Letters to Mom 019: Good Morning

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Hey mom,

I don’t have a lot of time and I’m sorry for that. I went back to sleep after Ox left for work and have stayed in bed for longer than I should have if I wanted to have more time to write.

I talked to Jon for a little bit just now. I know it would make you happy to know we’re getting along better than we ever did while you were alive. I know it would make you feel like you had done something right to know that we love each other as much as we do and that we support each other as much as we are. We’re there for each other and I think, in the end, that’s all you ever wanted for us to learn.

The past few days have been hard. I’ve been missing you a lot and I don’t know why. I know it’s almost the fourth and so that means it will be two years and three months since you died. I know that a lot of people think it’s unhealthy to count that way and to be so aware of the numbers like that. But when I have to write the date, everyday, on everything I open at work, when I write the date at the top of my to-do list everyday, when I’m so hyper-aware of what date it actually is in relation to when you died… it’s hard to not be conscious of it; to not know. At the moment my brain processes the information in that way and I don’t know how to make it not do that, just like I don’t know how to not breathe or blink or how to make my heart stop beating on its own, firing off electrical impulses to move my blood through my body. I don’t know how to make my muscles not use energy.

I don’t know how to make my body not do all of these automatic functions, and knowing how many days it’s been since I last held your hand is one of those automatic functions now. Maybe that will change with time, but so far it hasn’t and it’s one of the things I live with; this constant knowing, constant counting, constant ticking further and further away from that day.

I miss you a lot. It hurts and I don’t know how to explain to anyone what it feels like. I know it’s pain. I know it’s in my chest. I know I can feel the edges of this wound. It feels circular. I know it doesn’t pierce all the way through to my back but I don’t know how far in it goes. It feels deep. It feels like it reaches into something past my self, into something that is no longer physical; a part of myself that can’t be seen or touched. I know it feels like it’s on the inside and that it’s under the surface of my skin; beneath the bones of my rib cage. It’s higher up in my chest, sort of below my collar bones. I know it feels like the edges are trying to close rather than growing bigger. I know it feels like spasms when I do feel the pain of missing you, like the muscles around this invisible, untouchable wound are twitching, contracting. It makes my shoulders hunch inward. It makes it hard to breathe. It makes silent tears run down my face and I have no control over them. I can’t hide them or stop them any more than I can stop anything else. They’re an automatic response to the pain just like the short shallow breathes I have to force myself to take to get through the aching twitching spasms in my chest where something used to be.

The pain makes everything feel heavy. The pain makes me feel injured because even though I can’t see it or show it to anyone, even though it seems like it’s not there, there is a wound and I am injured and when I hurt the most I wonder if I’ll ever heal at all.

Ox tried to hug me after one particular episode of Violet Evergarden and I pulled away because I knew his hug would be too much. It would hurt too much because I felt my wound more than ever and accepting the hug would acknowledge it; would acknowledge the pain that has no cure. It would admit that I’m lonely and that I miss you and that I hurt in ways that I try so hard to hide and work through on my own.

That hug would have meant it’s all real. Your death. My pain. The invisible wound that connects us… It’s all real and I can’t hide it.

I love you, mom. I never knew or understood how much until you died and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for all the times I was selfish and didn’t do the things you asked me to. For not taking care of the dishes or cleaning the litter boxes. I’m sorry for all the times you asked for my help and I didn’t only to turn around and ask something of you and for you to selflessly give your time and energy.

I know I wasn’t an awful child. I know that you’re proud of me and that you feel you raised me right. I feel like you did, too. I feel like I’m the person I am because you were, because you are, my mother. I’m grateful for having had as much time with you as I did.

The past few days have been hard and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that with the kids being gone and me not working overtime as much as I was, I finally have the time and space to address the wound that I haven’t given much time to.

I think there’s still a lot I need to address in regards to your death. I don’t really agree with the stages of grief but I also don’t have anything else to express what I’m going through. I feel like, on the inside, there is more anger now than in the previous years. I know that I do feel regret now even though I try not to.

I regret that Ox will never be able to meet you. I regret that you’ll never be able to play Cards Against Humanity with him. I regret that you won’t be able to banter with him because his sense of humor totally fits our family. I regret that I am with someone I know you would be proud of and that he’s the one person you’ll never be able to meet face to face.

It sucks and I’m angry about it even though I don’t want to be angry. I fight and try so hard not to be and that most likely makes it all that much harder.

I’ve fought for so long, mom. Ever since you died. And now I don’t have to. I don’t have to fight to pay rent. I don’t have to fight to get to the gym. I don’t have to fight through the exhaustion of work.

I don’t know how to not fight. I don’t know how to not have things be a struggle and I guess that’s part of learning how to live this new life that I’ve moved to. I guess it makes it harder, feeling like I can’t call or ask for advice on how to do this.

How do I be a parent, mom? How do I be happy? How do I love someone after everything I’ve been through? How do I stop fighting and let people get close again?

Did I make life easier or harder for you when dad left? Did I give you purpose, a reason, to get out of bed on the mornings you didn’t want to? Did I make life feel heavy and like an overwhelming burden on the days that were hard? Did I help you after Mawmaw died? How did you get through those days? When did you cry? Did you every scream because it hurt so much to not have her anymore?

Did you ever feel like giving up?

Why can’t you be here to answer all of these questions? Why can’t you come back? Why did you have to leave? Why? Was it a choice? Did you know how everything would turn out? Is there some major thing in the distant future where it will all make sense and I’ll understand why and that the pain was worth it and things really are and were ok?

I wish I could hear you say those words one more time. I wish you could tell me “It’s ok,” just once more. I promise I would believe them. I promise I would cherish them.

