It's been almost exactly a year now since my mother accidently drowned. I can't believe that a year passed almost without notice. It's been a whirlwind of events from that to several surgeries, multiple hospitalizations. There's been lots of lows and believe it or not there's been some highs in there too. There's been a whole lot of pain, physical and mental from a host of unimaginably rough events.
Where I'm sitting now, is not even remotely where I expected to be at this point. Last year, on this date my mom and dad both, were in Hawaii to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. I was in the hospital, recovering from major surgery and an infection that placed me in ICU the same week. It probably was a good thing I was in the hospital at the time of the news, the sheer stress alone kept my blood sugars high enough to extend my stay by several days. Type 1 diabetes and stress, on top of a severe infection, doesn't even remotely or safely mix. Thankfully, I had wonderful doctors and nurses who understood the situation and helped me through those first several days. Also quite, fortunately, I had my laptop, skype and with that my friends to talk me through it too.
Today, I'm sitting in my own home. An actual home that is owned bought and paid for. This was something I never dreamed would happen at this stage of my life because of the sheer cost, my personal student debt, and the like. My father, though, he decided to take a significant portion of my mom's life insurance to purchase the home of my dreams simply to make my life easier.
When my dad helped me move in, I think I was still a little in shock. It didn't feel real to have it at first. I expected to eventually buy my home after I was finished with college and settled into a job with a large chunk of my student debt paid for and out of the way. That at least was my plan.
With my dad doing this for me, with where the money was coming from, I had tons of guilt from the moment I brought the first box of my things inside it. I didn't even unpack more than the necessities for months. I couldn't do it. I just wandered from room to room, wanting life to be different. My version of denial. I felt these walls and roof came from something so tragic, so heartbreaking, how could I possibly feel good about that, or accept it? It didn't feel right. At least it didn't for a long time. I think I finally noticed the guilt slip away about a month back as I finished unpacking the last room. It is an amazing gift he gave me. For that, I'm so, so grateful. He never had to do this, and I certainly never asked for it. It's been a hell of a shock having it. I'm just glad the guilt has faded, and I've finally been able to settle into my home.
Time and again I was told 'Time heals all wounds.' A year later, I've found that I've more just adapted to the pain and the absence in my life. That pain grew duller, but it's still there. I was fortunate enough to have a good relationship with my mother, and a good friendship. I think that's why it's been especially hard to deal with her absence. Her presence sneaks up on me in ways I never could have imagined or even noticed while she was still here. From the gifts and talents she taught me, to her looks, there's a million little things that I never saw. It seems she's still got a presence in my everyday life, in the most subtle of ways. Beautiful reminders that were painful at first, but I enjoy now. Sometimes I notice it; sometimes it's those who knew her best reminding me. Subtle small things, but they are there.
For the people around me, around here, may have noticed I pushed everyone away for the most part. I never intended to do that, but it happened. So many people were there for me, offering support, and kind words, people I'd never even spoken to before that point, which I am eternally grateful for. Unfortunately, I found myself unable to reply to most things. After the first few days, I couldn't handle being asked about it. And I didn't want to be asked how I was anymore and continue with the little white lie, of 'I'm fine' while I was taking on an insurmountable task of being the strength and core of the family, keeping my dad together and keeping everyone else in one piece too. I didn't have it in me to say, 'I'm not okay, not even close. I'm drowning here, and for a little while, I just want to be anyone but me. I want just to escape into writing and being someone else for a little while and pretend life doesn't exist.' That felt so harsh against such an outpouring of kindness. It just became easier to say nothing at all than let anyone know how much I was hurting. I stubbornly didn't let many folks in, to help me carry that burden. I thought I was making my own life easier when in fact I was making things worse. Unfortunately, I had to work that out for myself, no amount of anyone saying it was going to help me figure it out. Stubborn to the last, I swear.
For those people, thank you for being you. For being so awesome. For those that continually left messages here, on Skype, texts, who kept trying to get in touch despite the lack of reply. It actually helped to know people were still there, determined to keep checking in to see if I was okay, or needed anything. Even with not being able to reply and talk at the time, I did notice, I did. And I'm so thankful for that simple effort and actions on your part. You guys were amazing, and I am so so grateful to each one of you. Just that simple act of sending me a message, reminding me you all were there, it helped in ways I can't really explain. It was wonderful to know you guys were there if and when I needed it. Thank you.
Life's fragile. So fragile. We've only got one shot, one life. You never know when it's going to end. Try not to take it for granted, especially the time you get with loved ones. Just one last time I'd like to say thank you to those who helped me through, who sent messages, who took the time to say hello, I truly appreciated it all even though I may not have said it at the time. Keep being beautiful, amazing and kind. It honestly did help get me through. For that, I can't thank you guys enough.