Losing a Parent

Losing a person in life is always hard. But losing a parent is the most miserable thing a child can go through. Whether you were anticipating the death or it happened suddenly, your life changes forever. One day you’re talking with them then the next you never get to speak to them again. The jealousy we face of others who still have what we once had, sucks. The wrenching pain in the throat and stomach we have every time we think to call them, sucks. Those dates and holidays that pop up and just tear us apart, suck. We have to learn how to keep going without that person who has been there since day 1 and try to make these things not suck so much.

When it first happened I felt like no one would understand how I felt. I thought people would think of me as “the girl who’s mom was murdered” and wouldn’t want anything to do with me. I pushed everyone away because I thought I’d be alone, so before people pushed me away I beat them to it. But I was totally wrong and I’m sorry to those who I pushed. Thank you to all who lost a parent and reached out to me to help me realize I will never be alone. Knowing I’m not alone or crazy and the feelings and thoughts I have are the same ones you faced. It has given me comfort and has helped me make progress. For those who feel the way I felt about being alone you’re not. Here’s my story about dealing without my mom. I hope it helps you relate and not feel so alone like I did at first.

When I lost my mom I had this moment where I realized that life doesn’t stop and the world just keeps going. I was cooped up for so many days and just in shock that I totally forgot about rest of the world. Then I finally went out and realized the world keeps going even if you aren’t. And the thought of joining it again is terrifying. We have to figure out our new normal of living day to day while carrying that void and pain. It’s not easy and somedays you just want to throw in the towel. But that’s not reality. Stay patient with yourself lean on your support team on those tough days. It’s going to take time to get use to this new normal. It’s been 8months and I feel like I’m just starting to understand my normal. It’s a process and sometimes you really feel like you’re making progress and then some shit hits the fan and you fall back. The new normal is not just about trying to figure out how to live without them, but to live a real happy life filled with emotions, events, and more. We will never have the same life as we did before they past. Though we can still have a great life if we choose to and I don’t know about you but I know that’s what my mom would want for me.

I’m 23 and life is definitely an adventure right now. Im trying to figure out where I want to be. What I want to do. And all those other fun life changes you face in your twenties. But I don’t have a parent to go to for support anymore. I just want a little advice to help point me in a direction. If anybody she was the one person who knew me better than I know myself. The other day my brother said, “Bai, we have each other, we’re all we got, we’re adult orphans”. That’s the truest thing I’ve heard in awhile. We don’t have that parental support anymore and holy fuck, it sucks. So now it’s about figuring out how to solve these adventures by ourself and reaching out to others who I typically wouldn’t. It’s definitely uncomfortable but there are so many people who are there.

The jealousy we have of others that still have family is unbearable at times. When my mom passed I would get so angry when people would say I’m going to see my mom. Or my family is having a dinner, you should come. I was so jealous. I want that. I want to have family dinners with my family. I want to go see my mom. But I can’t. After some time I was able to breathe and not be angry. Instead of getting angry I took that energy and turned it into something positive. Told those friends to go see their mom as much as they could. Go have as many family dinners as you can and hug every family member there. Reminding them to take full advantage because sometimes we never know when the last hug will be. Am I still jealous that they have something that I can’t, yea but that’s not fair to them and anger isn’t doing anyone any good.

Of course all the holidays and big events suck without your loved ones there. All the traditions aren’t the same it’s all so different and uncomfortable. I’ve almost been through my first year of all the holidays without her. This year I coped by ignoring most of the holidays. I know I can’t do that every year, but it’s an adjustment. It’s going to take a few years to get use to this “new normal” of holidays without her. Then you have all those big events in the future where you always pictured them to be at. Now you second guess if you should even have them at all because they were suppose to be a huge part of it and now you can’t share it with them. Maybe time will help decide to have them, I don’t know but it’s just another thing we children face that sucks.

Then there is the number. It’s a date every month that you hate. My number is 15. I hate the number 15. It’s the day my mom died and it’s the date of her marriage. I hate it and feel like it haunts me at times. It’s that one day every month that I go to write the date on my whiteboard at work and start to sob or just fully skip writing it. It’s a reminder of the terrible deck of cards I’ve been handed. It’s a rush of emotions and memories that just take the breath right out of me.