Hate that I need to go for now. I hate that I have training at the gym at 10. I hope I do better than Thursday. I hope I don’t break down during my training and yell about how it sucks and it’s unfair and what’s the point and how no one understands because how can they? They weren’t, aren’t, your daughter. No one but me will know what it feels like to be me in the wake of your death. And in a way, I think I’m ok with that. It makes me feel privileged. It makes me feel honored.

I’m ok with being your only daughter. I’m ok because I’m YOUR daughter. Even if you had had another one she still wouldn’t have been me.

I don’t know. I didn’t know what I wanted to write when I started this.

I guess… I guess I just wanted to say good morning, mom, and that I love you and that I miss you and that I’m going to try to make today a day. I hope you’re doing ok. I hope that you don’t worry too much about me. I hope that I’m making smart choices and that even if I am giving you more gray hair that it makes you smile because at least it’s me doing it.

I love you. Forever and for always.

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Letters to Mom 017: A Late Mother’s Day

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I wrote this on Tuesday, but for some reason, it didn’t post properly. I cherish this writing even though it was painful at the time I wrote it. It’s another writing where I grieved and bled invisible blood onto my keyboard, but it’s important to me and so even though it’s from the past, I feel the need to post it.

 


 

I didn’t write on Mother’s Day.

I had a dream about mom the night before. I still remember it.

I was in a house. I was with other people though I don’t remember who they were. I remember that I knew them, but I’m not sure if it was family or close friends. We were supposed to be going somewhere, but mom had said she would be visiting and I really wanted to see her before we left the house. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see her again for a while. It was important that I be there. It was my one chance.

I remember the feelings of anxiety and worry. Mom was running late. Her flight was delayed and there was traffic and all of these things keeping her from getting to the house on time. The people I was with were getting annoyed with me because we ourselves were going to be late if we didn’t leave soon, but I kept asking for more time. Just a few more minutes. Please. She’s so close. Just a little longer…

I remember in the dream I was almost in tears but the other people wouldn’t wait any longer. It was so hard, so heavy, to close the front door, to turn the lock. It sounded so final; the door closing. It was like I had allowed myself to give up. It was me giving in. It was me walking away and not waiting. It was me caving to pressure.

I wanted to wait. I wanted to be there. I wanted to see my mom. But I wasn’t staying and that felt like a betrayal. I was making the wrong choice and I hated it but I didn’t know what else to do. I had to leave with them.

There was so much confliction inside me and still, I turned to walk away from the door. But just as I did there was a knock.

I knew it was her. I knew mom had finally arrived and I didn’t care if I was late to whatever it was I was supposed to go to. I turned around as fast as I could and unlocked the door, throwing it open without regard.

She was there. My mom was there. I threw my arms around her and hugged her and cried.

I heard her say my name over my tears.

I KNOW she said it. I can still feel it in my chest even though I honestly can’t remember what it sounded like.

I just… I know my dream was real and that mom is still here, in whatever way the Universe is allowing.

This Mother’s Day my mom gave me a gift instead of the other way around and I still cry when I think about it. Fucking tears…

I’m grateful for my dream.

Thank you, mom, for everything that you did in life and everything you continue to do for me. I’m sorry I didn’t write on Mother’s Day. I’m sorry I still get sad and have hard days like Tuesday.

I’m sorry I’m not doing better even though I know writing that will make you frustrated with me because I know I’m doing amazing right now. I’m doing so much better than I ever have before and that makes me angry and sad at the same time because I wish you were here so I could show you; so you could be part of it. I wish I could call you and tell you about everything. I wish you could come visit and watch me beat people with sticks at SCA practice and meet Ox and just… everything.

I love you, mom. I wish it hadn’t taken your death to make me the adult I am now. I wish we had had more time. I wish I had thought to ask you all the questions I have now. I wish I had listened to your stories more. I wish I knew more about the hardships you faced while you were growing up. I wish I had you the way so many people still have their mom, but at the same time I know we’re closer for what we went through.

Thank you for raising me. Thank you for the dreams I have of you. Thank you for helping me get through the hard times.

Happy late Mother’s Day, mom.

I love you. Forever and for always.

Letters to Mom 016: I Promise I’ll Try

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Hey mom,

I woke up tired today.

I miss you.

I miss a lot of things.

I miss Jon. I talked to him today while I was on break at work. I got to tell him that I’m homesick.

I guess it started when I got a text message from Big Bad.

I miss him, too.

And there’s a part of me that wants to hate myself for that. I want to be angry at myself for missing the times he and I cuddled together. For missing our quiet mornings. For fucking up our plans to do the Warrior Dash in February.

I want to not miss him. I want to remember what it felt like to read his message about being “disappointed. Thanks.”

But I’m bad about remembering things like that. I’m bad about remembering how he never said, “I love you.” I’m bad about remembering that there most likely would have never been a family Thanksgiving that I would have been invited to. A house I could come home to with him. There wouldn’t have been an “ever after”, but that doesn’t make me miss what I had less.

I miss wrestling with him. I miss kicking his ass at Mortal Kombat.

I miss my friend.

Just like I miss Jon. I miss going to Friendly Confines with him. I miss driving up to Daytona for breakfast. I miss our sappy hugs goodbye. I miss the times I slept on his couch.

I miss my dojo. I miss not having anxiety over going to work out. I miss feeling strong and healthy.

I miss feeling like a warrior because right now I don’t.

In a lot of areas in my life I know I’m doing better, but the overall feeling I have right now, the most pervasive one, is that I’m treading water. I’m bearly holding on and maybe that’s just the tiredness. Maybe that’s just the overwhelm of having the kids for the weekend and not having a safe space to get away to.

I feel apathetic right now about most things. About gaming. About working out. About eating.

I don’t want to do anything.

