One of my last memories of living in the US was planning a surprise party and trip to New York to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. It was always important for me to make her feel special and loved especially on holIdays and her birthday. After all, she was also my best friend.
On the day that my mother would’ve turned 52 I’d like to reflect on surviving a year and a half without her. I say surviving because that’s what carrying this grief everyday feels like. Every time someone comments on how “strong” I’ve been since losing her I want to tell them:
On a day to day basis I’m in a different stage of drowning. Some days I feel like I can see the surface, other days it’s completely dark, and then there are the days, that seem sparing, where I feel like I can breathe. When it seems like I’m thriving really I’m just trying to survive until I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.
Some people are able to smile and push through the loss of a loved one, choosing to focus on all the good memories they shared. I haven’t gotten to that place yet. Every day that passes, I wish I could call her. Every time I see a woman around my age with her child and mother in tow I think about how my mother will never see my (hopeful) future children. Whenever I’m stressed or unsure about something I miss her ability to find the right words to bring me back to peace.
While many times I feel alone in my grief, like no one can see me sinking or they just choose not to try and pull me out, it’s my own fault. Instead of sharing my sadness I hold it in so I don’t weigh others down or I turn away when someone or something reminds me of my mother in order to stay above water. I think to myself, ‘you have to stop grieving, it’s time’. But when there’s no finish line, the work never ends.
We all experience loss in some way. Whether it be the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or even suddenly having to leave locations or jobs. The only way to the other side of grief is through it. Take those moments to cry, scream, or stay in because you’re sad then push yourself to find people, places, or things that pick you back up.
That is what I choose to do today because I know my mom would never want me to be upset, especially on her birthday.