What I’ve learned already through this is that it’s okay to smile and laugh still. Yes, this was a terrible thing that happened, but we have 2 options. Let it be a part of our life or let it consume our life. I chose to let it be a part of my life. Some days are easier than others, but life is still going on and there is still so much to experience. I appreciate life more than I ever have and live on in honor of my mom. Really living with the theory that life is an adventure and I need to explore it as much as I can. This has taught me that I don’t have to have the “typical” life. I don’t have to have a plan all the time. Just breathe and take advantage of the present and not stress out too much about the future or regret times from the past. Those were lessons learned and life is short, and as cliché as it might sound try to live life to its fullest you never know when it’ll end.

I will always be grateful for the time I had with my mom. I will continue to grow because of all the lessons she taught me over the 22 years I had with her. Hanging onto to those lessons and memories of her are what help the hard times. For people who are reading this that still have family call them and tell them you love them. Hug them. You never know when the end will come and when it does all your left with is the memories. Take full advantage of the now and create as many memories as you can. Because us who have unfortunately lost our loved one, we would do anything for just one more hug or phone call.

Fly High My Angel Fly High 💛

Hey Mama…Thank You.

Hey Mama,

Thank you. Thank you for being the most amazing mom.  It sure has been difficult without you here. I think about you constantly, I don’t need little extra reminders of bumble bees or yellow flowers because  I know you are always right here. But all I have wanted lately is to hear your voice, get your advice, and hug it out.

So much has happened in these past few months that I’m barley afloat. But the only reason my head is still above the water is because of you. It’s because mama didn’t raise no bitch. It’s because you taught me how to be strong even when it hurts like hell. You may not of even realized you were teaching me. But I saw you every day, you were always the one that made everything seem perfect. I knew our family wasn’t perfect, but it sure felt that way because of you. I learned from you that when it’s tough you have to keep going. And even though you are gone now I am still learning from you. I learned that asking for help is one of the most embarrassing and hardest things to do, but it’s OKAY to do it. If we ask for help then I won’t end up in a situation like ours.

You fooled me mom, you really did. That last relationship of mine I always thought you liked the guy. It wasn’t till we broke up and I went back to VT and everyone told me you didn’t like him, but you never told me your feelings. I know it must of been hard  for you to bite your tongue. But that’s how I grew, if you would of told me I wouldn’t of grown. I had to learn that lesson myself. So thank you again for being that amazing mom that let’s me learn my lessons the hard way so I really learn. While in that relationship I thought it was great, but now looking back I see so many similarities between your marriage and that relationship. So many double standards, name calling, lies, put downs, etc. After a few months of you being gone, I was doing a lot of reflecting on me, myself, and I. I wasn’t happy and realized I hadn’t been for a long time. I saw me being you, pretending in front of everyone that we were great, and I saw him as dad being nice one minute then yelling at me the next because I left a coffee cup in the sink for the day. The cousins told me, you said you thought you failed as a mom because you taught me to love a monster. Guess what mom? You did the opposite you taught me to realize that I wasn’t in a healthy relationship, to have self-respect and get the fuck out.

Getting out of that was hard. I have more of an understanding of why you couldn’t just get up and go when I would ask you to. I wasn’t even married and all that other shit like you and it was still hard to move on physically and mentally. When I tried to pull the cord I only thought of the good things and how it could work because when it’s was good, it’s was good. But the good was the minority of the relationship I had to face the facts. I tried to semi-start life all over. New place, different town, but same jobs and same area. It wasn’t enough to get out of this toxic relationship. I started to receive nasty messages, my friends started to receive nasty messages, I was being stalked at my work, letters left in my door, etc. If this were to have happened a year ago I honestly wouldn’t of thought anything of it. Now that I have experienced first-hand what someone who doesn’t have control will do to gain it back, I didn’t take any chances. I was scared, mom. Everyone was scared for me. Within a week I had all my shit packed up (thanks to our awesome family), quit my job, and relocated. It totally fucking sucked. I loved my job, and yea I wanted to move eventually, but I wanted to do it on my time frame. But again I owe it to you mom. Thanks, for helping me realize that safety is the first thing I needed to worry about. I would of probably just  brushed it off until something more happened but because of you and the advice of family and friends I took the safe option.