I want to sleep. I want to wake up and feel ok even though I know I’m not “not ok”.

I don’t have drive or motivation for anything at the moment, mom, and it sucks.

I’ve been breathing better for the past few days. I’ve been taking a lot of decongestant stuff and I guess it’s working. So now that I don’t have to struggle so hard to breathe I guess my body thinks it’s ok to remind me that my soul hurts. That’s I’m actually still really injured and I need to take care of that.

But I don’t know how because I don’t know what’s wrong.

I know I like it here. I know I’m starting to love my job again. I know that I don’t dread getting up in the morning even though I still wake up at 3 am.

I know I don’t want my own apartment because I like coming home here. I like being part of a family. I enjoy falling asleep next to Ox. Being away wouldn’t feel right. At the same time, all of my things are mostly still in storage. When the kids are here I don’t have a space for myself. And there’s a part of me who’s not ok with giving up the few days I have off to socialize.

Maybe “not ok” isn’t the right words. I would rather it be a choice rather than something I’m forced to do due to the living situation. But it’s not a choice. I have to and there isn’t really a way to change it at the moment. Maybe ever.

If I’m not “ok” but I’m not “not ok” then what am I?

Why can’t I just figure out what it is that I need to do?

Why can’t you be here for me to talk to? Why can’t I hear your voice on the other end of the phone? And saying, “because I’m dead” doesn’t count.

I don’t care right now. Because you’re dead isn’t a good enough answer.

I miss you, mom, and I so desperately want to say that I need you, but I know that word isn’t true because I’ll wake up tomorrow having survived another day without you and so it’s not a true need. Not like air or water or electrical impulses within my heart.

But I need you, mom. I need you to be here and you’re not and it sucks and I hate it.

I meet with a personal trainer tomorrow. I’ve signed up for a Warrior Dash in July. I have no motivation to do either of those things, but I’m going to do them because I know they need to be done.

This is the therapy part of healing. This is the hard part. The part that hurts. The part that sucks. The part that makes me cry and want to give up because the thought of doing them feels like it’s too much. Too heavy. Too hard.

It’s so much easier to hide away and stay in bed and be sad and to not do anything, but I know that’s not what I truly want for myself. I know it’s not what you would want for me either, so I’m going to go to my stupid meeting tomorrow, mom.

I’m going to try, mom. For you. For me. For us.

I’m so sorry I can’t promise more than that. I’m sorry I can’t do more than try. I’m sorry I can’t say that I’ll kick ass and take over the world and be an amazing person who does amazing things.

I wish I could, but right now I don’t feel those things. I don’t feel amazing or strong. I feel weak and broken and all I can do is say that I won’t let the sadness win and that I’ll try really hard for you.

Today sucks, mom. Nothing bad happened. Work went smoothly. I’m back home and I’m writing, but today just really, really sucks.

I love you. I promise I’ll try to make tomorrow better.

 

Daily Post 038: These Seem To Be Turning Into Weekly Posts…

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I guess now’s a good a time as any to write. It’s almost 10 pm. I “should” have been asleep a few hours ago since I wake up at 3 am for work, but eh… I’ll be ok. I would rather do this. It’s better to do it rather than toss and turn in bed all night thinking about writing.

I don’t remember the last thing I wrote about, to be honest. I suppose I could go back and read my last post. I’m pretty sure I mentioned the concert with Big Bad. I don’t think I talked much about it. That was the last time I’ve seen him. Conflicting schedules suck.

The concert was a lot of fun. I think we both needed the break from reality. I drove there, roughly two hours, through what seemed like never ending rain. Big Bad drove back which was unbelievably nice. I tend to get headaches when I have to drive at night. Instead, I got to rest and actually slept part of the way back.

So I’m going on two weeks of not seeing him. During those two weeks, his mom was hospitalized. I don’t know much as far as details go. I know she was discharged so everything must be relatively ok. I know Big Bad is worried about her living alone. I’m not sure if that’s going to change in the near future or not. I’m sure it’s something we’ll talk about when we see each other again, which thankfully should be soon.

I am scheduled off on Tuesday so we have plans to spend Monday evening together. Our schedules finally line up to have a weekend off together so we may try to make plans for Friday night / Saturday. I’m not sure yet, but it would be unbelievably nice to see him twice in one week again.

It’s something I talked about in therapy today. I finally scheduled another session. It’s been close to two months. I mentioned during the session how I probably should have scheduled one sooner with how I’ve been feeling lately. It was nice to have a session where I felt ok for once though, rather than an emotional ball of sadness and grief.

I mentioned my sickness and my trip to the ER and how it was hard being there. How it reminded me of the surgery floor and waiting with mom for her to be taken back. I talked about how I had to have a CT scan done and how I finally knew what it felt like for mom to be in the room by herself inside of the machine and to have to wait for test results. I know what it’s like to be a patient and to be pushed around in a bed and wheelchair.

It sucked having to go through those emotions, but in a way, I’m glad I did.

My therapist mentioned at the end that she can tell there’s been a lot of growth within me during these past two months of my training. She asked if I understood that my grief and the sadness will continue to come in waves. I said I did, but this was the first time where it seemed to stay. It wasn’t as fierce as before, but it seemed to last longer. Like a calm sea that stretched on for forever. Nothing was really wrong, but there wasn’t an end. No change. No reprieve. Just this constant sadness and apathy that made everything feel pointless.

I explained how it was comforting to be out of it because it showed me that even if that state, those feelings, last for a while, they will eventually change. I’ll go back to being ok even though I’m not really “un-ok” when I’m sad. It’s just a different state and I guess a natural one I’ll have to swing through from time to time now that mom’s gone.

I don’t really know what else to write about.

I’ve been feeling better recently. Monday was more mind-numbing power point slides. I survived. That was the last day as far as lecture material goes. Woohoo.

