I was lying in bed when my sister called, her voice trembling when she said, “the hospital called, mom is gone.”
My mother had breast cancer for three years before she passed away Dec. 20, 2013. I got up and made my way to the Ottawa General Hospital, my body shaking as I tried to contemplate what my last words to my mom would be.
This strong and powerful woman I knew was no longer here.
Goodbye was not something I was ready to say to my mother. My body was filled with grief. At 20-years-old nothing prepared me for that moment. It was not supposed to happen this way.
My mother was the driving force behind everything in my life. Now I had to figure out life on my own. I had never been more scared.
I turned to drinking and partying as a way of not dealing with the reality of my new life. The pain I felt in my heart was too much for me to cope with. I dug myself into a deep hole, and I couldn’t get out.
Any time I saw my dad I could see the disappointment on his face. He couldn’t understand why I was acting like this. I was struggling to put the words together to explain. All I wanted was a hug from my mom and for her to tell me it was going to be okay. I wanted so badly for my mom to tell me the pain in my heart would stop, and the thoughts of sadness and anger would go away.
The same grief I was feeling was the same he felt. I was too stuck in my helplessness to realize my dad was struggling too. My dad didn’t know what to do with his life anymore. He spent most of his life with my mom, and he had to figure out what was next for him.
The hardest part of dealing with grief is feeling like the memories of my mom are fading away with time. I am trying to hold on to the past as time keeps moving me forward.
I have spent the last five years allowing this grief to control every part of my life. I wish someone told me it was okay not to be okay. It was okay to cry, and it was okay to feel hurt and alone.
Get help when you are ready to get help. Talk when you are ready to. It is okay to to still feel sad. But the more you let those feelings control you the worst the grief gets.The day you learn not to let your grief control you is the day your new journey begins.
My grief is a part of my story. I am grateful for my grief and what it has taught me and continues to teach me every day. Some days are better than others, but now I know I am not my grief.
My grief is just a part of my journey.