The hardest part about all of this is I don’t have you to go to. You are my person and you’re not here. I don’t have your protection, advice, help, etc. I don’t mean to sound like a stubborn two year old, but god damn you are the only one I want right now. I don’t want a friend of yours or relative of ours. I want you. I need you. I’m fucking LLLLOOOSSSTTT mom. Ever since you left a huge part of me was taken, but I thought I would have some of me back by now. Yet, I just keep losing more. I use to be this outgoing, funny, confident, social, laugh it off,  go with the flow kind of person. Now, I feel like I’m in a trap. I’m in a trap because I know the girl I was and want her back, but I can’t get her. This past week I was with Brit and we kept joking that we switched roles. She was DEFINITELY the loud, bubbly, loose lips, chatty Kathy, fun to be around girl and I was just there. I just wanted to be on her level. We have so much fun when we are both on the same happy level but it was so hard. My body was there and I was trying to be present but I just felt so absent.

Now that some time has passed I feel as though everyone thinks I should be pretty much back to normal. But in all actuality mom, I’m more depressed now than I ever have been about your death. Which probably plays a big factor of me feeling physically present and mentally lost. This depression comes from realizing you are really gone. Accepting you are not on a vacation. You are gone forever. So many changes are happening so quickly and I don’t have you to be here with me. It’s a reminder of how rest of life is going to be when you’re not here for the big things and even the small things.

Ever since May I feel like I have either aged 50 years or I’m 12 again. Learning more about finances, estates, lawyer shit, court systems, etc is where I feel like I added the years. But I feel like I’m 12 in the fact that I have failed. I picked up my shit and left, I have no sense of the person I am, I’m super fucking moody, yell at people who don’t deserve it and cry. It’s just not fair. It’s the only way to put it. These past few months have sucked. And they suck extra because I don’t have you. But I get up every day, (sometimes not till 12) but I get up and try to keep going forward. I hide my tears in the shower and then keep going along trying to be that strong girl you taught me to be.I know the advice you would tell me. I know what you would do. But I just want to hear you say it.

All in all mom,  thank you, thank you, thank you for teaching me how to suck up the pain and keep going because eventually one day it will be better. I hope these shitty days get less and I learn the new normal of not having you here sooner than later. I love you mom.

Sending a hug to heaven for you.

Love you the mosterestesttest,

Your Baby Girl

Fly High My Angel Fly High

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Tiniest Sparkle of Hope

Do I have to accept that I lost not only my mom, but also my dad?

Accepting this was difficult, should I even accept it or just deal with it? I’ve been going through the process of figuring out how to accept some things and how to just deal with the others. While doing this I’ve learned a lot about myself. The biggest things I have learned are how to be honest with myself,  how to look at these questions and situations with multiple perspectives and accept that I can’t control my feelings, they are a natural thing. Today I was faced with this question: Do I accept that I lost not only my mom, but also my dad?

I have had a lot of thoughts since the tragedy. What could I have done for this not to happen  and all of those “what if” thoughts. Then the how am I going to make it through life without my mama thoughts.  The list goes on, but the one I kept pushing to the side was: I know I lost my mom, but did I loose my dad too? Why would/should I feel sad if I did loose him, after all that he has done?  As time passed these thoughts started to fade. Then I heard one little thing today and the one thought I kept pushing away would not let me push anymore.

Over the past few months I have said this monster deserves absolutely nothing and maybe a few other things that I don’t need to post. But that’s a normal and natural response to have. He took my rock. I don’t have my mom here and never will again. If someone was to ask me now to think about him, all I would think about is how the past 5-10 years have just been filled with lies and broken promises. But if they asked me 2 years ago, I would say all the great qualities of a dad he was, all the things he taught me, and the good times we shared. Why did I always say the positives then? I knew it wasn’t great, I knew he had a drinking problem and lied to me. But I always gave him the benefit of the doubt and had big hopes that he would change. At one point in time he was a sober man and a good father. I pushed the lies and pain away because I knew how good the good times were. You could say I was blinding myself from the bad that was happening.

