Living with Grief
May 24, 2021 makes it exactly two years since my mother died. Two years that my siblings and I have had to endure a pain that we could never escape. That pain is knowing that the person that gave us life is no longer here with us. The pain that we deal with is called grief. Blinded by death, we often forget that my mother had a life that was full, a life that gave meaning to every person that she touched. Her life impacted many others and helped them launch out and become who she knew they could be. My mother was a strong and fierce woman that didn’t believe in biting her tongue and holding her opinions. Quick with her words and her hands, my mother was a fighter, even until the very end of life. These are qualities that we miss, although we inherited some of those traits, no one does it better like the original.
However, living with her absence is becoming harder each day, as the wound of her transition serves as a daily reminder that we will never see her again. Although we have pictures, videos and memories, nothing will be able to physically take her place.
Weeks before my mother passed away, she and I had a conservation. I had just been let go from a new job after two days, because I ran out of the office on my first day trying to get to the hospital to be by my mother’s side. On this particular day, they had to rush her to the hospital because she was having multi-organ failure. When I arrived at the hospital, I remember praying and telling God to heal her and make the doctors out of a liar. They had given my mother little chances of surviving the organ failure and were telling us to prepare for her death. However, my prayers were answered and she recovered so quickly that it surprised the medical staff. While she was in the hospital, we talked and I told her that I need her to rest because I was gonna do everything I could to take care of her. At that moment she stopped me and told me to take my life off hold and to live. Not understanding what she meant, I didn’t realize that she was preparing me to live without her.
Taking my life off hold and living for me? That was the strangest request that I’ve ever received from my mother. She normally asks for candy, ice or money, but this was beyond my comprehension. This was beyond all of our comprehension, yet the reality is that she is no longer here.
Now what, do I just live and cry? No! Dealing with the grief was become a task that was a challenge at first, yet it is becoming more manageable for me to handle. Some of the things that I have personally done to help me cope and to thrive, and I hope they help you, are: surrounding myself with family. I have a very big family on both sides. Often times I will find myself at my grandmother’s house eating, talking or maybe taking a power nap. Being around her gives me comfort and strength, knowing that she has devoted a special amount of love to my siblings and me. My cousins often plan family outings that we call “Famili 1st,” these outings and group messages are all about family empowerment and love and unity. Being around people that you love and who loves you can help you heal.
I also make quality time for myself. Whether I choose to stay in bed and watch Amazon and Hulu or I take myself on a date, I find it very helpful to maintain who I am by enjoying myself according to my mother’s wishes. By doing that, I have discovered new passions, created a business and gone back to school and graduated. Other things that I’ve done that I highly recommend is that I became more open with my pastor for spiritual counselling, I visited with a therapist and I gave myself permission to cry. These are some things that have helped me live through the grief of losing my mother. Although none of this is going to bring my mother back, it will help me live.
If you are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one, I advise you to seek a licensed professional that can and will help you through this process. If you don’t know where to start, you can find a list of therapists on your county’s board of health website.