The death of a loved one can be a life-changing, traumatic, and to some degree a disturbing experience, or so it seems that way. I’ve noticed that people who had close relationships with their loved ones tend to be deeply moved or even damaged emotionally by their deaths. My mother was the most influential person in my life, so dealing with the aftermath of her death has become the saddest and toughest period of my life.
I am by nature a very lonesome person, I’ve often felt emotional and nostalgic about things from my past, moments from my past, events, and places from my past. I’m the sentimental type, and I’m always in tune with everyone’s emotions even if they aren’t mine, and right now, everything around me feels so fragile. I keep n asking myself why I feel so attached to all these things lately, and more so now than before, and why I feel so much weight, so much heaviness and sadness surrounding everything. Thinking about mom in past-tense is exceptionally surreal, even as I write these words.
Some people find different ways to cope with this type of loss–some decide to shut down emotionally, others medicate themselves with alcohol, drugs, prescription pills or any other form of self-destructive methods to deal with their pain and suffering. Some people go as far as to commit suicide to end their sorrow. Grief is the ultimate price of loving someone, the death of someone you loved brings profound pain proportionate to your love.
I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong way to grieve, and I am without a doubt only an expert on grieving my mother like me, which by any means does not make me an expert on grief in general at all. But I guess everyone is different when it comes to dealing with death, and I’m now slowly beginning to come to terms with the reality that I can’t change the fact that someone I loved has died. The only thing I can do is change my perspective on death.
From my earliest memories as a child, all I can recall are memories of my mother. They are very vivid and lucid memories of her. I always felt that our connection was superior to just mother and son. She had this sixth sense that only a mother seems to have, especially when something was not going right in my life, whenever things got rough in my life, whenever I was diverting from my goals or losing perspective; she was there. It was like a magic switch would turn on, and she would immediately know something was not right with her children.
I keep on saying to myself…mom can’t be dead! We just saw each other the other day, what happened to her? Did she just cease to exist? Where is she? Did she just crumble into dust? Even now, months after her death I still feel like I just saw her, I can still hear the sound of her voice, I can still feel her presence in many aspects of my daily life. The fact that I will never hear from her again for as long as I remain alive in this world is surreal, it is a nightmare from which I feel I cannot wake up from. Fear, doubt, loneliness, despair have flooded my existence. My heart feels foggy and dark.
But I also realize that I am better than all of this, my mother raised me to be strong, to be successful, to be a good human being. Her sacrifice as a woman and a mother, raising her family on her own cannot be forgotten, her sacrifice cannot be without meaning, and her life story, in general, must be told someway, and somehow. Writing about her is, in a way transforming the sorrow I feel into some type of inner peace, which I think is the best way for me to deal with my pain. Even if I just write privately for myself and don’t post what I write, it helps a great deal. It is becoming clear to me now that to cope with my grief, I have to find a more positive understanding of death since now I’m beginning to also understand that grief is not something you get over; it is something you go through.
My relationship with my mother was always very intense, in which many changes took place. I went from being her youngest child, her little companion to every she went, and to eventually become her pride and joy, (she would always remind me how proud she was of me every time I visited her), she could see the endless potential in me. Our long conversations were like an open book, where every topic was open to discussion. Topics regarding her previous life before moving to the states, things about her childhood growing up, her life as a wife, a young mother, her caring for her large family and siblings…and just about every topic about her life, in general, was covered.
Throughout the years, we had plenty of intimate and personal conversations, but it wasn’t until about five or six years ago when the nature of our conversations took on a deeper personal and confidential approach. Interestingly enough, it never made me uncomfortable, in contrary, it actually became my favorite thing to do when I visited her–since in every visit I would find myself in front of a new revelation about her life, and the memories from her past. It was during our long chats when she finally charged me with the task of carrying out her wishes (if she was to leave this world unexpectedly) and to complete things left undone. It seemed to me like it was crucial for her to remind me that in these twenty-five years, we have built something special the three of us (my mother, sister & myself) that the close family ties that we had formed in all those years was truly remarkable and we have become a real family.
It was also crucial for her to remind me and realize that this country had now become our home, it had become our country. She was very clear in her intentions of growing old here in the United States by our side (my sister & I), she wanted me to recognize that it was now up to me to take full charge of our family legacy, the ideals that kept un going forward in this country. Which is something I intend to fulfill to the best of my ability, and I will absolutely complete all the unfinished family business she charged me with, and not just here in the U.S. but also in her country of origin.
My relationship with my mother has now been transformed from a physical one to one of a spiritual nature. Our connection is an immortal connection that transcends physical life, time, and space. So it is essential for me to understand that physical life is just a small part of our existence. It is also essential to realize that there are things beyond my control. There is a time to be born, and there is a time to die. The only thing we can control or have any direct influence is whatever we choose to do in between birth and death. That is why it is essential to understand that when someone you love dies, the relationship does not.
Coping with death can often motivate people to evaluate their lives, their purpose, and, their past behavior. My life journey as a human being has to be a journey of meaning and purpose, a life without meaning or purpose isn’t much of a life at all. The exact nature and scope of our journey are far beyond anything we can really grasp here in the material world. After all, we are just spiritual entities having a temporary existence in a physical body. Everything we do in life is a preparation for life on the other side. Life is not supposed to be easy, it is a series of lessons, and more often than not, those lessons are extremely tough. It can be easy for anyone to come to a point in their lives where you feel like you haven’t made a difference and that your life has no meaning, but yet the meaning of your life or the purpose of your life is not always apparent. I think the meaning of life depends on each person’s experience and how that person interacts and influences others. Every life means something, every life matters, and we are all connected. Understanding all of this properly will determine my fate for whatever time remains of my life in this physical realm, we call “the real world.”
So now I have chosen to embrace mourning in my own way, I had decided to continue with my life but not my life as it once was before my mother died. Every single day I surround myself with the memory of her life, every single day I surround myself with the memory of her death, with the memory of those awful days at the hospital, watching her clinging to life. All those memories are a constant reminder of how precious life is–it is a constant reminder of how short life is–it is a constant reminder of my own mortality. I’ve tried to do the same things I used to do before my mother’s passing, but with little to no success. I find myself incomplete, everything she represented in my life is significant and incredibly present in my everyday life.
The undeniable fact is that she is dead, the undeniable fact is that I’m still alive…..indeed, I’m still alive, but not entirely anymore.