Many of you have probably heard about the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. These are several stages that individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness go through, and have been extended to include those who have lost loved ones.

Wikipedia defines the stage of denial basically as a “this can’t be happening” stage. I actually spent a very long time in that stage – probably around a year, until the second tumor came around.

Several weeks ago, as more and more people began to ask me when I’m getting married already (the answer: not any time soon!), I suddenly began to cry. The Boy was in Paris visiting friends, and I was going to join him a few days later, but as usual, when I have too much time to think, all my suppressed feelings suddenly emerge and a realization dawned on me:

I am not ready to face a wedding without my mother.

This epiphany launched a spiral of unrelated thoughts that can only be described as chaotic, which lead to another epiphany:

I am in denial.

I never really understood what people meant regarding denial after someone’s death. I mean, hey – they’re dead. I haven’t seen my mother in almost 10 months (insane, I know). I know she’s gone, I feel she’s gone, I’ve accepted she’s gone – but I haven’t.

I am in denial that I won’t ever see her again. I’m only 32 years old! She was only 56! It’s insane to think that I have decades ahead of me where I won’t get hear my mom’s voice, or feel her hug (which is clearly unique), or smell her scent, or feel her touch, or hear her say she’s proud of me, or have her at my wedding, or have her when my kids are born, or have her teach me how to be a mother, or have her calm me down when I’m freaking out that OMIGOSH you mean I am supposed to take this kid home with me when I can’t even keep a plant alive for more than 4 months? or have her advise me what washing machine to buy because ours broke down this weekend, or teach me how to make that amazing artichoke salad of hers, or have her babysit, or get her advice (because let’s face it, our moms know best), or have her meet The Boy, or tell me that I’m not insane when I feel I am, or see her get old with my dad – or see her get old at all.

I am in extreme denial about all of it, just a different version of denial than is discussed in most literature. It’s probably the kind reserved for my kind of cancer survivor.

This denial has been present for quite a while now, I just couldn’t put a name to it, and now that I have, it is all I can think about. I don’t know how to get past this stage. It’s not like the actual denial stage where someone can say suck it up it’s going to happen.

I guess I need to patiently wait for the acceptance stage that, funnily enough, I am also experiencing.

What complicated lives we lead…