I woke up this morning, not much different than how I went to sleep last night. No appetite, not really wanting to get out of bed and just feeling blah.

I got the kids up for school. Got the little one dressed. Got their breakfast on the table and I sat in the bathroom sobbing for what felt like hours. My eyes red, puffy and swollen and my head aching. This is a never ending and unpredictable cycle. But as usual, I have to push through because I have no other option.

I’m almost certain this is a result of speaking to my cousin last night unexpectedly. Trying to be supportive for her, stirred up feelings for me. Each time she cried I wanted to cry too. And as soon as I hung up, I wrapped myself in my blanket and did just that. Laid in the dark, in silence and just cried.

Its going on 2 years of a never ending cycle of grief. I have good days and I have bad ones. Sadly, today felt like it was going to be a struggle day. Not even in the mood to interact with others, I opted to drop my son off in the car drop off line rather than walk him to school. I went back home and sat in the car, inside the garage crying.

All I could think was: This cannot be my life!

I grip the steering wheel and just cry until my daughter opens the car door. As much as I try to conceal these emotions from my children, she usually catches me. She’s such a sweet girl. I hug her and just think why me? A Mother? Why?

A sea of my childhood memories creep in and I cry even harder. All I want is to give them what I didn’t have and raise them how I think they should be raised. Childhood should be enjoyable and memorable. Not traumatic and stressful. Aiming to be a little better than my Mother because she always told me to never strive to be just like her but to be better.

We got ourselves together and I started the car to get her to school. As we were leaving I tell her the potential plans for the weekend. We arrive to the school with time to spare so we rearrange her book bag. Looking through her notebooks and tablets, she has drawings in each one. I told her we would get her a sketchpad just for drawing so she doesn’t use up her notebook paper and tablets for non class related notes/drawings. She agreed, cleaned her glasses and exited the car. Before walking away she leaned in and said “Try to have a good day Mommie. Things will get better.” I nodded and told her to have a good day and I love her. “Love you too!”, she replied and walked across the street to school.

I drove off with the thought to go on my morning walk. But I felt more like hiding inside my house. I just wanted to hide from the world. Sit in my big comfy sweater, sweatpants and fuzzy socks, and cry. Cry all fucking day, getting myself together only to put on the “I’m ok!” mask before picking up the kids from school.

Grieving sucks. The shit is life changing and never ending. So treat everyone you cross paths with delicately. Be gentle with others and yourself. Some people are fighting demons larger than life and still attempting to appear OK.

I Need Peace

I’m struggling today. I thought the series of grief events were behind me after Saturday came and went.

I was hoping that having my Baby Love home would ease this pain or at least make it tolerable but I’ve been attempting to self cope and cycling never ending thoughts through my little head.

Appetite. I don’t really have one. But I’m back in the throes of trying to numb my pain. Nothing is working. I get tired of talking about it. So I feel like others are tired of listening. Others being the few that I even have to converse with.

Feeling like I’m on the brink of self destruction, a nervous breakdown, something that I won’t be able to control. This space I’m in sucks. I smile when I really want to cry and I say nothing is wrong when there is so much wrong.

I need some peace. Where the hell can I find it?

Hold My Hand

Expressing grief through art: this is a drawing of a time I held your hand begging you to wake up and talk to me.

I held your swollen hands as you laid motionless before me. The sound of the ventilator filled the room, giving you breath after breath while your brain rested from all the trauma.

What happened? Is the main question that continually crosses my mind.

Guilt: Why didn’t I make it there in time?

Blame: Why did my HVAC specialist take so long putting me behind schedule to get to you for our routine grocery shopping day?

Inattentive: When you didn’t call when I was on the way to drop your Granddaughter off at school, why didn’t I feel something?

I remember pulling the neurologist to the side and sternly but respectfully asking him to not speak “end of life” in your presence because you were far from dead. I remember not showering or eating and sitting by your side day in and day out because I wanted to be there as soon as you awoke. I remember the nurses telling me to go home and rest. Promising to call me as soon as you awoke or in the event of any changes.