Now I think back to middle school we made the “I’ll stop biting my nails if you stop smoking” agreement. That was just a let down. He just would not smoke at home or around me, he was sneaky. I remember the day I found a pack of cigs in his truck and the feeling of disappointment run through me. Then in high school and college his drinking intensified and he would promise to get help, but never followed through. I would even help make appointments, look at rehabs, etc. It was all just a waste of time. Then he said “I’ll drink non-alcoholic beer, I only drink beer because of the taste”,(insert eye-roll) but then I found Budlight in the garage. I saw it right in the fridge while he was out there one day working.  And again the disappointment I felt in my dad just got worse and more bitter. With my sassy and unimpressed self I said to him “Weird, last time I check Budlight is an alcoholic beer must be they changed it just for you”. I mean the stories like these go on and on and I can still feel the disappointment I felt when they happened . He would last 2 days sober then be right back to his alcoholic self. One time he lasted 3 weeks sober and I really thought things were turning around. But nah, that was me just getting my hopes up again.

So what made this question come up today and why can’t I push it away any further?

Today I heard that he doesn’t leave his cell in prison. At first I said good, he deserves to be miserable. Then I pictured it in my head and I felt bad for him. WHAT? WHY DO I FEEL BAD FOR THIS MONSTER? Then I’m pissed at myself for feeling bad. It bothered me all day. After all the hurt he has caused me I still feel a little for him, it’s not fair. On my way home I called Amber explaining all these thoughts and the disappointed I have towards myself. She said Bai, you’re heart is so big just like mom’s. You have always given him another chance or the benefit of the doubt. You were the last person to give up on him. That really hit me and after thinking about it I realized I was. I was the last person to cut ties with him. I was the last person that had that glimmer of hope that things would change one day because I knew when he was sober how great of a dad he could be. Unfortunately though the amount of time he was sober was rapidly decreasing while his drunken state was rapidly increasing and I couldn’t help anymore. I had enough going on I shouldn’t have to parent my parent.

After being the nice “I’m here for you dad” type of daughter, to begging and pleading with him to change, to fighting, yelling, and crying to him just to stop or lessen his drinking. I didn’t know what to do. I was always asking myself, why does he keep choosing alcohol over his family? It was so frustrating and degrading. I was out of ideas on how to fix him. I realized that you can’t help someone who wont help themselves. The only thought I had left was tough love. I told him you stay sober for a year, join AA, get your life together then you can have a part in my life. I will welcome you with open arms. Until you are sober for a year and continue to stay sober it’s goodbye for now…. Guess how long he lasted? A week. Yup, that’s right. I said a fucking WEEK. That’s me being generous about it too, it may have been 5 days. How pathetic. The rage I had was unreal. He made me feel so small, helpless, and stupid. He choose booze over his own daughter; the one person who is still trying to have a relationship with him.  Even though I cut ties I still had the tiniest sparkle of hope that maybe one day he would realize he has nothing and would want to change and be a part of my life.

People have asked me if I feel like I lost my “father” as well as my mom through this whole thing. My response has been no, I hadn’t talked to him for 9 months before this. He was already absent in my life so that was no change. But today I realized I lost the dad I was hoping for and knew he could be. Deep down I know that being in that cell is killing him that he could never sit still. He was always fixing stuff, outside working on a project, or doing something. That’s why I felt bad, I thought of the sober dad I had. Do I think he deserves that prison cell? HELL YES. He is a terrible person, a monster if you will. But is it okay for me to have those positive memories of sober dad? Today it was VERY hard to accept that because I didn’t want to. I want to erase him totally from my memories, but that’s not possible. So I have to accept that I do have these positive memories of who he was and that’s okay. Unfortunately  that’s not who he is now and a 2 second drunken decision he made FUCKED UP EVERYBODY’S life and now he has to pay for what he did and he deserves that. I think he deserves worse, but I’m not a judge.