Tuesday was a fantastic day. I had three patients on my own. I initiated and terminated their treatments by myself AND handled all of the documentation within the timeframe I was given. Go me. Totally improved by leaps and bounds compared to last week where I was able to do the treatments but couldn’t keep up with the documentation.

Theoretically, if I had a fourth patient, like what I’ll have once I’m on my own, I would have been able to handle it with the time I had. That’s reassuring. It means even though I’m still a little nervous and could be doing better in the confidence department, that I really am doing well and that I really do “got this”.

I was supposed to work Wednesday but opted to trade days so I’ve had Wednesday and Thursday, today, off. It’s been a glorious two days. I think I needed these days. I needed the time to step back and breathe and exist without obligations for a little while.

I did absolutely nothing on Wednesday and yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. I woke up at six, didn’t get out of bed until 10. Had some coffee. Napped on the couch. Took a shower. Napped again. Ended up getting dinner with Nicole, Marc, and Des. Came back home. Went to sleep.

Absolutely perfect.

I most likely needed all of the sleep since I’m still pushing pretty hard in the gym department. Add to the fact that every day I work is now a cardio day with how much I move around. It was nice to have two days off in a row so I could take one day to be a complete and total “rest” day.

Today has been productive. I got all of my book work done. Once again it was off the clock, but I’m ok with it. I would rather be on the floor with patients while I’m at work rather than sitting in front of a computer. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Roughly two hours for the online training and book work. I went and got a pair of nursing shoes finally. It’s been on my to-do list for a while. I got a pair of scrubs while I was at the store since mine still haven’t come in yet. I’ve decided that these will be my Saturday scrubs.

I would say it’s a secret, but since I’m putting it out there for the whole of anyone to read I guess it’s not all that secret… There’s a pretty big push to wear the companies scrubs, but since no one from administration is around on the weekends I’m going to wear the scrubs I just dropped $60 on. They’re super amazingly comfortable. They’re essentially workout clothes. Stretchy, comfy, moves with you, breathable material. I love them and I haven’t even worked in them yet. Totally can’t wait for Saturday. I want to try them out so bad.

Same with the shoes. I haven’t worked in them yet, but from walking around the store I’m pretty sure I’ll like them more than my sneakers. I felt like my heels had more support. I also got better, more cushioned socks. We’ll see if there’s a marked difference tomorrow. I think there will be.

I’m also thinking about wearing my Fitbit to work so I can see just how intense my days are. Do I get to count how much I walk in a day as a workout? Is that cheating? I feel like it should count so I can’t be called a slacker when I’m tired and don’t want to go to the gym or train.

I’m supposed to have lunch with Jon on Sunday. Afterward we’re going to go kayaking again. I’m looking forward to it. I think getting some sun and having some family time will be a nice way to rest up from the next two work days and to destress before my test on Monday.

Which, by the way, I have my certification test on Monday. The rest of next week is my final week of training, and then I’m off on my own, a certified PCT for DaVita.

The thought of my training ending doesn’t terrify me as much as it did three weeks ago. Especially after how well I handled Tuesday, I feel like over the next five-ish work days that I’ll get a good feel for my own flow. I know I won’t be the best PCT on the floor, but I’ll be competent enough to not drown, and I know my teammates will help me when I need it.

So yeah, one more week and then I get a dollar increase.

I talked about the schedule with my supervisor and asked how it would be handled. He couldn’t promise me a super consistent schedule but he did say if there was a particular day I wanted off that he could try to work with that. After talking to Big Bad we’re going to see if I can have Tuesdays off. That would allow us to have Monday evening together since I wouldn’t have to wake up at 2 or 3 am to get to work.

I was nervous about bringing the subject up with him. I didn’t want it to feel like I was forcing him to give up his Monday evening. I know it’s really sucked for both of us, though, not having a set day where we know we’ll be able to see each other. It was reassuring to hear his support for requesting Tuesday as my off day. I guess I’m still sort of insecure and vulnerable feeling when it comes to the emotional stuff. It’s nice to have the reassurance that it’s not all one-sided nonsense inside of my head.

I haven’t seen my blacksmith since the 8th but I know he and I are still ok. He had family matters which kept him from coming over last week, and this week I’ve needed the alone time to regroup.

I think that’s about it.

Been killing it at the gym even though it doesn’t feel like it. I did a spin class today which has my inner thighs hating on me. I did way more “climbing” than I’ve ever done though, even in the spin classes I was taking at the YMCA. These classes feel way more intense. The first one I went to was last Thursday. Totally kicked my ass and my feet, but that’s because I wore my Vibrams. Not the best shoes for those classes. The peddles on those bikes are sort of weird on top of that. Just not a good combination in my book.

I wore my sneakers this time ’round and it went way better. We’ll see how I keep doing I suppose. It’s hard to find consistent classes to go to with my wonderfully inconsistent schedule, which is why it feels like I’ve done “nothing”.

I’m glad I have my calendar to tell me that, no, actually, I really do need a rest day or I’ll regret it.

Tomorrow is kickboxing. Saturday is yoga. Sunday is kayaking. Monday is conditioning at the gym. Tuesday will most likely be a rest day with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Maybe laundry. Most likely sweeping because dog fur sucks. We can throw in vacuuming, too, because dog fur doesn’t stay on just the tile. Blarg.

It should be a pretty decent day, though. And it should start off fantastically. A nice warm cup of coffee with Big Bad.

I’m very much looking forward to it despite all of the adulting I’ll need to get done. It’s my light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe that’s helped with the sadness and apathy lifting. I know I’ve made it through the hardest part. A lot of the people in my life have made it through the hard parts. Warren started his new job this week. Big Bad applied for a new position and may be switching to something he’s more interested in. My blacksmith is no longer having to work doubles every day because his company was able to hire more people.

