64

Today is my mom’s birthday. She’d be 64 today. Which, when I think about it, is kind of wild because that’s still young! So very young.

Some people have asked me how I’ve been today, and I made it through. I told one friend that it’s an ongoing thing anyway. It comes and it goes. I had moments, I have moments…I’ll have more. I think I’ll probably spend some time thinking a lot before bed. Makes sense, since I was busy at work. Despite being unable to focus (non-related). Watching Black Girls Rock tonight actually made me all emotional, so I had to turn it off. I’ll finish it another day. I try not to romanticize my parents. They weren’t perfect by far. I’m sure my mom and I would have some disagreements these days. I’ve changed in these soon to be 8 years. But I loved my mother fiercely, and it’s hard not to. Regardless.

I miss her so much.

I’ve written before about how I can’t imagine many things in my life without her. Even though it’s happening, I’m living that unfortunate life, it’s still hard to think of other things further down the line. Being in a relationship, I definitely think about marriage more. I literally can’t imagine a wedding and having a good time without my mother. I know the reality is that I’m sure I would have a great time, and it would be a lovely affair. But…the thought of it actually makes me really sad. What am I supposed to do without her? I don’t know, for sure, if I want kids, but how do I do that without her? Again, I know that…I’ve obviously done things since my mom died. Big and small. Since my parents have died. But none of them have been as good as they could have been. My fear is that the same thing would happen around a wedding or the birth (or adoption) of a child. I also know there are many ways to somehow include family members/loved ones who have died in events. I’ll almost certainly do that. How can I not? But no one tells you how hard the living would be afterward. And, as happy as I am with a few aspects of my life, that feeling is always there.

Happy Birthday, Lady.

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Happfulness

I keep wanting to write but then don’t. Or starting but don’t finish. Hoping to just get some things down tonight.

Life is going okay. I’m working on happiness in my life. There are definitely some things I’m happy about: relationship, higher salary, new apartment. But some things I’m not so happy about as well. I think, in this post, I’ll focus on the things I am happy about/grateful for.

I’m in a relationship with someone who loves me. It’s difficult because sometimes I’m tempted to wonder if it’s fake. It’s hard to accept love when you don’t think you deserve it. However, I’m grateful for vacation planning and the thought that went into the possibility of traveling an extra 2 hours to take me to the Harry Potter theme park. Asking me to smile because it makes him happy. [Almost] no matter what happens, I hope I can remember that it is possible for me to be loved, and I deserve it.

Higher salary because it’s allowed me to save and start to pay down my credit card in a way that doesn’t help me feel as strapped for cash. I’m also able to pay the devil that is my student loan payment.

New apartment because 4 walls and no roaches! Also (for both the new and old apartment), for friends who allow me to make their home my home. Last summer was rough #WontHeDoIt

 

Change Always Coming

It’s normal for there to be highs and lows in life, right?

One of the many, unfortunate normals of life, I suppose.

There are some changes happening in my life, and I’m happy about them. For different reasons, including selfish ones. But I’ve found as they become closer and closer to taking place, it also makes me long to have my mother here. I wonder if I’m the only one or if my sister feels the same way. I’m sure she does.

I made a trip home recently. I usually don’t like going home…and tend to shy away from large family gatherings. As nice as these things are (I’ve written before), they tend to remind me more that my mother isn’t (t)here. This time was different though. We stayed with different people throughout the week. There was a fairly large family gathering. There was also some family drama (of course lol). But it was good. It was the first time, in a long time, that it wasn’t awful being home.  I guess that’s good. I’m sure it is..and I’m sure that means something.

But right now…I’ve given myself a timeframe for accomplishing things I want to do. One way or another it involves me moving this time next year. My sister is making some changes of her own. I know she’s nervous about it, I would be too. But I think it’s good for her. Change, however, makes us, almost involuntarily, want to look to our parents.

That’s the hard part. Looking for people who aren’t here. Not knowing, at times, who to turn instead. Or knowing, but still..it just not quite being right. For some reason I’m scared about my moments of longing for my mother overwhelms me…in this season of change I’ll be in not-quite-completely-new surroundings. And I’m not sure how I’ll express myself…or if I will. That will be something I’ll have to work on.

I saw the following quote on Goodreads semi-recently:

“A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones.” – Kristin Hannah, Summer Island 

It’s been almost 6 years. SIX years. I still can’t believe it. Almost 2 for my father. My age doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, I’m still a little girl wanting her parents.

