Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections of grief

It’s been 10 years since I’ve heard her voice. Ten years since I’ve gotten advice from her. Ten years since I held her hand or heard her say “I love you.”

Ten years ago today my life changed forever when my beautiful mother succumbed to melanoma.

In some ways, 10 years is like a lifetime. In other ways, it’s like the blink of an eye.

I think about what I’ve done these past 10 years and how I’ve managed without her. When I lost my mom, I lost my biggest cheerleader, my sagest advisor, my greatest hero and my best friend.

But in many ways, I lost myself, too. For 10 years, I’ve been afraid to live, afraid to hurt, afraid to feel. I was cocooned in my grief without really even knowing it—buried under pizza boxes and fast food wrappers. I was shut off from all my feelings. If I couldn’t feel, no one could hurt me.

When my mom died, I was 25. I was in limbo—in so many ways an adult, but in so many other ways, still just a girl who needed her mommy. I am fortunate to have a loving family and wonderful friends. But without my mom, I was lost.

For the past several months, I have fought to find myself. I have discovered my voice. I have uncovered my strength. I know my mom would want me to truly live, even without her. But it took me all this time to learn that. I feel like I’m finally emerging as the person I’m meant to be—the person my mom taught me to be.

So today I celebrate my mom. And I celebrate myself, because that’s what she would want me to do.

I miss you every day, Mom. I hope you’re proud of me.


Kellynn18 said...

Wow, that's really powerful. It must have been extremely difficult to share all those emotions. Congratulations on the person you have become and are continuing to become. I'm sure your mom would be incredibly proud of you, as so many of us who don't even know you are. Thanks for sharing this with us. You are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

"If i couldnt feel than noone could hurt me"

oh god, how these words hit me with so much familiarity. i know that all too well. if i stayed the funny, pretty, smiley girl and blocked out the things that made me sad and angry, no one and no thing could hurt me. i hid behind food too. and alcohol. and smiles and sarcasm and laughter and entertaining everyone. all the while completely losing myself.

I am so proud of you, Erika. so sorry that this is a sad day for you but know that your mom is now your angel. she watches her little girl and smiles down on you and is beyond proud of how you have lived your life and continue to live it. all my best to you always.

'girl on the phone' :)

Tonia said...

Erica, your mom is definitely smiling down on you. Even without her present she has made a lasting impression on you and she is undoubtedly pleased with the woman you have grown up to be.

Anonymous said...

Erika I am here honey with you every step of the way. My beaming smile is the warmth of the sun on your face. When you don't feel like exercise it is me who is pulling you to move. I revel in your every accomplishment. I could not be prouder of the woman you have become. from all the Moms whose lives you have touched

Anonymous said...

Oh, how you make her proud...I can't think of a more fitting compliment than to say how much I see her in you - the warm spirit, infectious laugh, beaming smile, sharp sense of humor, sassy playfulness, unending faith and loyalty to friends and're def your mom's daughter. Mrs. A is beaming from up there. In the words of my aunt, "you're doing good, dahlin!"

Dawn M. Stark said...

Cheers to your mom Erika! What a beautiful tribute to her and the legacy she has on your life. She's still your biggest cheerleader, just not here on earth where you can physically see and hear her but I know she is with you every step of this journey we call life!

May God continue to bless you as you learn to feel more and more each day!

Love ya girl!

Tiffany said...

Baw. Ling. That's me right now. I'm awful with words but I wanted to make you smile and say that I think of your mother every time I go to Kroger, which is often. :)

Tiffany said...
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Nicole said...

What a beautiful picture of you and your mom. You are so amazing, Erika. You spread so much joy, love and compassion in just your smile alone. Those of us who know you are so lucky for it.

Casa de Nagel said...

thanks for the tears. they are not always a bad thing and YES SHE IS!

Casa de Nagel said...

thanks for the tears. they are not always a bad thing and YES SHE IS!

Systa Soul said...

So beautifully written for all the women who lost their mothers too soon - myself included! Keep making her proud, girlie!!

- Systa Soul

CD said...

Your mom is sooo proud of you, Erika - I hope you made it through the anniversary okay with your friends. I've been thinking about you!