4 Years Gone Now

4 years ago today, we lost Mom, wife, sister, daughter, Reneé Miller, Reneé Roissier – however you knew her. The world lost (in my not humble opinion) one of the greatest women of our time. She wasn’t traditionally famous; she wasn’t behind a groundbreaking invention or a new bill. But none of that matters to me or, I have a feeling, to most who knew her.
I’ve a thought that some of the most important people of the ages were not known outside of their loved ones; that it is they who set the groundwork, the base for the ones to come whom we do know. I think Mom was one of those people.  Her time here with us was cut short and much of her work unfinished, but I don’t think that makes her time worth any less. I cannot say for whom she was setting the stage, but perhaps we will see in the not so distant future.

4 years ago today, I lost my Mother, my best friend, my champion in life, my mentor and role model. I lost my light, my blazing beacon in this twisted grey upon darkness that is our world; Mom like a myth, the ever-burning light revealed the path. I do not believe it was just me who lost the guide that lit their way, but also my brothers and sister, Dad, the current and future students of hers. We will never know how far her reach into our world extended, but I think it was much more than we can see.

All the things that I said last year and probably the year before still apply; NO it’s not any fucking easier. NO, I don’t feel more at peace, NO I haven’t moved on (seriously, who says that and thinks the answer will be good…) and NO it still doesn’t make sense. I don’t feel less; only more able to contain it for the sake of those around me.

I am living my life, and it probably doesn’t make any sense to you, but that’s okay since it is my life. The college boys are trying to figure out what life means to them, and the little kids seem to be taking it day to day and trying to decide what might be fun. Some people even think that the youngest children have started to forget Mom, with which I disagree after listening to them talk one on one. Their memories are rich and I wish more people would help them keep their memories bright and full of color.

This year, I spent the day very differently then I have in previous years. I signed up for a class at Tracker and was surrounded by people – compared to my usual isolation and not speaking to anyone outside of my siblings. I purposely chose this class not just for the content, but the dates on which it fell. Many of the things we worked on in the class were along the lines of the conversations Mom and I had about life and death, power and love, healing and protecting loved ones.

My being in the woods and being busy is why this writing is so horridly late. I apologize tenfold. If anything, each passing year it is harder to share with you how I am feeling.

For me at least, I feel emotions in a very raw form. So adding the complexity and depth of loss on top of love, grief on top of joy, and anger on top of hope is very hard to put into words. Finding the combination of letters and words to convey what is beyond our limited language is a great source of frustration for me. I feel like I always fall way too short.

I feel like my grief is frozen to such a degree that it burns like flame. I feel like the intensity of my anger is such that I cannot share it. I feel like I am judged for ‘still’ having these emotions when I should be ‘living life’ and ‘trying to make the best of it’ which seem to be recurring lines in my family.  I have no interest in ‘making the best of things’. Mom could always take something dull, boring and often even sad and turn into something great. But that is her gift, not mine. And even though she could always ‘make the best of it’, she never ever downplayed the bad, the pain or the sadness. She was honest (to a fault if possible) about what she felt. The day she lost her white mare Shadow, her mother-in-law – Joan Miller – thought that one of the kids had died when she asked how things were going over the phone.
Mom was the life of the party, and if life was the party, she was life itself. That was her gift. I don’t have it (as my father has shared with me). My interests lie in changing what will be. It’s not as clear and fun as my Mom’s approach, but it is needed all the same. Mom was a nurturer, a healer, a protector, a gardener of life, an Earth Mother in every sense of the word – whereas I could be akin to the flame that burns and changes everything, allowing for the new and healthy to grow; intense and only needed for a short while before moving on.

Mom with kids on living room floor

My emotions have always been difficult for everyone in my family (and probably friends) to understand, except of course Mom.  As each year passes, I realize more and more (how is that possible?) just how amazing my Mother is and how much she did for us. And my words just cannot encompass that feeling.

~ Joannie.

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6 thoughts on “4 Years Gone Now

  1. Reading this? You have the same gifts as your mother. ❤ You are her greatest gift. You are able to carry on her best parts and transform the worst. Your feelings like flames and ice are shared and your ability to put it down in words is remarkable. ❤ You aren't supposed to be "living life" to someone else's standards. If you can enjoy little aspects and find the lessons your mother left you, that's probably more than enough. If you just stay mad and sad, That's enough. ❤ You are enough.

  2. Joannie,

    The feelings will always be with you. You are one of your Mom’s gifts to this world. Every day you live your life, on your terms, you are honoring your Mom, and giving back to this world a gift she gave to us. I miss her and always will, but in you (and your brothers and sister) I see her, and I know she is still with us.

    I love you,
    Aunt Michele

  3. Joannie, I have always felt like grieving is such a personal thing and it is different for everyone. what happened to your sweet mom is beyond understanding So it makes it even harder. She was my friend, we were not that close but i grieved like she was my best friend.. I cried for 6 days i just could not stop. I have chosen to honor her life by working daily on being a better mom. We are also foster parents . we had our first foster baby when I first met her at the Rarity Bay Rangers.

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