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Years of decay will make a mess of me, These rotted floor boards arch below my feet

I guess I missed #nationalgriefawarenessday yesterday, or whenever it was. At least in the social media sense.

These days I've been SWIMMING in my grief, feeling the ways it's twisted my body and my mind as I find myself working through so many aspects of it simultaneously.

It's hard not to feel consumed by these feelings. I've talked to so many people who feel heavy by the latest news cycle, walking around with the helplessness and heartache that comes from realizing the grief and anxiety we've all felt in our own way extends so much further than us.

I think about the people desperately chasing planes. People standing outside of houses desolated by natural disasters in mere seconds. People gasping for air in hospital beds.

These fresh feelings mingle with old grief wounds. I think back on Hurricane Katrina. I was living in Houston at the time. A few weeks later, the news advised us to write our Social Security numbers on our arms if we didn't evacuate for Rita. 16 hours in the car with my then-boyfriend, now ex-husband. We joked for years after that we could survive anything if we could survive that. But there were darker storms still yet to weather.

That same year my mom received the death sentence of her diagnosis. I already knew. The insanity of the months leading up to that point, the happenstance of fate made me know in my bones my mom had Alzheimer's well before the phone call came while pacing in the break room at the Borders on Kirby.

I think about life now, how much has been lived--and lost--since then. Of course, there's always a gain, an abundance that comes from the shift, but some days all you can feel is the deficit.

I miss my mom. I miss her in a way that is deep and consuming and so prevalent I often overlook it. I think of the years trying to avoid it, trying not to be the "Alzheimer's girl," now here I am, spilling my guts out on the internet, because if my very expensive English major, Creative Writing minor taught me anything, it was "write what you know."

I don't know the best cleans to get the skin you really want. I have no idea how to stop drinking red wine and eating carbs so I can finally get those 6-pack abs I've been hearing so much about. But, I can tell you that #grief is potent and powerful, inspiring and debilitating. I can tell you that it has given me purpose and taken such a big piece of my heart. I can tell you, wherever you're sitting, however you're feeling that ache in your heart, you're not alone. We are all here, muddling through the darkness, and if we just shine all our teeny lights a little, we can help each other find our way.

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