Today I accepted that not only am I mourning the loss of my mom, I’m mourning the loss of the dad I had at one point in time and had always hoped to get back. I never would have thought I would say I was sad about loosing him. I’m not sad at all about loosing this monster he turned into. I’m glad that man will never have anything to do with my life or family. Though I’m sad that I lost the dad I knew he could of been if he had just chose his family. On May 15th I lost my mom and that tiny sparkle of hope that I held onto for my ‘old dad to come back’.

Goodbye Home

If you knew my family growing up, you knew that our house was never empty. From Tate and I having play dates in graded school, to sleep overs in middle school, the parties in high school, and dinners and get togethers as we got older. Oh boy, if our house and garage could talk the stories they could tell. Every night when mom was making dinner she always made more because she expected either people were over or were coming over. But that is what she loved. She loved having a house full of kids.

You may have come to our house one time or a million times but no matter the number you felt at home right away. Mom’s key words to any new person who walked in, “Hi, I’m Mama Swartz, make yourself at home because we don’t wait on people here”, then they would go to shake her hand and she’d go “no I’m a hugger, bring it in”. She didn’t make our house feel like a house she made it feel like a home to anyone who walked in, she always had an open door policy. I guess this is why she got the title of “community mom”.

In high school it definitely became “the spot”. From parties down in the camper at the pond, to the “man cave” in the garage, to the basement, or just sitting around the living room. She knew what it was like to be that age. It was a trust built relationship of boundaries and we knew how fortunate we were to have that and knew not to cross those boundaries… well for the most part.  😉

As we got older and  my brother started a career in the military and I started college the house was pretty quiet. Though when we came home for breaks it was just like old times. Everyone would get back together right in our home. The same home we built so many memories in back in high school and were continuing to build when we reunited. The home that mom welcomed anyone and everyone. And now that we’re older, she always welcomed them with a shot of Patron. It was always the place we all looked forward to going back to, to go have dinner, party, hang out and just reunite with old friends.

Now, I’m suppose to go to Vermont for Christmas.  At first I was very against this idea. I can’t go back to my home so what is the point of going? Why do I want to go back to a place that I can’t even sleep in my old bedroom or hang out in my living room? As I talked more to my grandparents, I couldn’t leave them alone on Christmas, especially our first one without mom. I talked with friends and family. I became more accepting to it and am actually starting to get excited to see everyone.

Once I started to accept it and be happy about it I kept getting the question from multiple people. “Where are you staying? You know you are more than welcome to stay here”. As fortunate as I am to have that many people care about me, I’m also like, well fuck me. Yup, I have to be asked that question now because I don’t have my home to stay in.  I’ve joked with multiple friends, saying “I’m couch hopping how comfy is your couch?!”, but that’s me just hiding my pain through sarcasm. I try to make as much light of the situation as I can. I’m going there with no plan on where, when, and who I’m staying with because I know I can stay anywhere. And as happy and fortunate as I am to have all these friends and family to stay with, it’s not the place I want to stay.

Last night, Brit and I are Facetiming till 3am and I was like I just need a night just to have drinks like old times, with old friends, let loose and reminisce. It didn’t take us long to realize that we wont have the typical place to do that anymore. We couldn’t just have the crew back at the Swartz house one night to get together like old times and mom make up a big dinner. It stopped us in our conversation. We both got upset, but then started talking about all the memories  we did have there and somethings mom would say that just got us to laughing.

“Brit puked, cleanup on aisle 7”

“Give me your keys (in a mean voice) okay have a great night! (in a totally happy voice).

“Who’s ready for some shots?!”

“Family before friends because real friends are family”

“How many am I cooking for?”

“Taylor and Bailey I said you could have 20 not 200, really guys?”

“Why is there golf cart tire marks through my flowers?”

So now we think oh ya when we go up in a couple weeks we will just have to find a different place to drink and get together which sucks, but not a huge deal. Then Brit goes, but we don’t have our 24/7 on call DD anymore. I can’t count the number of times we called mom at 3am to come pick us up somewhere.  She always did it every time, no hesitation, no question. It all so different. Its all not fair.

