will return and see this post.

I’ve also had my mother in my dreams lately, vividly interacting with me, and directly speaking to me. Maybe I’m hoping that wearing her pajamas to bed tonight will keep those dreams coming. Either way, I’ll sleep well knowing I have a little piece of my mom with me by my side.

Miss you mom,


A new normal

When someone goes through a major life change, people line up to give advice. What you should do. What you could do. What they did.

And although the past 6 months since my mothers passing have been difficult, I’ve been grateful for those words of wisdom from people who have gone through the parental grieving process. It’s made me feel more normal, and in a world full of chaos, normal is the only emotion that I seek these days.

More than one person has actually told me that when people go through these traumatic experiences, death, divorce, miscarriage, job loss, and the like, they yearn for their lives to return to what they know as the “old normal”. It’s hard to envision life moving forward with this missing piece, but somehow you learn to create a new normal. You never forget the loss, but you learn how to develop a new way of living without it. You find new loves, create new experiences, build new memories. You learn to continue on.

I think this can be said with other aspects of life, not just loss. I think we have to constantly create “new normals” to be able to better ourselves, reach goals, find happiness and achieve successes. If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten, right? If I choose to replay my mother’s dying moments in my head day in and day out, then that’s the only memory I’ll retain of her. If I decide to not work out one week, then I won’t maintain my progress. It’s a simple cause and effect.

I used to think this “new normal” was something very far out of reach. I felt like I would always be stuck in April 2012. But looking back on the past 6 months, I have created new normals, and they’ve enriched my life. They haven’t replaced my mother, but they’ve helped me cope and begin to heal. I am constantly defining new normals. They make me who I am.

Here are some of my new normals.

  • I talk to my mother. Although she can’t respond to me anymore, I still talk to her like I would if she was.
  • I camp with Mr. KKM. Camping was something I did with my mother. Now, it’s our time.
  • I work out consistently. It’s my therapy and time to decompress from the day.
  • I have found self expression through my blog, and make it a goal to write daily.
  • I’m creating new holiday traditions for the upcoming season, my favorite time of the year.
  • I’ve surrounded myself with positive people, friends, bloggers, family and future family who lift me up.
  • I’ve become an advocate for breast cancer and keeping my mother’s memory alive through running events and fundraising.

Have you experienced a difficult moment in your life? How did you create new normals?