Hours, weeks and a month passed. You surprised your medical team. I told them how strong of a woman you were but they didn’t believe me. I couldn’t bring myself to give up on you no matter what family thought or said. As your oldest child and at the time the only one close enough to make decisions, I had to do what I felt like you’d want and what my brother would want.

Talk about the hardest decisions to make in my life and in a pinch. I did a lot of research by your bedside during this time. I leaned on my doctor and nurse friends for medical advice and comfort. I thanked every nurse and doctor who cared for you. I brought them coffee and doughnuts because I know personally how tough it is to care for patients 12 hours a day. I didn’t like to leave you alone because I know how you felt about hospitals. I wanted the staff to know you weren’t just someone with family waiting for that devastating moment, but you had a daughter with a powerful voice, who was intelligent and knowledgeable and asked a whole lot of damn questions lol.

It was this same hospital that my Father transitioned in…I was there for him out of respect and feelings of having to be there because he was my Father. But you…you were my Ace. My Bestie. My Right Hand. Way more than just a Mother. For 11 years, it was just you and I. Many conversations, many lessons, many tears, some hugs, some fussing, some eye rolling and some cursing (from you of course). What I’d give to hear you say “Gotdammit Cootie!”, “Shit!”

But I held your hand through it all. Using my favorite Bath and Body Works lotion to moisturize your hands. You always said cleanliness was next to godliness so I made sure they kept you clean. I wiped your face each morning. Put chapstick on your lips around the ventilator tubing. I played Kenny G and Miles Davis for you. I read to you. I watched your favorite black and white tv shows with you.

I was unemployed. No longer caring about landing or looking for a job but only being by your side. Until you were awake, nothing mattered to me. I made sure the kids were cared for, brought them when I could and had someone watch them in the lobby when I wanted to be with you and had them. My entire being consisted of being a Mother to my kids a quarter of the time and being an attentive and praying daughter the other 75% of the time. All I wanted was you. Because without you, I had no idea what to do in life. Yep, I was an adult who depended on the love and presence of my dear Mother.

Guess what Mommie…it’s been almost 365 days, and I still have no idea what to do with that 75% of myself. I miss you like crazy. My grief is easily triggered by the sighting of a store, items you use to go crazy over, songs you use to play, things you use to say…I have never experienced such pain. I’ve lost my Father, my Grandmother, my Great Grandmothers, my Great Grandfather, both my Grandfathers, babies, cousins and friends but nothing has felt as tormented and deep as losing you.

I can hear you in my ear/head a lot. “You can do better than this!”, “Don’t you doubt yourself!”, “I know the fuck you’re not?!”, “Get your shit together!”. And I cry endlessly. Grief is a road traveled alone. It seems that no cares to understand and I receive the same mundane responses. “I’m sorry you’re going through this, call me if you need me, I’m here if you need anything.” When I don’t want to get up and exist most have forgotten that I have no interest in adulting anymore. I was mostly doing it for you. To give you back all the things you gave me and so much more. When I go silent, I hear from no one and internally I’m crying just wanting someone to care but have made peace with the fact that your death affects me and me only. And rightfully so, I have to deal with it alone.

It makes me wonder if I was to leave this Earth today, who would give a fuck. Some may cry for a moment because their “go-to person” is gone, for others they’d simply mention saying a praying and then going on about their life. Friends are not made like you were. And maybe that is because you really knew me. Understood me. Hell you co-created me. Even when we disagreed, with an attitude we’d check on each other. “I know you still mad, but how is your ignorant ass doing?” “Are you hungry?” “Where my Pookie Pook & Princess?” “How are you feeling?” Our friendship surpassed our Mother/Daughter bond. Maybe this is why it is extremely hard to get through this. I was the one to listen when no one else would listen to you. A lot of what you said to me went over my head at the time but I am understanding more and more each day. You were silly, yet wise and loving. A true kind and beautiful soul.

