One month ago today, My Mother passed away and I can’t explain anything right now, but I can say that life has seemingly changed. Out of respect for My Mom and our family, I don’t think the internet is the best place to talk about details of our family tragedy. Though I will say that speaking with other people who have unfortunately already lost a parent has helped me so much. Having real friends around. People that call regularly, even when I don’t want to talk. My family. Grief sites, and just all of the support from people who follow and take part of my online journey, my goals and career. I have silently heard from many of my “followers” and internet friends and family the last weeks in moments of my mourning. Sometimes, your messages helped me to take a shower that day, or get out of bed and go play with my nieces and nephew. Sometimes friends have got me out of the house, and reminded me of things that make me smile & of my passions, talent, & strength.

One of the biggest things I can say is that this isn’t about me at all. It’s about having a broken heart that you will forever have to live with. Even when you are unsure how to do that right now.

my mom’s notebook writings

When I first had the news I felt that I was in one of those alien movies from the 80’s. Where my hearing, sight, voice and thoughts were all violently muffled. I immediately crouched in a ball from what I can remember on the floor, screaming and got very sick and had to vomit. I guess this feeling is the one of being disconnected from the person who gave you life. Your life source.

A friend of mine told me that when mom goes home, it’s your second birth. I found that sadly beautiful to hear on this day.

I promised myself that if I wrote this, I would be honest, grateful to the people that love me for their support, and not dwell on only the hardest parts. There have been sweet, calm, beautiful moments in between as well. I have constantly been learning things about My Mother that I never knew. I have been reading her notebooks, and seeing how much we actually have in common. I have been obsessing over her beauty in photos. I have found a new found strength and respect towards her for how much she sacrificed to be My Mom.

Guilt is a large part of this experience. Denial and Doubt too. Sometimes I legitimately forget that she’s gone… I’ll feel like myself for a moment and then snap back into awareness that this horrible heart break has happened.
I’ve thought about not being able to touch her soft skin on her face anymore, or hold her skinny, soft hands. We didn’t do it often, but those are the things you remember. The songs, the good times, the smiles. That’s what stays with you. It’s heartbreaking that we don’t always appreciate those things when we have them, or maybe as children we are less aware and simply don’t understand what our parents do for us. How much they love us.

Losing my Mother has also opened my awareness to the one simple fact that some things, in life are just simply not important. I love collecting sneakers. I love face masks. I love weed. I love rap music. I love taking the occasional sassy cute selfie. Now, these things all feel like big mehs in a life of major mehs. Nothing phases me anymore or interests me besides for eating turkey bacon everyday.
For real, this is something so serious that it puts all other stresses in your life in major perspective. I used to spend a lot of nights losing sleep over friendships, relationships, project deadlines, not having enough work, etc. I worried about my family ofcourse too but I also in the same breathe always thought I had time to fix the major things that were on the more harder to do side living abroad.

I thought I had time, and if I can say something now. It’s that we don’t really have so much time. We just don’t. It’s a reality. Look at the last 6 years of your life, check in with yourself, take a breathe and say “where have you been?” I was traveling following my dreams, in Europe but I was also away. Regrets.

I wrote this because I think I wanted to say something to people I knew well, and people I didn’t know well who reached out not really knowing what to say or how to act. Surprisingly, these situations also teach you who really loves you and which friends ride for you (the way you drive, you feel me>>>?). The friends you used to have beef with that reached out, the exes, the middle school friends… I could go on. I’m in my thirties and everyone I fuck with is somewhat validated or important to me, or I just simply don’t put in effort that is not reciprocated. A lot people know what a deep subject matter this is as well and simply do not know what to say. That’s fine and those people normally end up telling you that which I find highly polite as well.

In the past, I had been one of those people who just say I’m incredibly sorry and if anything was needed I’d be there for them. These people are great too. The difference is that you just won’t know what this feels like until it happens to you. No matter where you are at in life or how old you are. You can’t be prepared.

Seeing the people nearest to me hurt has been one of the harder parts of this, but also a source of strength and motivation to be strong (for them). Seeing the way each human heals, feels grief or the special relationships each person had with that person is the beautiful small parts to be taken away for how you live your own life. My Mom was very close with G-d and that gave me so much peace even though my fears for how she must have felt. It’s all very terrifying.

A lot of you might be wondering why I have decided to write about something so important in my life and its just that I would like to elevate my work to being more thoughtful and actually helpful. I really feel the energy, courage and prayers given to me by my community that perceives me as I really am has helped me rediscover my own strength enough to take this in baby steps and day by day. I am only as valuable as what I give. This situation has made me think a lot and while I feel that I am still in the thick of things, I can and will find my way through this. I also want my public community that will get to experience my work or work with me to know that I am different now. This is something I am going to actively be navigating my life through.

What now? Well now, I am back living in America near my family. That makes me happy. I am also going to get back to work on my many projects and go harder than before. I have to make her proud. I have to. I also have to go out and get the things in life that I have been too fearful to really go after. I have to be a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, niece, grand daughter and I have to take care of all of the people My Mother loved. She has given me some signs. I am waiting for more, but I know that she’s with me every day even if my heart hurts that I cannot call her or be with her anymore on earth.

I’m not sure if this pain will lift anytime soon. I’m not expecting that, only taking things one day/hour at a time.
My advice is to stay near to self-care and take the time and all the baby steps you need to get started again. This really is like a re-birth. I wish I could follow my own advice, but society and time passing will make you feel like you should feel better by now..but that’s in your head. Take the time. I am. I am being so gentle with myself right now because it’s vital to my health and chance to overcome this in a positive way. I know that reality.

Sending love to all people who have gone through this.
Love to my family, to all the people who have helped me and reached out. To my friends. You all are so beautiful to me.

Mignon Renee Rounsaville Zarshenas June 27, 1962- August 25, 2018

I Love you so much Mommy.

Top photo by Emily Petersen for Naked CPH
you can check my latest interview with them speaking about all of my upcoming projects & life here