My Mother has been gone from this earth for almost two months now. But it feels like it’s been longer than that for me, because I didn’t get to say goodbye. I’m the oldest so I have been trying my best to be a woman, and step up to the plate and do what’s best to take care of myself so that my father will not worry about me and so that I can be strong enough to be there for my brothers and the rest of my family and create some sort of peace around our lives again. With this I haven’t always had good days, but I have been able to focus enough to go to the doctors for a check up, attend a few yoga classes, and pave a nice smooth road to getting back to work and finding a new home in LA. All with the help of some of my friends, my good credit, my dad’s credit card, and family. What I am facing now has a lot to do with my spirituality, being able to handle the size of my grieving, being normal around people again, and my anxiety.
I have been sleep deprived and having nightmares, ones that wake me up crying in the morning in panic and ruin my entire day unless I will myself to get outside. Most people irritate me and I have a hard time wanting to talk to the friends who pay attention enough to my life to know where I am in the world, but not see that my world as I know it has actually crumbled. It’s hard to speak with my family because I don’t want to remind them of their own pain and I want them to see that I am doing okay, because I am?
I know this is not the pretty positive side that my readers want to read from me. A lot of my book isn’t happy, and it’s sad. Because sometimes that’s me naturally. Lately, I have found so much confidence in my work, and my life decisions. Like I mentioned before, I got myself health insurance, a new shiny credit card accompanied with good credit, am starting a new business and have even landed my freelance dream job. My hair is growing and my skin is clear. These are things to be happy about. All of my ex boyfriends pretty much know I’m the best they’ve ever had and I’m smart enough not to go backwards in life for once. Most days, I am okay.
Today (or in reality the day that I began writing this piece) I was having a harder end of the spectrum kind of day. One where I woke up from a very bad dream panicked. One where I felt depressed again. One that the thought of my mom not being here any longer made me panic and sob uncontrollably. I still cannot believe that this has happened! I still can’t fathom that I lost her at such a fragile and broken stage in our lives and relationship. I wanted things to get better, I wanted my mom.
This has been an extremely trying time to say the least. I walk around with pain in my chest, and like I said, a lot of things have lost it’s sparkle. I have changed creatively too. I have lost all fear in my work because not only do I know my value, but I have a new perspective about life now. I feel that in the past I have wasted a lot of time on things that really don’t matter. So my work really needs to be thoughtful now or it simply doesn’t matter. Work has been about the only thing besides for my family and the love I feel with them that has kept me going. I just honestly never thought something like this would happen to me at this age. Before I got married, before I had the chance to have kids, before I could make things right with her.
It’s sunday night, and I have been working on my laptop and calendar all night. I’m flying to New York Tuesday to start a new chapter of my career. These are things that have been nestled on my vision board for months, coming to life in front of my eyes. People come up to you during these times telling you that you are strong. I feel strong because I have no choice. But my strength is not absent of my fear. Living with anxiety already, I have had a lot of panicked moments and I have been very afraid. I have spoken to friends who have lost parents and the honest ones tell you the truth. It gets easier, but you can get hit at any time because if we are lucky our parents get to stay with us on most of our journey.
There are so many moments I want my mother to see. I like to think I can live through her right now. I am overwhelmed, I am sleep deprived, I am not okay at times, but I am still working with 99% of my creative motor with a possible 90% productive engine behind me. I am still sharp, I am still me. I have hopes and dreams, I don’t know all of the answers right now. But I do know that this is a healing period and I will have to change my way of life around to get through this. If you are someone out there reading my words right now, feeling in a pretty dark place because of a loss but still functioning I want you to know you aren’t crazy and you aren’t alone. It isn’t selfish to want to strive for things while going through things. If anything we learn from losing a loved one- it’s that time is so precious. When I can’t breathe, I try to get fresh air, and I call my family or write. Sometimes watching a funny movie helps too or listening to rap music. I’m kind of dedicated to being honest about this journey now because I feel like I am dealing with a lot but I am also optimistic to get out of it on top or in a way through love. I have to be positive for my future. I still want so many more things in life besides for just a career so I feel like I have to not give up. For my mom, for my father, for my mom’s family, for my brothers and their families.
If you or someone you know is experiencing extreme grief. Know the symptoms. I am actively looking into grief counseling, and there is no shame in that. I wrote this article to be honest about this very trying, traumatic, unfortunate thing that we must all face in life. There’s nothing that can prepare you for death. But I will be honest, I spent many a night reading other people like me and it made things lighter. I am still very much in a stage of denial and regret and it’s not a fun place to sit in.
May G-d bless you and your loved ones.
Thank you for reading me.
photos by Samuel Lagarto