I have not heard my Nina's name so much as I have lately. Nina Irene. Hurricane Irene is on the radio each mourning and evening to and from work. This brings comparisons to other hurricanes and discussions of loss. Yesterday NPR talked to a woman with whom they have been following with occasional check ins since Hurricane Katrina. Her and her husband were there and then rebuilt. Her husband died a year ago.
For me, it is the drive home from work that has proven to be the time of tears over loved ones lost. Tears and poems are written in my mind. The first are etched softly and the latter are like prayers evaporating into the wind. Not sure why when driving home but it is the case.
I was thinking on Monday about mourning. Part of the mourning is to honor the loved one gone from this conscious Earth. To be sure. But part, a major part, is to honor the hole that is left in my self. There is respect for loved ones lost and there is this personal hole. How do I balance a desire to live this life, honor loved ones lost, and honor the part of myself gone? I thought about family alters. I thought about if I would smile in happy memory or turn sad or solemn or want to cry at the mention of my loved ones. I thought about customs of dressing in mourning for a year after a spouse dies. I love my Tata (my grandpa), I love my Agusta (my dog), I love my Nina. I love others who have gone; my Tia and Melissa. I sometimes feel the loss of ones I have barely known or never met but only hear of on TV or on the radio. I mentioned the basic question that I have about mourning to my friend at work, Katrina. She said that mourning has a way of coming up when it needs to. Tears will be there when they need to be. There is no need to work to make them there all of the time. The woman on NPR said that sometimes, after a month of everything being fine, she will think of her husband and pat his side of the bed. And everything is ok and she goes on.
I am not certain where I am at with mourning. I am still an amateur adult in so many ways. But I think more about the question to myself that I posed: what would I like best when I think about my loved ones gone years from now? I think I might like it best if my first thoughts, most of the time, when I don't need otherwise, are thoughts that make me smile. I think I would like to take these holes inside of me and swell them full of the memories I have. To let the holes fill with goodness and memories and lessons learned and a presence that feels tangible and that is all the good that these special people brought into my life. That's what I am thinking right now. And, other times, I'll cry. But mostly, I will smile.