It’s a good feeling. A stable feeling. I’m glad I’m feeling it rather than the coldness, the aloneness, that I was.

I’ll try to be better about writing.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Daily Post 035: Kidney Stones VS Childbirth

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I’m not going to apologize for my life. I’m not going to apologize for not writing. I’m not going to apologize for spending money or for playing video games. I’m not going to apologize for being sick or frustrated or tired.

I still don’t feel much at the moment even though the depression and apathy I have been feeling for the past several weeks seem to be easing their grip.

Big Bad and I finally got to spend an evening together. I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. Maybe not until the weekend after next. We enjoyed our time together we both slept well. In the morning, he went to the gym, letting me sleep in, though I did wake up when he text me to let me know he would be back. I replied with my own message to which he replied, “Go back to sleep :p ”

Our exchange made me smile as I snuggled deeper into the blankets and his scent. It made me feel like I belonged which was extremely nice after feeling so alone for so long. We finally were able to share coffee together again. We got to talk about the things going on in our lives which included my trip to the ER.

I had a kidney stone Friday morning. That sucked. Like, literally was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, level of suck which I feel is saying a lot for how hard I play with my partners as a masochist. I was in so much pain I threw up and couldn’t walk. Warren took me to the ER since of course this happened at 1 am and all of the urgent care clinics were closed. FML.

And to make it even better, on the way to the ER the pain faded. By the time we got checked in and I saw someone I was still dazed and fuzzy from the intensity of the pain, but I could walk again, and I could answer all of their questions though I was sort of slow on some of them.

They put an IV in my arm in case the pain came back I and needed medication. I had blood work drawn which included a pregnancy test. Good news. I’m not pregnant. Big Bad was also appreciative of that result. I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

Everything was inconclusive.

The doctor, an extremely nice lady, said given my symptoms and description they believed it was a kidney stone that was too small to show up on the scan.

While I was waiting in between all of my poking and prodding I consulted the wise and mighty Google, asking it what the causes of kidney stones could be.

Basically, it’s one of those, “if you breathe you might get one” sort of things… dehydration could cause it, too much protein in your diet can cause it, being sick can cause it, genetics can cause it. Most adults will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. I’m totally ok with having this off of my to-do list because when I say it sucked and was the worst pain I have ever experienced, it’s not a joke or exaggeration. According to the Internet, kidney stones are worse than childbirth. There’s some food for thought.

I think what happened is the stone formed due to my sinus infection or as a result of the antibiotic I took to fend off the ear infections because of the sinus infection.

Whatever the cause, I’m seriously done with this being sick thing.

On an unrelated note… Big Bad and I said the L word to each other. Actually, we typed it to each other since we were exchanging emails but as introverts, we both count it as “saying” it. Maybe “admitting” would be a better word to use.

I don’t think it will ever be commonplace for us to say it to each other. Not for a while at least. I think we’re both still skittish about things like that due to our past experiences, but we’re both happy we’ve addressed it. I know, at least for myself, when my friend asked me how I felt about telling him I love him I replied with “vulnerable”. I’m pretty sure he’s in a similar boat.

Yes. We love each other. That doesn’t change anything or require anything more or less from either of us. We like how things are. I’m glad that if anything were to happen to me, or to him, that we’ve had the exchange we did. Neither one of us will leave having doubt about the other person’s feelings. That means a lot to me.

I don’t like thinking that I might die and not get a chance to say the things I want to say to the people I care about. It makes me feel like I’m not living my life the way I should be living it. Fully, completely, every day. When I hold back from saying something I’m assuming I’ll have tomorrow, which isn’t true. Nothing guarantees me more time so I want to say and do the things I want to while I can rather than later because there might not be a later.

I finally said what I’ve been holding onto for months. It’s relieving. I’m glad I was able to say it and that we’re still ok.

Work is going well. I was going through overwhelmed feelings, but that’s eased up a little bit. Since I had to miss work Friday due to the kidney stone I’m going to be at my clinic all week next week. No mind numbing power point lecture for me. Woohoo.

Hey, Universe… just for the record… I would have rather sat through the power point than experience pain worse than childbirth… You know… in case you were wondering…

In other news, I have a new gym membership. I know… I seem to be going through them like candy. I feel a need to write this out so I can straighten it out in my own mind.

Because of the work schedule I have now, I can’t make it to classes at the boxing club like I was, so even though I enjoy my membership and I love the instructors, it’s not getting used and won’t be renewed. I’m actually going to talk to them about ending the contract, which that will require more writing about later.

I wasn’t using the YouFit, and the only reason I had that one was because it was $10 a month with no contract and let me run inside while it was cold due to winter. There really wasn’t much else going for it which is why I canceled it as soon as it started warming up.

I still have the dojo membership and I will be keeping this regardless of my schedule. It sort of sucks right now though. I can’t really make it to the classes, not without totally fucking over my sleep schedule, which is why I’ve switched over to doing private lessons twice a week. I’m mostly focusing on conditioning and technique, which I’ve already noticed some pretty serious results, so I’m not complaining too much about the switch. I do need to acknowledge my ache from not being able to spar with my dojo family at the moment. So while, yes, technically I am there, I’m still missing a large part of what it means to be at the dojo. At least for me. It’s a temporary change, but it still aches.

I do miss going to the YMCA like I was when I worked at Full Sail. I stopped attending that because I lost the benefit through work, but mostly because they tore the building down to rebuild it. I would possibly entertain the idea of going back except with my new schedule, even if the building was done, which it won’t be until next year, I would have the same issue as the boxing club. I work too early to workout before work and the classes in the evening are too late for me to do them after work.

