Life is a persistent (sometimes mean) teacher so I have learned this year. We are getting close to the end of another year and it has been a difficult one. My life has been shaken up this year, and over the past couple of years, there have been events that have surprised and changed me, and hit me when I least expected.
We lost Mom this past August. I thought losing my brother was hard but losing Mom came so unexpected it shook me to my core and made me question everything and everyone in my life. After her funeral, I didn’t cry for a month. The tears wouldn’t come and I was numb. But once they did, they brought back my old friend depression with them.
I struggled for months to accept Mom being gone; I was shell-shocked. The tears have finally started to dry and the depression has lessened. I miss her and it likes a lot of effort to not be able to pick up the phone and call her, and just show up at her place. My boys miss her too, and they, too, have struggled with losing her. While we have all struggled to accept this loss, we were trying to embrace the impermanency of life and the changes that come along the way.
My mother and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but she was my mother and I loved her and would have done anything for her. I get my strength, determination, and willpower from her, and losing her brought with it fear, loneliness, anxiety and much sadness. For almost 41 years, my mother was the one constant in my life. She was always there for me. Friends have come and gone, two divorces, my health issues, and so many life changes. But she was always there! She was my rock, my strength and the person who held me up when I didn’t think I could go on. But I also held her up. I would have done anything for her. I am strong because of her. I am strong because I watched her strength all my life. I know I can still be strong without her. I just wish I didn’t have to be.
I don’t know who I am now that Mom is gone. I still am her daughter, but her not being around changes what that feels like. It feels that all I am now is my children’s mother and I feel so lost in that role without Mom. She was my rock when life threw hurdles at me, and my rock is now gone. Granted, I always took care of myself and my kids without any help, but I did that because she was here. I knew that no matter went wrong, I would have her. Now, I struggle with the idea that it is really “me and my kids against the world.” But we are okay. We have been and we always will be. It is just a matter of my accepting that while I miss Mom, I will be okay and so will my kids.
I turn 41 this year, and the older I get, the more I continue to realize my happiness is more important than living up to others’ expectations or their acceptance. The older I get and the more distance I keep, this gets easier. Like the next person, I just want to be happy and I want that happiness on my own terms.
My teenager turns 17 in a month. Where did the time go? And as much as he drives me crazy and as much as I can’t wait for him to grow up and mature, I am struggling with what that means.
In 2016, life changed me and my ideals drastically. It broke my heart and made my soul ache. I couldn’t fight or resist the change. I just had to learn to accept it and let things go. Sometimes, all this change and loss brought me to my knees, but it also reminded me that I am still here. I am still here to be the parent my children need and deserve, to be happy, to be loved, to love, and to live life on my terms.
Things change and life changes us. We also change. I know I have. I also know we cannot do a single thing to stop change or slow it down, as I learned this year. We just have to accept life and change as they come and hope for the best.