Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cry If You Want To

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."

When you think about someone that has passed, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their smile, their gaze, the way they made you feel about yourself?  What was it about that person that left your insides gutted?

Since my mother passed, I have heard a lot about making sure that I stay strong. Stay strong for your husband. Stay strong for your kids. Stay strong for your father. Stay. Strong.

What does that even mean? Truly, what does it mean? I am a person that feels a lot of things and I manage to handle my emotions in a productive way. My mom's death has not allowed me to do that. I cry at the drop of a hat if I even attempt to speak about her. And I ask myself, "Why can't I speak about her without crying a river? And why do I stop myself from crying and then apologize to the people around me?"

Stay strong.

I think it's an unfair thing to say to anyone that is grieving. It's sending a message that crying, that feeling a loss, that hurting about someone that has died, is weak.

So stay strong! Keep those emotions to yourself and make sure no one see them.

Make sure your kids don't see that you are devastated so that when it's your time to go, they have already learned that it is a "no-no" to cry because no one is going to hold their hand 6 months from then and say, "It's okay to cry." Stay strong!

We have all in our lifetime lost someone. We know we cannot stay frozen in time and let the grief stunt us. And we move forward because we have no other choice. Death is the one thing that we cannot talk our way out of know the rest.

But we should be allowed to feel. So I am allowing myself to feel.

I started a group for Motherless Women, The Motherless Sisterhood, on FaceBook and I posted recently about this very thing. The group is private and confidential and what is talked about stays there but I will share with you what I specifically wrote about this very thing:

"Let us make a promise to ourselves from today until forever. We will no longer apologize to anyone for the tears we shed for our loved ones. We will no longer think that others will see us as seeking sympathy. We have all suffered a great loss and let us give ourselves the permission to do that however we want. I'm taking a page from my mother's book and saying to myself, "Who cares what you think? I'm going to cry if I need to cry."

Crying doesn't make any of us weak. It makes you strong. It rids you of the stress that is bubbling your insides and it channels your emotions out of your body so you can be free if only for a moment. It can be loud. It can be quiet. But our tears should never be our burden.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Holidays without Mom

Thanksgiving without my mother was rough. I thought that I was okay but I've been getting flashbacks since her 6th month mark. When I let my mind go, I see her face flashing in my mind and in everything I see.

In honor of her we set up her table as it would have looked had she still been here. And since she wasn't, we had to settle on a photograph and a candle that will burn only on special occasions.

I began the day preparing the food for my family as well as crying all day. Little bursts of sadness throughout, from start to finish.  I went to visit her resting place to break down more than ever.

Thanksgiving was a solemn day for me as I reflected on all of my memories of her. She was my treasure in life and now my angel in the Heavens.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory was this one:

On Thanksgiving Eve many moons ago, in the living room of my childhood home, I sat reading as my mother prepared for the next day. The turkey, that had yet to be seasoned, was being used as a dancing partner. My mother, being the silly woman that she was, began dancing with a raw turkey for my enjoyment swinging that poor turkey by its wings simply to make her little girl laugh. She laughed along with me. She could never pass up the chance to either make you laugh or herself laugh. That was always her way, thinking of others.

I miss her. The holidays moving forward will never be the same without her. The missing part of my heart will always loom over my head and the sadness that many may not notice will always be there.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Year of Firsts

When someone you love passes away, the first year is always the hardest. The holiday season can bring about such emotional turmoil that many of us that have lost someone are not able to handle it. I am no different.

My Year of Firsts began with Father's Day. I always remember being able to call my mother to ask her for the hundredth time, "What should I get Papi for Father's Day?"  This year, I had no one to ask.

Chloe graduated from Kindergarten and my mother did not see the pictures of the celebration.

Daniel turned 8 and she wasn't the first one to call him to wish him a happy birthday.

Adriana even started menstruating and I couldn't call my mother to express the horror that my 10 year old was ascending into womanhood so early.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. THE first Thanksgiving without her and the reality is taking a toll on me. It started just last week, at her 6th month mark. Migraines, sleeplessness, exhaustion. Reality just keeps hitting me over and over and over again.

She's gone.

While I do know she will always be a part of my life, I can no longer touch that part of me. I want my mother. I cannot think of this woman that gave birth to me as a memory right now, especially around this time of year. I want her physically here with me and it will never happen again.

When I wake up tomorrow to prepare the food she would have prepared on this day in her kitchen, her essence will be watching over me. But if I were to turn around to speak to her, she will not be there. I will be alone wondering what could have been had she still been here.

I have not spent a holiday season with my mother in years since she lived in Florida and I lived in New York and traveling made it difficult to do. It was hard not having her around then but at least she was still here. The phone was always our salvation, speaking all throughout the day and discussing how stuffed we were from all the food we ate. And what in the world would we do with all of those leftovers!?!

I don't have that anymore.

I wrote in my journal to her last night that I wished that this Year of Firsts would hurry up and go away. Since I cannot have my mother, my perfect reality would be for all of this pain and the waiting for the "other shoe to drop" to be over and done with.  Currently I don't know what that "other shoe" is but I know it won't be pretty.

I know I will survive my Year of Firsts since I am already half way there. It doesn't negate what I'm feeling though. Being done with one finish line doesn't mean that I don't have many more finish lines to cross without her.

                                                          Video Chatting

                                                             Kindergarten Graduation

       My boy turns 8