Most people who experience loss try not to let their life be defined by them, and I used to live this way too. Grieving people sometimes do not want the attention of the fact that they are missing an important person at their holiday table, graduation, or wedding. In a society in which grief and loss tend to be taboo subjects, we seem to do our best to not bring up our loved ones who are no longer with us. I would be lying if I said that there were not times that people asked me not to talk about my losses. But after my third loss, the one that cut the deepest, I decided that my life was destined to be defined by my grief. Now the next question was, what do I do with it?
I’m sure in order to want to continue reading this blog, you’re going to want to know what makes me have the desire to write about such a sad topic. I’m going to give you the short version that I’m sure will be elaborated on in further posts. My father died after a 12 year illness when I was 9 years old. I had grown up knowing that he would never make it to my high school graduation, but we didn’t know he wouldn’t even make it to me graduating from elementary school. My grandmother, who acted as a caregiver especially after my dad died, passed away when I was 14 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Then, my sophomore year of college, my mom died unexpectedly from what exactly, we never found out. At 19 years old, I had lost the three people that I had grown to count on the most. Now what?
During a conversation with one of my closest cousins a month after Mom’s death, we started talking about what I should do with all this grief I had been handed. When I had started college I had decided that people weren’t going to know I didn’t have a dad. I never brought him up and now I was going to be headed back to school in a month without either parent. There was no more deflecting the situation, grief was going to define me. My cousin and I decided I should share my experiences with the world and we talked about ways I could go about doing so. It was in that moment in the middle of her living room that I decided I was going to be a therapist that specialized in grief therapy. As of 11 months ago, that’s exactly what I did.
I’m hoping that this space can be used in order to talk about the hard things, to talk about the things that most people never want to talk about. I hope that I can share my experiences and what I’ve learned and observed to help others. This is the beginning of having an open forum of sharing and a place to process topics. I hope this is a place that people can find solace on the bad days, like today for some. Today is Mother’s Day. It is the seventh one that I am celebrating without my own mom and although I have so many “Moms” including an incredible Mother-in-Law who are constantly there to listen to my thoughts and let me share my feelings, this day does not get easier. Actually, this Mother’s Day has been harder than some of the other six and I’m still trying to process why. I’m never going to claim that I have the best solution or know all of the answers, but I do hope that I can spread hope. Hope to those who have lost theirs and need help finding it again.
I hope that all of you whether your a mother, grandmother, child who is motherless today, a mother who mourns the loss of a child, a wonderful woman who fills in a mother role for someone like me, or a single dad who is having to fill both roles on a daily basis, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with whatever your day needs to be. I look forward to writing with you.