I screenshot the quote when I saw it. Sometimes I feel like I’m drawn to sad things. But I don’t need to be reminded of this quote. It actually embodies some of what I read in a book about women whose mothers have died. Quite accurate it is. I think I keep thinking that it’ll get easier the older I get. Even though I know it’s not true. In some ways, it actually seems to be ‘getting’ worse.

& Now

I moved. Super happy for the big picture. I wasn’t at all happy where I was. Although I had semi-recently formed some friendships…so I was sad to leave those, but I know our friendship won’t end just because I’m not there. Being laid off from your job definitely has pros/cons. I keep telling myself (and others) that I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity. As I was telling my cousin yesterday, if I hadn’t been laid off, I’m not sure when I would have moved/left. Despite my desire to leave, I was also afraid of quitting my job to just pick up and move. But part of that decision was taken away from me, so here I am lol

It’s been pretty good so far. I’ve missed the city, the diversity, the food, my friends. Still looking for a job, but that’s to be expected. I was talking to my cousin yesterday about my future and not getting stuck again. I’ve never been a risk taker, but I’m at the point in my life where many things are a risk. Especially if I want to continue on this search for happiness. Here I’m reminding myself that the word I chose for this year was endeavor. Which, for me, includes some aspect of risk. I don’t like that lol But I guess that’s why it’s good.

This weekend my uncle has been visiting…I haven’t seen him in a long while, so it’s been nice. He’s also helping his daughter with some things around the house and his granddaughter with some things. Sometimes I get sad watching them. That’s why I decided to write here, it’s one way for me to express the combination of: being happy to see him, happy seeing him help and just the dynamic of his relationship with the two of them..plus my own sadness/memories.

Anyway. I’m definitely going to try to be more intentional with my pursuit of employment.  I’m not trying to have more jobs I dislike…escaping from darkness can be liberating, but the threat still lingers..and I don’t want to go back to that place.

Cinema

Tonight I watched a movie about a widower who traveled across the country to visit his kids. Robert DeNiro was in it, so I figured I’d give it a chance. Plus, I saw it as a preview in another movie I watched. I enjoyed it overall…one part of the plot involved the kids talking more to their mother, over the course of their lives, than their father. This continued after their mother’s death as well. They told their father only what he wanted to hear, while being more honest with their mom (the mother kept things from the father also since he worried a lot/pushed the kids to be perfect).

This reminded me of my relationship with my parents (of course lol)..though a tad different. But growing up my sister and I were much closer to my mom than my father. I didn’t lie to my father, but I told him more good things than bad. It was only in the last couple of years before his death (and after my mom died), that I started telling him when I was worried or stressed..or in need. Sometimes.

Watching Robert DeNiro go across the country visiting his kids (NY – Chicago – Denver – Vegas) also made me realize how much I [will] miss growing up (because despite being 28, I still feel, amazingly, like a child lol)..getting older without my parents. It’s something I’ve thought about before, specifically in terms of big life events, but this just made me think of the small things. Small things I know my mom would do and, I guess, small things I might do with my father..and things he’d do in his own way. There are a set of cousins in particular, and their parents, who I love so dearly because of the support they have offered my sister and I, especially in the wake of our parents’ deaths. I see their posts (whether my aunt’s or uncle’s posts about their kids or my cousins’ posts about their parents or their own children) and it makes my heart ache.  I suppose what it boils down to is I don’t feel like a daughter anymore. And the loneliness, the emptiness, of such a realization still hurts.

Baba

Disclaimer: Again, I ask for forgiveness for any typos/grammar mistakes. I wrote this fairly quickly & didn’t reread it all. 

I think this is the 1st time I’m writing something entirely (or at least mostly) about my father. By far, I talk about my mother more, though I feel both their absences so strongly. If I’m honest, sometimes I feel that I miss her more, which, at times (or maybe just in general), I do. Maybe not. But, then again, I think it makes sense. My parents were separated, reunited, and then divorced, when we were young. On TV/in movies, a divorce is often a horrible ordeal..even if the parents are amiable about the whole thing, the kids are usually upset by it. Not so with my sister and I. I think my parents only needed to be together to have us, but, other than that, it didn’t seem to work.