So that brings in this gym. 24 Hour Fitness. Warren is actually the one who told me about it since he just got a membership there.

They’re open 24 hours, which is instantly a plus. They have saunas and showers. Already sold.

In addition to having those three of my requirements, they have a nifty system with their studio room. They offer classes during certain hours, but on “off” hours there’s a TV. You’re able to search for different types of classes, combat body, yoga, step class, strength building, whatever. You can select that class and do it on your own by following the instructor on the TV. They’re also working on getting punching bags because that’s a huge request from the gym members, including myself.

There’s a facility within biking distance of my apartment, and walking distance from work, though I would most likely drive, and you get access to all facilities with your membership; no having to pay an extra fee or more expensive membership to get that perk.

I’ve gone to the gym since Wednesday. Thursday I ran for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve shaved two minutes off my run time. I didn’t hurt during or after my run. I was breathing extremely well through it, too. I’ve had a quiet empty space to do yoga every time I’ve gone, and once I’m done I get to sit in the sauna and relax, doing my dragon thing and basking and in general not giving a fuck about anything going on in Life because Life can’t touch me while I’m surrounded by the heat and warmth. For those 15 minutes, Life doesn’t matter. My run time doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. Rent doesn’t matter.

It’s my 15 minutes of silence and I’m glad I have it back. I think it’s helped.

I still ache in my chest from my grief. I can still feel it. A heaviness. A tenderness that I don’t want to touch or deal with. Sort of like when a cut is infected. It hurts so you don’t want to do anything with it, but until you scrub out the infection and clean the wound it’s not going to get better. The pain has to get worse before it gets better.

I think that’s where I’m at right now. I think I need to do some meditation or further writing to figure out why I’ve hurt so much recently.

I think there’s a lot of factors for it. Not seeing my blacksmith or Big Bad for so long led me to feel disconnected. Being so severely sick didn’t help anything. There’s still stress regarding the apartment. There’s stress from work. Until recently there was also the reduction of workout time, which for me feels like a punishment; like I’m having to give up a part of myself.

I talked to my brother Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work. I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone who would understand why I was sad and crying and I needed to know that I could cry and still be loved I guess. That I wasn’t weak or broken.

I told him that all of my coworkers constantly tell me that I’m doing well. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I told him that I appreciated their words and that they really do mean a lot to me, but that I still felt like a failure because I wanted to hear mom tell me those things. I wanted to know mom believed in me and supported me. I told him that I started trash talking myself in my head, saying that I would never get this and that I should quit, but that I stopped myself because I can’t do that to myself anymore. Mom isn’t here to counter the Evil Voice. I usually don’t let it get very far anyway, but I CAN’T let it erode my confidence away. Mom’s not here to clean up my scrapped knees anymore.

I remembered something on the way home after the conversation with my brother. It was a situation from a while ago. I had been packing up my stuff at the apartment I shared with Zane. At the moment I was working on taking down the cards my mom had sent me. I always kept them taped up around my corkboard so I was taking the tape off of them and putting them away in a box. These were my last words from my mom. I couldn’t get rid of them.

I wasn’t really reading them, but I was looking at them. There was one, a gray and white picture of a baby duck on a board looking down into a large bowl of water.

I picked up the card and pulled the tape off of it, just like I had all the others. When I set it down the card fell open and on the inside was the phrase, “I believe in you”.

I remember I bawled my eyes out as I sat on the floor. And I cried again in my car as I remembered that event because that day all I had wanted was to feel like my mom believed in me and that I was doing the right thing. She’s always believed in me. I have to remember that even though I can’t hear those words the same way anymore.

I know my mom is proud. I used to pass out at the sight of paper cuts and here I am doing dialysis. Go me. Fuck yeah, I’m a badass, and even though I know that about myself I still wish she were still physically here to see it and to say those things to me. And I guess that’s why everything hurts so much right now.

So many things have been happening and I still long for that physical connection. Her hug, her voice, her existence.

I’ve been doing well. This past month will be known as “The Dark Age of 2017” since I’ve survived the plague that’s tried to kill me eight million different ways.

Today is 14 months. One year and two months since her death.

Today has been a decent day. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again with my younger brother. We spend most of the day running my character through dungeons. I cooked all of my food for the coming week. I even cleaned the apartment.

Internally I’m still heavy though. There wasn’t really happiness today. There hasn’t been for a while. There’s something more real and less fleeting than happiness instead. I don’t think it’s contentment or acceptance. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very flat, calm. It wasn’t a hard or heavy day and in my tired state of mind, I’m glad for that.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the gym before work. I work until 3 pm. Afterward, I have training at the dojo. Then I go home, shower, eat, and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll play on the computer for a little bit depending on how tired I am.

I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much, but despite that, I’ve done a lot and I’ve been hanging in there. I may not be ok. I may not be doing ok. But I’m surviving, and I still want to survive. I want that to count towards something. Like a solid baseline maybe. It’s not positive or negative. Getting through everything I have been contending with goes into strengthing my foundation.

None of this has been as hard as the weeks leading up to or after mom’s death, but a lot of this shit HAS been hard and I still got it all taken care of.

That counts.

Daily Post 016: A Very Real Morning

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I want to write before I go to sleep.

Monday was good. Surprisingly good.

I had my first phlebotomy class. I love my instructor. She’s amazing.

We started going over information. There’s going to be a lot of it. A lot of abbreviations I’m going to have to memorize like SST, CMP, BMP, ANA, and at least two pages worth of others. All of them are different types of tests and I have to know not only what the abbreviation stands for, but what color tube is used, what’s the additive in the tube, what department usually wants that tube, and how many times I need to invert (shake) the tube before sending it off, along with knowing the steps to the procedure, what equipment is required for the procedure, what veins I’m allowed to use, what to do if those veins are off limits due to surgeries, what the standard needles are, their color association, and what I’m allowed to do if those needles aren’t viable options…

Yeah… that puddle of goo feeling inside of my skull isn’t going to go away anytime soon, but I love it. I think I’m going to really enjoy this class.