I don’t know what I’m doing here still. I can’t seem to find peace or happiness in anything. Not having you around has been life changing and I just don’t know what path to take or road to travel. I miss you like crazy. My heart aches miserably every time I think of you. I just hope your soul is at peace. You were an awesome Mother. And a great friend taken away from me way too soon. I wish there was more than one of you. But then again the world couldn’t handle the one it was given.

Always your daughter…

Time…We Don’t Have As Much As We Think

A year ago today, I remember heading to help my cousin I watching her kids so that she could work. I packed up all my work items, my kids and their things and headed to her house that morning.

I didn’t sleep well which wasn’t anything new at the time. My Mom had been released from the hospital and she was now a whopping 5-10 minutes from me whereas before she was in a facility in another county 35 minutes away. I was sad that it took such a tragic event to get her moved but nonetheless I was happy to have her close.

I wasn’t able to see her like I could previously because of the COVID restrictions but I could visit her through the window and that was enough for me. To be able to lay eyes on her and ask her if she was ok and to have her confirm with a nod or smile and sometimes an eye roll. She had been telling me for the last few years that I act like I think I’m her Mother lol.

Her last hospital visit hit me hard. I was processing a lot by myself. I was handling a lot by myself. And while I’m grateful for my aunts and uncles, it was different not having my Brother by my side through it all.

Even with my uneasy feeling on this day, I still tried to function normally. It was extremely hard so I played with Benji, laughed with the kids and my cousin. Tried to eat and worked.

My phone rang and I stepped outside to take it. My heart sank so deep inside of me. The words this lady spoke to me hit me so hard. “I need you to get here as soon as possible. Your Mother is not doing well and we are expecting her to transition in the next 48 hours.” I wanted to yell but I was outside my cousins house. Still concerned about others I didn’t want to have her neighbors trying to figure out what’s wrong with the crazy lady outside and call the police. I paced her walkway. I called my Brother immediately. He has to come home. I let him know that I was going to Red Cross him because he was in the field training.

I felt sick, hurt, sad, angry…I didn’t want to scare my kids so I tried to keep cool. All I could do was silent cry. I told my cousin what was going on and I got my kids and things together and I left. I began to call my family. At this point I had forgotten all about work. My life was crumbling and there was no gorilla glue or magic tape to hold this shit together.

I always said if anything ever happened to my Mom surely I’d go crazy. Was this a test? Her accident that began this downward spiral was one thing. But this was different. It even felt different.

Now I know we are all here on borrowed time. But this was my Mother. My “originator”. The absolute center of my life. She’s the reason why I grind so hard! To make her proud and to be able to care for any and every need that she had or could imagine. The mere thought of not having my Mom here whether she was well or not disturbed me.

So many thoughts were flooding my mind. I couldn’t organize them. Some were just terrible. My positive talk was nowhere to be found. Guilt began to hit me again. Had I been on time before, the accident wouldn’t have happened and she would be ok and I would not be enduring this God awful pain.

The hospice nurse calls me while I was enroute to check in and give me tasks. I had to call the lawyer. I was trying to get my Brother home. Updating my family that is scattered all over and trying to still be a Mother to my own kids. I felt like a failure.

I thought back to when I got the news about my Dad. I remember looking at him and he just looked so sad. He looked like he had let us down. And although our relationship wasn’t the best. It still bothered me that this was the end of his life as I knew it. It hurt as well. But nowhere near as bad as how I was currently feeling. This was my Mom. I wasn’t a Daddy’s girl because I was my Father’s convenience child. His oldest. But he dealt with me when he wanted to. I was not a priority at all. Til this day, I remember hearing him say he didn’t ask for me to be here. He didn’t want me. And even though I knew this and never breath a word of it to him, in the last stages of his life I was there. Talking to the doctors. Handling his affairs and making end of life decisions on his behalf. Me. The convenience kid.

But now here I am facing this with my Mom. There’s no older child to help me through this. Just my little Brother. And while I have family they are very…rigid in their thinking. What they think is right, there are no other scenarios and they know everything about everything. They may have lost their Father. But I endured the lost of mine way before they experienced it. And now I was losing my Mom. I don’t think they truly had an idea of how I was feeling. The pressure I was under and how my mind was really getting the best of me. I didn’t need their dictatorship, negative talk or non valid opinions.

