Sunday, October 23, 2016

Six months ago

My mother passed away. It was sudden and unexpected. She died of Non-Hopkins Lymphoma, and we were told that she would pull through, but because she did not have health insurance she wasn't able to start treatment. When she finally could, the cancer had spread so rapidly that her body just couldn't keep up anymore and 6 weeks after her diagnosis, she slipped away while I held her hands in mine. 

As some of you may know, I am an only child and have no family in my city except for my own child. I do have many lovely and amazing friends, who have been kind and supportive as best they can be, but it has still left me with the burden of grief to deal with alone in most ways. The profoundness of losing a parent, my only parent, is not something I can easily put into words. It is this grief that has stopped me from writing more blogs as I had planned for in 2016.

So, many have said to me that this grief will become easier, but for me it has become more acutely painful the more time that has past. I don’t try and pick up the phone to call her anymore, or leave her a post on her facebook, but I seem to miss her more and more daily.

I've gone through a lot of transition and change since she passed.

My child moved out into their own apartment.

I ended a long-term relationship.

I lost my job with a company that I enjoyed working with because the company downsized.

I started working a new job registering voters and will end soon which means I will have to find another part-time position to take its place.

I painted the kitchen, my office and started on the bathroom.

I almost fell in love again.

I’ve done many things to just try and stay busy, because when the mind is busy it is hard to think about grief. Grief like work can be put off till the last possible minute, I’ve found.

But, grief is a cruel animal that will bite the heart just when it’s calm enough to believe it's safe.

What has been hardest for me has been when I have ventured out of my house to see friends or have a drink. If I run into someone I haven’t seen for a while and they ask how I’ve been or what’s new--the questions is almost always followed with, “Well, my mother past away in April.” Which is then followed with, “Oh, I’m so sorry” and then “Are you okay”? 

Most days, I don’t know how to respond to either of these remarks. It is only polite to say “Sorry” and I am okay. I mean, I must be ‘okay’. I still go to work every day. I still take care of my home and my full house of rescue pets.

Many of my dearest have commented on my strength. Which I find puzzling. The world doesn’t not stop because you have lost a piece of your life. It moves on either with you or without you. I can’t stay in bed and not live. I must make money so I can pay all my bills, and write bad and sometimes okay poems, and teach students. I’m not sure if that is strength or if what mode I am in right now is just survival.

But, I do know, that my mother would never want me to give up. To stop. She frowned upon such things as just giving, because she gave up many times on many things, and as with all parents, she insisted I become more than she was. That I work harder. That I continue to keep going no matter what.  

I also know she would want me to do more than just survive. She would want me to thrive. 

So, I am working on thriving part a bit more than ever before. I am, for the first time ever, able to do exactly what I want in my life. I wish I had understood this more after she passed away and had used my small inheritance on making a big leap, but I also was not ready. I didn’t know what it was I wanted to leap to, but it’s becoming clearer now that some time has passed.

I am working on starting a Patreon account to help me accomplished some things. I hope to in the next 7-10 days have my goals and awards all ironed out, but if you would like to help me before I officially launch, here is the link:

For those of you who don’t know what Patreon is, it is a fundraising site for artists to help us have a living income while we create. I hope to gain enough support to finish my second book (those who follow know that this goal is one of my New Year’s goals for 2016 and progress was slowed due to my mother’s illness and the aftermath of her death), finish and shop around two essays, one that was started in this blog and another one that is just at the moment an idea, and would require travel for some interviews and  a lot of research, relaunch the online poetry journal Poetry for the Masses, and maybe even start a podcast to go with the journal.

With the support of a loving and kind friend, I have been writing, not as much as I would like or hope too though because after teaching and then working in the evenings, sometimes I am just wiped. I hate making the “I’m tired” excuse though, but we all need to sleep sometime.

I don’t believe that my mother is looking down on me or watching me, in fact I had a Buddhist Powa service so she couldn’t, but I do hope that even after her loss I can keep living my life the way she had hoped and wanted me too. With tancity, kindness, compassion, and love. Even when it feels bleak.

Till next time:


 The last picture of my mother and I. Christmas Eve 2015.