It’s not fair to all of her kids, not just Tate and I, but also my friends, Tate’s friends, friends of friends, etc. we all have to suffer this. We all have to go this Holiday Season and the rest with no more get togethers at the Swartz House, no more Mama Swartz’s dinners, no more of her special jello shots, no more of her hugs, or sarcastic remarks, or words of wisdom. We just have to remember the good and be thankful for what we did have. I know these are little things that I’m upset about but these are the things that made mom, mom. The best way to help the hurt of this was to look back at photos and all the memories in that home with everyone. Whether she was in them or not, she still helped us make them.

I have to say Thank You. The only way I am getting through this shitty time is by remembering all the memories good, bad, and hilarious ones from the dinners to the parties and get togethers at our house and the things mom would say and do. They help lessen the pain and make little smiles come through. So thank you to everyone who has a part in the making those memories. The other big part that’s helping me get through this is the army behind me. Whether you’re one of my people I have on the front lines that I talk to almost everyday or someone chilling back at base, I know you’re all there. Having that sense of “family” behind me is what gets me to a point where I am excited to come back and see family and friends. It’s sure going to be different and it wont be all great, but I am fortunate to have the people that I have to make it the most of what it can be.  So thank you.

Fly High My Angel Fly High

~Your Baby Girl

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Coping, It’s Tricky

I need you. Life changes are happening. I’m running in a million different directions. Christmas is coming. I’m questioning a lot in my life right now. But you’re not here. I hate leaving work because it was always my routine to call you on my way home everyday. Just to give you the 411 of the day, tell you anything new, vent, or just to say hi. But I can’t. I can’t call you and hear your voice, and it’s not our fault either. Why were you taken? Why don’t I have my mom? Why are you not here? WHY WHY WHY WHY.

A lot of people say I can still talk to you, yea I can, but you already know what’s going on. I want to talk to you and hear your voice. I want you to give me that confidence booster or a swift kick in the ass if I’m being ridiculous. I want, I want, I want. It’s hard accepting that none of these wants will ever come true. Talking to some people it helps a little, but I feel like I’m pestering them. I could call  you 100 times in a day and still feel fine about it, even if you answered the phone with “What do you want now”. It’s something about the bond we shared that I never felt bad or guilty to reach out. Whether I was reaching out to tell you something small or big, I could always talk to you.

So how do I cope with this. Well for example, tonight has been absolute shit. So I’m sitting on my couch crying about life, then crying because I can’t have my mom to talk about life with. Then it pops up Ces is Facetiming me. With eyes full of tears I answer and say sorry having a moment. We chuckle, talk about my moment, talk about life. Brainstorm ideas of what mom would say. The tears come to a stop, the smile starts to come back, til eventually those eyes that were crying of sadness or now crying from the laughter. With Brit it’s the same way. Texting each other everyday the countdown til we see each other again. To cope with this I have my people that I want to share every detail of my life with and visa versa. It’s about taking advantage of the support we give one another. We call each other for stupid shit and we call each other for serious life difficulties. Just like I would with mom.

Thanksgiving was last week. Why did that monster take you away. I couldn’t have Thanksgiving with my mom. Not by choice. It wasn’t our choice for her to not be here. So again I start with the Whys. How did I manage Thanksgiving without her? I simply pretended it wasn’t Thanksgiving. I treated it as a regular day. I knew it wasn’t a regular day because I talked to all my family and friends. But I tried my damn best to not think of it as a holiday. Just a typical day. Maybe the couple glasses of wine help with that mindset 😉 But it worked for me, I enjoyed my day. Though finally when the night was coming to an end I got the “Bai, I know today was tough, how are you?”. Then I lost it. I tried not to cry, but it sucked to not get the wake up phone call of her going “Gobble gobble gobble”. It sucked not having her near or a phone call away. I honestly though was in a happy mood. I had a great day, and in the back of my mind all day was mom and I knew she was with me. Was this the right coping strategy? Just try to forget the holiday, I don’t know. But it help me deal with my first big holiday without her, so yes I guess it was the right one for me.

