I had a very long and pleasant conversation with my mom this morning. We were laughing and and making plans to get together. I’ve actually talked to her just about every other day for the past couple days! You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with grieving?” Well, it means everything. You see, I actually finally feel like I am living again.
There were days when I wanted to get in my car and keep driving. Just drive away, no destination in mind, just drive away…actually run away. I planned my escape. I would take nothing with me but some cash for gas. When I ran out of money, that was where I would stay. The only thing that allowed me to make that u-turn and come home was the thought of my two other children and my beautiful grand babies. My common sense would kick in and I would remember that I couldn’t run away from my grief. It will be a passenger sitting next to me for the remainder of my life.
I just stopped caring one day. I don’t know when exactly. It could be the day Joey died, or maybe the day of the funeral. I JUST STOPPED CARING. I didn’t care if the sun came up or if I pissed my husband off so badly, that he would leave me. If my home went to shit, oh well. It wouldn’t bother me if my angry remarks pissed anyone off. If my job suffered and I was the “talk” of the office, I didn’t give a crap. At the end of the work day, all I wanted to do is get the hell out of my office, come home, take sleeping medicine and forget about everything. The next day, my nightmare started over.
Oh, I tried to put on a good front. I smiled at people, laughed at some jokes, pretended to listen attentively to some conversation. What no one knew is that all long, my heart was beating out of my chest, and my brain was in some place called grief valley. Dark thoughts would consume me. I couldn’t concentrate, no matter how hard I tried. Words were blah, blah, blah, blah. I chose not to participate in a lot of events even though I gave the impression that they did. Get-together’s didn’t matter to me anymore. Besides, it would give others a chance to talk about me and describe me as “poor, poor Cynthia! How brave she is. I don’t know how she does it? If it was me, I couldn’t go on” Oh people, if you only knew! I am not brave…I am on survivor mode. I was doing the least possible just to try to make it to another day.
My relationships suffered. I pushed the people that love me the most away, but I don’t know why. Honestly, I din’t care. Pleasantries eluded me. Maybe I just didn’t have the energy anymore. I was barely getting by myself. Back to my mom. Being the only daughter, we have always been closed. I talked to her every other day. Sometimes a mere 5 minutes. Other times, we gossiped about family for hours at a time! She relished those moments. Her Mija Chula (beautiful daughter) had made her day brighter. Then, she lost her first born grandson. The light of her life. Her beautiful nietecito that she adored more than life was gone. At the hospital, she cried and screamed in agony, ” NO, NO, NO!!!Please God take me!!! Take me God! I have lived my life! Give my little Joey back to his mom!!” What my mom or I didn’t know at the time, was that she was about to lose me, too.
I stopped calling my mom. When I would see her name on caller ID, I would ignore the call. She would leave me messages, I would delete them. I can’t explain why? I adore my mom. The times I felt guilt creep in, I would make a call to her, but horribly, it was out of obligation. She would try to stay strong. She rarely cried during the few conversations we did have. When my voice started cracking, she would quickly and kindly end the conversation. She wanted to shield me from more pain. I KNOW that as soon as the line went dead, she would collapse on her chair and cry out to God for help. My beautiful mother was grieving for her grandson and for her daughter.
A couple Saturdays ago, while I was having my morning coffee, I picked up the phone and called her. She was pleasantly surprised. We talked for almost and hour. We talked about everything and about nothing. The I heard something that I realized i had been missing…I heard ourselves laughing! No cracking voices, no tears, just laughter! I missed my mom but most importantly, I realized how much she missed me. A couple days later I called her again. I have to laughingly say that this time she was shocked! We only talked for a few minutes on my way to work, but to my mom, it might as well have been hours! As our calls have continued, I can hear her tone lighter, happier. When she answers the phone ;“ALO ,mi hija mas chula de todo el miundo (Hello my most beautiful daughter in the whole world), I cheerfully answer her back “ Hello my most beautiful mother in the entire universe!” We both laugh at our silliness. I can hear her laugh now as I type. It makes me happy. I now understand that I have needed her as much as she has needed me. I am cognizant that I will have moments when grief will try to pull me back into a dark and destitute world, but I am bringing back those that will help me in my battle. I have lost my son forever and sadly, I can never bring him back, but a couple weeks ago, I gave my mom a gift….I gave her her daughter back. Her hija mas chula…
I was taught to be a mom by the greatest teacher ever….my mother