“I would die if you die,” is something I would tell my mom throughout my life. I could not (and still cannot) imagine my life without her. I truly believed that I would die if she died as the idea of her forever absence in my life would honestly tear a hole in my heart so gigantic and deflate the air from my lungs so rapidly, that I physically, mentally, and emotionally could not survive. And when that time actually came, way before I ever expected it to, I thought for sure I was going to die. The loss, so great, and the hurt, so deep, that I too thought I may die because of the severity of the pain. And I did. So much of me died when she died.
And yet I am here, alive and well, to write about it.
Yes. The gaping holes in my soul and heart are real and deep and will never heal. The tears flow just about every day and I never not think of her. My dialogue with her is daily, even if it is to just “check in” or wax poetically and emphatically about life situations, and even to ask you her opinion and what I should do about “this”, “that”, and “whatever else”. I miss her every single day and the grief comes in waves; many times I feel as though I am drowning. But I am AFLOAT.
Additionally, she has reminded me, especially in the darkest moments of my grief and the lightest hours of my life, that she is with me. She has shown up in dreams, made herself known in her perfume on that one receptionist, and with winks and nudges, when I may feel doubt or question my ability to move forward in a multitude of ways, she gives me ALL of the signs.
On NYE 2018 I realized so much. As I was toasting her, reflecting on those 365 days and especially the last six months of that cursed/blessed/foggy/woke year, I realized that no matter how deeply I thought that I too would die, I didn’t. I am still here. With SO MUCH life to live. Messages to be written. Love to be shared and experienced. So many places to visit, people to meet, and things to GET DONE. I have SHIT TO DO, stages to speak on, books to write, inspiration to share, and light to shed.
But SO MUCH of me has passed on into the shadows, decaying and dying off as my soul started to awaken and repair. On December 31, 2018, I shed layers of sadness, confusion, weakness, despair, and insecurities. The heaviness of doubt and fear had grown old and died off and this crippling inability to see clearly had disappeared into the preceding 365 days, leaving me with a level of gratitude that literally brought me to tears.
With my mom’s passing came my awakening; when I felt too broken to even leave bed, I found a deeper understanding of grief and the many ways we as humans experience it, which also provided me with a deeper compassion for anyone grieving in any way that they do. I found that “being strong” isn’t in avoiding the feelings, emotions, and situations at hand but that in addressing them, speaking my truth, and living in a beautiful state of vulnerability has given me a level of self-awareness and strength I never knew existed within me.
I found a power to shut down the negative dialogue that creeps in and shouts loudly at me, chastising my size – for these thighs, too big; this tummy, too round; these eyes, too wrinkled – but no, no more. These crows feet are remnants of a life well laughed; this tummy is that donut my big heart desired; these thighs will crush a mother fucker if needed. No, the size of me – and my body, and my laugh, and my love, and my heart, and my soul, and my abilities, and my capabilities, and my vision, and my passion – is Super Sized and deserves to be loved, cherished, respected, and celebrated.
What I wouldn’t give for my mom to have had this revelation. What I wouldn’t do to ensure that she could feel the weight of her negative self-talk be lifted from her delicate shoulders. I would give everything for her to wake up and realize the power of her presence, the beauty of her smile, the brilliance of her soul, and the strength of her body. I would do anything for her to realize the “Super Size” of her beautiful being and to love, cherish, respect, and celebrate every inch of it.
In the deafening silence of her absence, I can clearly hear all the things I said in hopes of her to not only survive in this life but to thrive in it, and realized that now is my time to practice every bit that I fucking preach. That in honor of her memory, I must do these things for myself. To authentically approach this life the way I thought I was and hoped she would, I need to show up beyond “Choosing Joy” and truly embody it.
For her and for me.
And although I would die if she died, and I most certainly did, I promise that with this miraculous opportunity I have been given to live in her light, I will strive to make her proud and do right by her as the woman I have been reincarnated as.