Even before they got separated, somehow I don’t have too many memories of my father being around. Then, once the divorce was final, he moved to another state. We were fine with it. I can recall being seemingly forced to go visit him over the summers. Part of the custody agreement.  We didn’t really care to go visit my father. I don’t think the main thing we disliked was going to see him, but we found his city extremely boring. I also tended to think, as a teenager, that he assumed he knew us just because we shared DNA…but in my mind, he wasn’t around that much, and we saw him once a year. What could he possibly know? I cried once, after something happened…I can’t even remember what it was, but I don’t cry easily. I just remember my sister phoning my mom and telling her that he’d made me cry.

My father died in 2013. It was only in 2008 that I truly believed he loved me. And only in the past few years that our relationship, to/for me, started to mend. When my mother died, my world was shaken. Though I still had my father, I still felt utterly alone. Slowly, that changed a little bit…after he died, I realized I would miss what could have been. I had only just started feeling that our relationship was getting better. The day he died, I was supposed to be leaving to go visit him.  I was excited to go..I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. I felt guilty about that afterwards…at planning or beginning to plan an earlier trip, but I didn’t go. Either because I couldn’t or I changed my mind and postponed it. I was planning to give him a mug from the school I attended for graduate school. Because he likes tea. I was also planning to get him a large print Bible because he’d said at some point he needed another one. I was packed. I was ready. I had a graduation picture (from undergrad) to take with me as well, a big one..because I remembered/thought I’d only given him a small/medium one. After he died, once I got down to his city…I was shown the graduation picture I’d sent him previously. He’d had someone laminate it. Apparently he was really excited about me coming too…they had planned to have lunch set up for us in this common room. I was angry with myself, for putting it off. I was angry that it happened the same day my mother died 4 years prior. I was sad that it happened under the same circumstances as my mom: random, before Christmas, the semester before I was to graduate.

My father was an intensely private person. I knew this, but found it to be true even more, speaking with his/our relatives. I, too, am somewhat of a private person. I have to push myself to reveal the depths of my heart and, even then, I still have to push myself…and then I might not do it lol In my last post I talked about my introverted nature. I know I got that from my father. Oddly enough, I think I got my intense love for people from my mother..although it can be hard, that combined with being an introvert. They say hindsight is 20/20, and I find myself thinking more often about which parts of me I inherited from my father. Just like with my mom, I find myself thinking about calling him to update him on things. With Father’s Day coming up, I find myself also thinking about how I/we never…rarely got him a Father’s Day card on time. I am still struggling with some things I found out after his death. And I know part of the reason I didn’t go see him earlier was because I was still, whether consciously or unconsciously, holding things from our past against him.

All these things I know to be true. I miss the lunch we didn’t get to have. I miss the opportunity to show him pictures of my friends, discuss my classes, my ideas for the future. To learn, from him, about my family on his side. As I mentioned, I miss the opportunity to fully repair our relationship..or to see what it would have continued to grow into. My mother once told me my father had a hard time showing love. I can attest to that.

So much of me is him. I can’t pretend I’m not still confused/upset about…various things. Things that have made the grieving process even harder. But, I suppose, at least, I can say, finally, that I know he loved me.

Now

I’m graduating tomorrow..today, I suppose, technically. It’s an odd thing. A good thing, but odd. Neither of my parents will be here with me. Two of my aunts are going to be here though, a couple cousins, and some friends. and my sister of course. Sister said tonight she wished my mom was here and I echoed her sentiment. I also wished I could call my father to tell him about it, how I got a grade I didn’t expect, maybe about my outfit (though I’m sure he wouldn’t get it) and send him pictures later. My aunts remind me of my mom in so many ways. Expected heartache is different from unexpected, obviously, but just as painful. I haven’t really been focusing on things the past week and a half. Yes, of course, I’m excited to have finished what I seriously doubted I would. I was over school in so many ways lol But it is hard for me to enjoy it. I am happy. But I’m also so sad. My mind is constantly, unconsciously at times, preoccupied with the reminder that my parents are no longer here. And I fear that casts a dark shadow on every big event/accomplishment in my life.

It’s getting late though and I have to go to sleep to be ready to start tomorrow. It’s hard to be honest with myself, and others, about how I feel when I feel like people just want me to be excited or happy. & if I’m not, I’m not only letting them down, but wasting the time and effort they put into coming here. And yet…while I am happy, there’s also so much more.