Speeding to get by her side. When I finally made it, for the first time since the pandemic began, I had to get tested. I could hear her now. “You not gone stick that shit up my nose. I don’t do cocaine and I’m not putting anything up my nostrils unnecessarily!” LOL. She was a character. I had to see her so at this point they could have gave me anthrax and I would have taken it just to get next to her.

I made it to her and I sucked up every bit of moisture I had trying to escape me before I walked into her room. This was my first time entering the new facility. The staff were exceptionally nice and maybe it was due to the nature of the situation but I felt as though it was genuine. I didn’t even take anything in with me. My phone was in my pocket and I immediately went to her side and grabbed her hand. Our normal greeting “Hey Best Friend” left my lips and she didn’t respond. My eyes started to sting and the tears I could no longer hold back. I squatted beside her bed and I laid my head next to her arm while I held her hand. I whispered softly “Mommie don’t leave me right now.”At this point I think I would of signed a contract sealed with my blood, given up an organ, anything to reverse what was happening. She opened her eyes. Still holding her hand I wiped my face because she would always tell me “dry your eyes, don’t cry my child.”

I sit and cry today. Feeling like there had to have been something I could have done to change the outcome of this. This pain that I have to live with is hard, unbearable at times. I feel so removed from reality. None of this feels real…because I don’t want to truly accept the idea that I’m a 37 year old parentless child. I lost the most important person in my life. And for the life of me I cannot get it together.

Month 7

Do you ever have days where you just feel damn right tired for no apparent reason? You don’t feel like doing anything, even if you have a million things to do. You just want to lay around and do that one thing that brings you peace and comfort, all because you lack energy?

That is where I am today…

Everything seems complicated. It took 3 hours to prepare myself to change the sheets on my bed. It’s always a task but I literally left the bed to sit in the resting chair to look at my bed in hopes that someone will invent a tool/machine or a mattress that could allow the bed to “dress” itself. My son asked me to turn on the TV for about an hour before I actually could muster up the energy to get up and walk into the living room to get the remote off the fireplace mantle to turn on the TV.

When I’m like this it’s hard to think and focus, be productive, be patient and even work. In a nutshell, I just want the day to END because it is a complete drag. Grieving requires and consumes a lot of energy…and I have none to give.

I try to remember today is a drag for a couple of reasons…today is Month 7. Today is the day I closed on my current home 4 years ago after being told that my Paternal Grandfather had passed away. Besides me lacking all the energy in the world, it hasn’t been terrible day, just really meh. I stayed in my pajama’s in true “work-from-home” fashion, until I had to go pick up my grocery order.

I found it quite unbelievable that I managed to cook dinner tonight, bake cookies with my youngest and not get back in the bed after I got out of it. That was an accomplishment. It doesn’t dull the pain but it made it a little better. At the request of my oldest, I made spaghetti. The kids use to fight over my Mom’s spaghetti. And she would hold it hostage to get them to “be good”. I’ve cat-napped all day so sleeping tonight will be a task…

I’m reminded of her often and it’s usually followed by a smile or laugh that ends in a terrible cry. I just hope she know I’m doing my best, even though it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it well. Failing at all things in life except overthinking and restarting the steps of grief every 30 days or so…

This lifetime is a complete shit show…

Subjugation of the Mind

I’m not really sure why I am subjecting myself to such pain today…

I woke around 4am this morning. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. My mind had turned on way before I opened my eyes. There were a million things running through my head…I need to do some laundry, look for a new washer and dryer, look for a new fridge, figure out what I wanted to put on the wall in the hallway. I have about 12 craft projects laying in the corners of my living room, bedroom and office. I need to finish them. I need some organization. And then boom…my Mom was the most organized person I know. I hear her in my ear, “plan for what you want, not what you think is going to occur.” She was a wise silly woman. But when she spoke even if I didn’t understand, I listened. I was always sure I’d need the advice one day.