I got to watch the “older” students practice on each other. It was nifty.

After class, I came home and got ready for my interview. Sunday evening I actually drove out to the human resource center and figured out where I was supposed to park my car and what building I would be going to. It made the trip out there Monday less scary. I at least knew where I was going.

The HR secretary was super nice. We chatted for a bit while I waited to be called back. The HR lady who interviewed me was nice, though a bit distant. I think she warmed up to me a bit more towards the end. I’m sure she sees tons of people. Hopefully, I made a good impression.

At the end, she said that she would call over to the Transportation Department and see if anyone was available over there to interview me. She had me wait in the lobby again while she did that.

The subject of my purple hair came up. It would be against dress code policy since only normal hair colors are allowed. I explained my purpose for having purple hair and how it’s important to me. I said I would understand if I had to dye my hair back to a normal color, but that it would hurt on a spiritual level to have to do that. I asked if a compromise could be made, such as wearing a head covering.

She said she would look into it for me.

When she came back down to the lobby she said I would be able to continue my interview with the department supervisor. We walked over to the department and along the way she explained different things about the hospital, the cafeteria and such. It was pretty cool.

The hospital is huge, by the way. The Orlando campus, the one I would be at, is the “flagship” for Florida Hospital. It’s essentially three in one.

Anywho, the interview with the department supervisor went well I think. I feel like she was more personable than the HR lady. When I asked her how long she had been with the hospital she said four years. She started as a transporter, became a dispatcher, and is now a supervisor. In four years. That’s pretty awesome. She seemed young, too. I think younger than me.

I was honest about not knowing what I really wanted to do as far as the future goes, but that I was hoping to gain exposure through this position, that it worked amazingly well with my class schedule, and that I was hoping to stay for six months up to a year.

I asked if the department had a high turnover rate, which it does, pretty much for the same reason I’m hoping to get in. Med students use patient transporting as an entry level position to “get in” and as they progress in their studies they move to more relevant areas for their goals.

I mentioned how much I liked my EKG class and how telemetry interested me. Now that I’m doing phlebotomy I may entertain that idea more seriously as well.

I got to see the system for how they handle transport requests. It was fascinating and I think she liked that I was genuinely interested in it. She also liked my resume layout so I got to talk about how while I was working at Full Sail I was in the Faculty Scholarship Program for Digital Arts and Design. I got to talk about how I’ve made custom D&D sheets and other forms. I got to talk about a lot of the projects I did at Full Sail including Project Breakroom and my 3D Blitz event.

At the end of the interview, she said I would know within the week if I got the job offer or not. Since I didn’t hear anything back today I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the mindset of, “I don’t have a job” rather than getting my hopes up. I would rather be pleasantly surprised versus soul-crushingly disappointed.

I was pretty brain dead after almost two hours worth of interviewing. I hadn’t expected it to be so much.

I’m glad I did it, though. If I got one interview I can get another.

I didn’t get a chance to study at all yesterday. By the time the interview was done I didn’t have it in me to push my brain further. I didn’t do any of the cooking I had wanted to do, and I didn’t go to the dojo.

Instead, I went to Big Bad’s. We talked and cuddled. I guess his arms are still sore from our wrestling on Saturday.

This morning was a bit different.

We were having our cup of coffee together. Somehow we got onto the subject of my EKG class and the board test. I told him how I feel when I look at EKG strips now. I said I can look at one and tell that the person is having a heart attack. I can look at it and say, “This person is dying,” or, “This person is most likely having chest pain and a hard time breathing,” or, “this heart is very weak so they most likely feel tired.”

I can look at what seems like a scribble on a piece of paper and in a way, know the person. That squiggle line is someone’s life. That knowledge, understanding and seeing what that squiggle line means, does something to my heart chakra. It aches when I can see that there’s a problem. This person is sick. This person, who most likely has a family and loved ones and hopes and dreams, in this moment, in this squiggle line, their heart is dying.

I told him that it did something to know the behind the scenes story of what was going on when the code STEMI was called on mom the night before she died. I said that I finally understood what STEMI meant. ST Elevated Myocardial Infraction. It’s a precursor to a heart attack. I know what an elevated ST segment looks like now. I know what it means. I know that there was a person in a room watching my mom’s heart monitor who saw that change and called the code to make sure mom didn’t die.

I understand what the EKG tech who came to her room was doing now. I understand why the cardio doctor was called to come look at the reading.

I ended up talking a lot about the night before mom died. I explained how I was alone at the hospital when the code was called and how the only thing I could think of was how the rapid response team was going to take mom back to ICU and that we were going to go back to wondering if she was going to die or not. I explained how later, after all of the chaos of the code call had settled down how the nurse had come in to check on mom. I explained how when we had pulled the sheet back how mom and been covered in blood because of the scab breaking on her incision and the heparin not allowing a clot to form properly.

I told him how I had felt, knowing I had been sitting there holding her hand and thinking that she could have bled out in front of me and I would have never known. I told him how when my brothers had gotten to the hospital how I didn’t tell them about the blood. I told them that mom had a rough night, that a code had been called but the doctor said she was fine. I told them she would most likely be tired and sleep most of the day since she hadn’t been able to sleep much during the night.

I told him how when I had hugged her goodbye I knew that would be the last hug. I knew. There was that feeling of, “This is final.” I told him how I had wanted so badly to turn around before I left the room, how I had wanted to go back for one more hug, but that I didn’t, I couldn’t, because if I had it would have been showing my brothers that it was over. It would have been admitting defeat and I couldn’t do that to them, to us.