So many holidays are coming, so many changes are happening. It makes it hard, and I find myself asking why way more than I use to. But I also find myself really thinking about the positives more than I was. Are these coping strategies the right ones? I have no fucking clue. But do they work for me, yes they do. I think coping is a lot like grieving there is no right or wrong way to cope. I could just sit and cry and keep saying why all the time, but I know she would absolutely hate that. So I try not to cry when it’s the little things, I try to smile or laugh instead. This way I am a little more happy and get a little sense of relief that she’s happy that I’m happy. But do I cry? Duhh. Mama Swartz was not just a typical mom. She was my mom, my best friend, and a second mom to all of Tate & I’s friends. She is missed. So yes, I cry because I miss her, and many people cry because they miss her. But we also laugh, smile, and joke about all the amazing memories we had with her, and that helps us cope. Even though this is a terrible situation, the only way to live a “happy” life with this in it, is to stay as positive as we can.

Fly High My Angel Fly High

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Take Time for Yourself

Have you ever been so fed up with reality. Questioning what makes you happy? What makes you, you? Am I doing this adulting thing right? Am I immature or mature for my age? How do I know if I have my shit together? Or is my life just a joke? Well that was me. People keep asking What is new? What’s going on in life? My typical response: Professionally my life is great, personally my life is a joke. Ever since I havn’t had my mom to call and check in with to make sure I was doing the right thing. I’ve been really hard on myself. Not that she told me I’m doing good or bad at life, but to get her advice on what I am doing is what I miss. I need to start evaluating my life by me, but how do I do that when I have always had someone to help me with that?  I needed a breather from reality, I needed some time to think, time to just relax, lay in bed all day, have a few drinks, and just escape. I have nothing holding me down, so randomly I booked a flight and I went to Florida for a few days. I was able to escape from reality, be in warm weather, and enjoy this “holiday” in a way I wanted to. Not having to go anywhere or please anyone, just chillen out and doing me.

While being here I had time to think by myself and talk & facetime with friends. The first question I wanted to answer for myself was, What makes me happy? Well obviously, I have things like family and friends that make me happy. But personally what actually makes me happy? Adventure, adventure makes me happy. In the past 2 years I would of never just booked a random flight to Florida by myself, but look at me, here I am, and I haven’t stopped smiling since I’ve been here. So step one for a healthier mindset  is to add more adventure in my life. It doesn’t have to be as crazy as going to another state, but it does mean I need to start doing more things for myself and stop pleasing everyone else around me first. Stop letting small things hold me back, we only live once. Go live it.

The next few questions go together: (Am I doing this adulting thing right? Am I immature or mature for my age? How do I know if I have my shit together?) Somedays I’m like look at me, I’m 23, have an awesome job in my field of work, my own place, my own bills, and friends to talk to and laugh with. But then other days I’m like well I’m 23 shouldn’t I know where I want to live, what my next steps are, am I grieving the right way or in an annoying way, don’t want to bother/annoy people, etc. This “adult life” should come with some checklists, rubrics, and a grading system. I would be able to assess myself and get the answers to these questions very quickly. I was telling a friend yesterday that I just don’t know if I am mature enough for my age, he pointed out multiple things, I moved out of VT, I have a good job, my own place, pay my own bills, etc etc. That I need to stop thinking I’m immature for my age.  So yes it would be easier for me to have a check list to assess if I’m doing all this right but that’s probably  just the teacher in me. This whole being a grown up thing is not black and white, but I wake up every day trying to be better than I was the day before,  remembering the good I have done, learning from the not so good, and living in the moment.

I think we tend to get so wrapped up in the what we are striving for, what we should have done, and the questioning of whether we are right or wrong. But in all reality we should be proud of what we have accomplished, happy where we are, and striving to complete our future goals. So did I need this little adventure maybe not necessarily, but it really helped me understand how I can get back to my old confident, happier self. I was able to realize with a little help/advice from friends that yeah life has sucked at times, but I’m still going. I still have a happy life I want to live and dreams I want to make a reality someday. It’s okay to not know exactly where I want to live or if I’m doing everything the right way. It’s about living in the moment, being happy in the moment and always striving to reach your goals. Mama didn’t raise no bitch or quitter. So how do I do all this happy positive stuff when I have a dark cloud above me? I turn that cloud into sun, and live on in her honor with the guidance she taught me and a shot of tequila here and there for a little pick me up. That is how I will get back2bailey.