When I’m super anxious, I get in cleaning mode. This is the time that I can throw away almost anything with no remorse. The goal is to make things tidy. Tidy equates to calm in my world. Everything has a place. Or in my mind it does.

I got out of bed, went in the bathroom and just sat. It’s dark all through my house. The kids are still asleep, as well as the dog. I’m the only thing moving besides the flame of the candle that’s been burning for at least 2 days now on my dresser.

I look out of the bathroom into my bedroom and I see the box on the floor beside my resting chair. It holds pictures that I got from my Mom’s place. The last time I opened the box, my brother struggled to get me to my bed. I was crying uncontrollably and just an all out mess. I miss her, I don’t know how to cope and all I do is cry. I don’t know how to heal this pain. Losing someone so close, someone they I’ve known all my life hurts like no other pain I’ve ever experienced. And I thought before this that I generally dealt with pain in a positive way.

Still staring at the box, I walk into my room with only the bathroom light illuminating a small portion of my bedroom. I sit on the floor and slide the box in front of me. I hear a voice in my head saying, “you can do this”…but the shaking of my hands and the tears already streaming down my face silently implies, “girl, no the fuck you cannot!” Against my better judgement. I open the box. To my surprise it didn’t start out bad. Probably because I hadn’t come across a picture of her yet. I smile and reminisce on times where I think I may have been happy. And I was probably only partially happy because I was a child.

This shit sucks. I pick up a picture from my 5th birthday. My Mom threw me the biggest backyard party. Invited the whole town I’m sure. Birthdays were her thing. Celebrate life was her motto. Love for today because ain’t shit promised tomorrow was her daily mantra. Optimism…I got that from her. No matter how shitty her life was, no matter how much she cried she was always certain that tomorrow would be better.

I go through all the pictures and decide maybe it is time I go through her things as I prepare to relocate. The plan is to Airbnb or rent out my house while I find a permanent residence for my family. I need some storage space for personal things so I don’t know why the fuck I decided now or today was the perfect day to do this. I’m on vacation until November 1st. I could have picked any other day. But once I start, I can’t stop.

I make a cup of coffee because I get the feeling, it’s going to be a long day. I make my bed, put on a load of laundry and get ready for yoga class. After yoga, I have a guided meditation class and then I will get back to whatever the fuck I think I need to do. As I walk up the stairs, I think to myself this is dumb. My phone rings, so I go back downstairs to see who’s calling. I don’t think I’ll be in the mood to talk much today. I take the call from my bank…if it’s not one thing it’s another but this was not a bad call. I hung up feeling a tad bit successful.

I’m pouring all my money into getting out of this marriage so that I can move on with my life. Everything I want to do is literally on hold at this moment. I’ve lost a job, I can’t buy another home, I can’t sell this one, I can’t start my business, I can’t buy another car, I can’t open any new lines of credit. I am a sitting duck. On top of paying my lawyer, I’m now paying a PI to locate this sick son of a bitch just so that he can be served. I went from almost having my divorce finalized to starting the fuck all back over. I’ve never been more ready to put this man on a t-shirt…

I once again head back upstairs now that I’ve missed yoga, to see if I can catch morning meditation. I open the blinds, I light my candle and I pull out my floor pillow. I don’t want to do this. I sit in the floor and I cry. Why? Because I am emotionally, physically and mentally tired. I need a break, before I break.

I look at the closet and I get up. Inside this closet there is a huge box of my Mom’s things. I get the idea to go through it. To purge and donate. I feel a ball forming in the pit of my stomach. My throat swells as if I swallowed a rock and I open the closet door. The first thing I see is my Mom’s Bible. She was no devout Christian but she too was just spiritual. Believing that churches were businesses and God existed everywhere. She questioned a lot of what was in the Bible as she was just as curious as I am and often times had nothing to do but read. I remember her telling me she had read the Bible 3 times…forward and backward. And each time the book made less and less sense to her.

