It’s been 15 years since my mom passed. 15 years since I’ve seen her face, heard her voice and received a hug from her. This past weekend would’ve been her 54th birthday and it used to be a day that I couldn’t bear to face the world. In fact, the first few years after she passed I would hole myself up in my room on the anniversary of her death and on her birthday. I did that for about 6 years before I realized that all it did was make me feel worse. But that all changed during the summer of 2009. One of my friends asked me why I was doing that and I didn’t have a clear answer for them. Yes, everyone grieves differently, but what I was dealing wasn’t grief for me. I was being stagnant in that pain, and it wasn’t benefiting anyone. So that first year I took things easy and just went out for dinner and a movie with friends.
The next April I went to one of my classes instead of skipping all of them.
That August I hung out with loved ones.
The following April I went to all of my classes.
That August I actually opened up and starting talking to other loved ones about how they were dealing with her death. That was another turning point for me. Yes, I’d lost my mom but they lost a sister/cousin/aunt/friend too. And often times my mom was that sister/cousin/aunt/friend to them before she was my mom. They were hurting like me, and my isolation wasn’t helping either of us heal. So starting that year I made an effort to not only reach out to my sister and check on her, but reach out to my cousins, aunts and uncles as well as my mom’s close friends and let them know that I was thinking about them, that I loved them and that I was there if they wanted to reminisce.
Y’all I learned so much more about my mom by doing this! As children, we often see our parents on way, but listening to some of these stories allowed me to see my mom as a whole person and not just as my mom. I learned about her childhood, her years spent overseas, and more. In fact, I learned something new this year when an aunt told me how my mom got one of her nicknames…which also explained why I love music as much as I do.
Throughout the years I’ve stepped more and more outside that initial grief comfort zone. I’ve traveled (domestically and internationally), I’ve gone to concerts, and this year I spoke on a panel about blogging! It sucks losing a parent, especially losing one at a young age like I did, but I was definitely blessed in the mom department. It took a bit of time, and I’ll never be 100% over my mom’s death but it’s definitely gotten easier to deal with as years pass.