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Fly High My Angel Fly High

I know you are trying to help…

It’s not getting any easier. I think this has been the worst week yet. Realizing its been 6 months. Six months since I talked with my mom. Six months since I laughed with my mom. Six months that I haven’t been able to see her, call her or hug her. I keep finding myself saying “Why?”. Wishing I could turn back the clocks and do so much different.  But having to accept that is not possible is the hardest thought I fight everyday. All the  what ifs that run through my mind.

So much has changed in my personal life in the past two weeks and I don’t have my mom to call and share all the good and all the challenges with. I can never hear my mom say she is proud of me again. I get so excited about this next chapter I am starting. I go from smiling and laughing to full on crying and screaming. I haven’t randomly screamed in anger until this week, I just scream to get the thoughts off my chest. And holy shit does it feel good when I do. But it doesn’t make the pain go away.

With Thanksgiving coming up I sat down and said I can easily say well fuck, this year has been a nightmare I have nothing to be grateful for. But then I hear my mom’s voice saying “It’s not about who’s not here, it’s about who is here”. I use to really like that saying, but knowing its not her choice to be here or not makes me question it, but I know she is still saying it. So I sat on my couch and started to make a list of what I actually have to be thankful for. What it mostly consisted of is the times and memories I have with her, my family I still have left, my friends, my students, a career, place to live, etc. So yes, I do still have a lot to be thankful for, but it still hurts.

It hurts so much I hate talking about. I can really only text my sister-in-law deeply about how I feel. She is really the only person who I have really dived into my pain with. But I have to text her I can’t talk about it because then the pain is out loud and I’m not ready for that. I know I have pushed people away, but this is how I am grieving. It’s not you, it me. I don’t like to talk. I HATE the “how are you” question. You know who I can talk to the most about this with? It’s old friends who have said if you need me call me. I have probably called 5 different people this week that I haven’t talked to in forever screamed on the phone and haven’t talked to them since. Why do I prefer this than someone who is close to me? Truth is because I know these people care, but they don’t know my day to day and they just listen let me get it out, then I get off the phone and feel a little better.  Send them a thanks for listening text and thats it. (P.S. to these people I hope you held the phone away from your ear and your eardrums are still intact, and I greatly appreciate  it) One day this will pass, but right now I need my space. I really need to work on myself. I tried opening up to family friends and they meant well, but I felt judged. They wanted to give me their opinion of my life, grief and then tried to explain how I feel but I can’t handle that right now. And I know no one is judging me about this but I get that uncomfortable feeling. I am not the same chatter box I use to be. No longer the girl who wanted  to see everyone all the time. I’m trying to get back there, but right now I need time and space.

So I wanted to share this one thing. Grief is fucking terrible. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and with the 6 month time frame being Thursday and the holidays coming up it makes it wayyyyyyy worse. I truly know you mean well but it hurts. Many people have been reaching out, sending me pictures of a sunflower Christmas tree, sunflower stockings, and I’ve been invited to probably 20 different Thanksgivings. I know everyone is trying to be supportive. They are trying to cheer me up, but right now it does the opposite. The first time I saw the sunflower tree I said aww thats nice. Now that the holidays are around the corner, every time I see it, it breaks me. It’s a reminder that I wont have my mom for the holidays. Or for any other holiday. I want to say thank you for thinking of my mom and I, I truly appreciate it. Though this pain and emptiness makes it hard to see things like that. I’m trying to stay positive, but sometimes I have to wave the flag and surrender.

I guess what I really want to stress to everyone is that grief is DRASTICALLY different for everyone. My brother and I had the same mom, and both of us are grieving differently and that okay. This is the part I’m at and I want everyone to know that there are different stages. But my grief will never “heal”. Life will eventually become a new normal. Its about making these hard days not as hard. As difficult as this is I try to smile and laugh throughout the day. I mean that is what mom wants me to do, it will help me get closer to that new normal and I want to be positive a happy person like she was. If I don’t look for the positives in the situations I will end up in a black hole and that is not a place I need to be. So thank you all, thank you all for letting me grieve the way I need.

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