I think, what if the roles were reversed? What would my Mom do if I was the one who transitioned from this Earthly realm and she was left here to carry on about life. Would she be me? Would she sit crying for hours until her face and eyes were sore? Would she avoid at all cost the people and things they reminded her of me? How the fuck would she handle this. And all I hear is life goes on baby girl. She was the strongest woman I have ever known. She wasn’t perfect but we were placed together here for a reason. We formed a bond unlike any other Mother and Daughter I know. We went about life as if we were the one ones in it. Meaning we could not careless about what people thought of us or what they said. Nothing but wonderful memories flood my mind and I cry even more.

Do you know what I’d give just to hear my Mom’s voice? Hold her hand? See her face in person? Do you know how empty and alone I feel even when I’m surrounded by a ton of people? Do you know how small I feel in this big wide world?

This life…it’s very confusing. I don’t regret any experience I’ve been through as it has shaped and molded me into the person I am today. And no matter how much negative shit comes my way, I still try to find the positive in it. But this one I can’t let loose. I can’t shake it. And it hits me. I will never know what happened to my Mom. It’s not just the fact that she’s gone but it’s more that I feel bad for not being there. I always felt like I was her super hero child. I was always there to save the day. To wipe her tears, to cry with her, to hold her and tell her everything would be ok. And once we were able to laugh, she’d tell me that I think I’m the Mom and she’s the child. And I’d reply telling her that wasn’t true. But that she did her best raising me and the only thing I have left to do is to care for her to show my appreciation. Ending my speech with I only have one Mother and I want to make sure she’s well taken care of, protected and loved until I can no more. She said I was a walking Hallmark Card.

Bits and pieces of that “girl” are gone. They left when I buried part of my heart. I’m thankful she’s no longer in pain and suffering at the hands of shitty ass healthcare workers who want nothing more than a check and to sit on their lazy asses. She doesn’t have the chaos of this world to deal with anymore. She’s at perfect peace. Probably somewhere trying to tell some other soul how to be a proper soul. Lol.

Today I miss her because I’m really letting pieces of her go. Tuesday will be 7 months…usually a day or so before I get in this place. This month it’s much earlier. This month it’s a little harder. My son turns 5 on Monday. My paternal grandfather passed away unexpectedly on October 26th, 4 years ago…it’s just a lot going on this week and emotionally I don’t know that I can handle it.

I struggled to type this. But it was something I felt I needed to do to release these emotions. Im reminded that I put my app creation on pause when I really need to get it finished. I have no motivation and I feel stuck. What would she do? If I was to talk to her what would she say? I had to stop going through her things to just sit and think.

I’m so tired of this life…this pain…this torture. I need a ray of sunlight to bring me some happiness and peace. I’m not looking for a lot…I’m not even looking for more money. I just want to smile and genuinely be happy again. I’m not happy here no matter what I do. I opt to not go through the box today. It’s not time. And mentally I can’t handle it. The little boy keeps running to sit with me while I cry so I have to do something else.

I guess I will find somewhere else to cry. I’ve worn out crying in front of the closet holding her Bible…

I miss you today more than ever. I want nothing more than to talk about your only grandson’s upcoming birthday. I want to tell you not to buy him a bunch of stuff that he will tear up. I want to hear you laugh and make jokes. I want to hear what you’re cooking and bets on whose will be better. I want to tell you what has me afraid right now. I want to tell you all the business ideas I have. I want you to spend the night with me to make me watch scary movies with you. I want to just sit outside with you and listen to nature. I want to walk with you. I want to hug you. I want to tell you I love you one more time and kiss your forehead. This isn’t the life I imagined, but the one I’m given. I don’t know how to move forward. I don’t know how to find my motivation or my way. I want to send these children to you because they are driving me insane. I have no support. You were it. I feel like I have absolutely nothing to get up and look forward to most days. And I know this is when you’d be ready to slap me. But even now, I’d welcome that. I’m going to get it together. I don’t know when or how but I know you won’t let me stay in this place, isolated from the outside world and everything. But right now I miss you and I don’t know how to do anything else. I won’t say Rest In Peace or anything like that but enjoy the afterlife and all it has to offer because you suffered here far too long. I’m going to get it together, I promise.

Always Your Daughter,