I think mom knew, too. I think she had that feeling, too. We both always had “feelings”.

Tears were running down my cheeks by the time I stopped talking. They had been almost from the start. It was silent for a little bit. I finally said that I didn’t know what else to say.

Big Bad stood up and wrapped his arms around me and held me while I cried. Not just silent tears, or ignored tears while I kept talking. I held onto to him, my head against his shoulder and actually cried.

I could tell he was crying, too. I could hear it as he fought not to.

We stayed like that for a while.

I hadn’t meant to go back to that memory. I don’t know why or really how our morning evolved to me sharing that moment. I’ve written about it. I’ve “talked” about it, but the only time I’ve ever really “gone back”, fully gone back to it, was when I talked about it in therapy and that was months ago. Almost a year ago.

When we finally parted Big Bad said he was sorry I had to relive that moment. I said something along the lines of that I wasn’t. The more I go back the less power it has over me. The more I can accept that moment as reality. Those emotions, those events happened. They have a lot to do with who I am as a person.

They’re part of a very painful chapter for me, but they’re an important chapter to me. Maybe THE most important chapter for me at the moment. I cherish it. I hold it close to my chest because it’s one of the last things I have of my mom.

I said it was like my rape. The more I confront that situation, the less fear I have over it. The less weak I feel. The less overwhelming the emotions are because they’re not bottled up or festering. The more I go back the more I understand those situations are in my past and not in my present.

I said one of the things I had asked myself during my year of mourning was would I go back and love my mom less if it meant I would hurt less now? I got to explain how my answer was no. My pain lets me know that what I had with my mom, the love we had for each other, was real and significant. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Not a single birthday, not one trip to the grocery store where I teasingly walked on the back of her heels just to be annoying.

I accept my pain even though sometimes I still don’t understand how to breathe around it, function with. In a way, I love my pain because it’s there because of the love I have for my mom.

It was a very real start to the day. Not that any of the other mornings we’ve had were fake…

I don’t know how to explain it or if it’s even possible to really put into words.

I laid a very deep part of myself bare this morning and in the end, I was still given a hug and a kiss goodbye as if I were the same person I had been before my story and that meant a lot to me. I wasn’t suddenly different or broken or something to be kept at arm’s length. I showed this very real, very raw scar that will never go away, never heal, and I was given a hug and tears of compassion.

Co-suffering.

He held me while I cried and it didn’t damage us. At first, I was going to say “it didn’t change us” but I think it has changed us in one of those deep, subconscious sort of ways.

How many people in my life do I co-cry with? How many does he co-cry with?

I know for me, it’s not many. I can most likely count them on one hand. I’m sure for him it’s even fewer.

It means a lot that Big Bad is one of them for me. I hope this means that when things become overwhelming for him he knows that I’ll be there for him just as much as he’s been here for me.

The rest of the day has gone well. I’ve been low energy, but I think that has to do with waking up at 3 am along with the emotional release of telling my story.

Class was fun. I got to do all five of my capillary sticks today. I didn’t pass out from working with blood. In fact, it was fascinating. Tomorrow we start doing venipunctures on the mannequin arm.

The instructor said she specifically wants me to practice in the morning and then if I feel up to it, try doing a live stick in the afternoon. I can tell she’s pushing me more than the other “new” students. She knows I did well on the EKG test and she said she’s happy I’m in her class. She knows the bullet point story about mom; how she was in the hospital and died and how that is my motivating factor for entering the medical field.

My instructor was a Registered Nurse for 28 years. I feel like she sees something in me and wants to help it flourish. She offered to write a letter of recommendation if I needed it for my interview. My previous professor for my CNA class saw me during lunch today and offered to let me stick him if I needed a vein to meet my quota. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t just randomly offer his viens to every student. It makes me feel trusted and mildly intimidated since I haven’t done anything aside from capillary sticks and that’s only five of them, and all of those happened not even 24 hours ago…

I feel undeserving of that level of trust, but a part of me knows he wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t think I could do it.

I’m grateful for the support this school has given me.

I was a “victim” for one of the older students during the afternoon. That didn’t go so well. My median cubital veins are pretty deep so I’m an easier stick on the side of my arm in the cephalic vein. The girl tried on my right arm but wasn’t able to get it. When she tried on my left arm it super seriously hurt.

Not like, “ow, that’s a needle” type of hurt.

I mean, “holy shit, ow, that’s not normal pain, get that fucking metal spike of death out of my arm” type of pain.

It sucked. My arm still hurts. I can feel it down into my elbow. I’m not sure what happened since I know she didn’t stab straight down into my joint the way it feels, but fuck did it not feel good.

I almost passed out from it, but I didn’t. Go me. Totally going to keep being proud of myself every time I see blood or take a needle and stay conscious.

Because of the icky woozy feeling though the rest of my day has been sort of on the blah side.

I went to my sports bar and started making new flash cards. I ate, which was nice. That helped a bit with the icky feeling.

I came home and thought about the rest of my day and what I wanted to do with it. I thought about going to the dojo with how I felt. I decided I would take a nap. If I woke up with time to go then I would, otherwise I wouldn’t. I’ve done a lot in the past 5 days. I feel like I deserve to take it easy and to be kind to myself.

So when I woke up at 7 I decided that today would be another “off” day. That’s two days in a row of no dojo. I hope tomorrow I’m more rested, in every sense of the word, so I’m able to go.

I did finally do some of the cooking. I prepped the hearts for the recipe I want to try. That was pretty cool. I made my spinach and chicken couscous. I think next time I buy couscous I’m going to try to get pearl couscous since that’s the kind I’m used to.

I cleaned the kitchen then ate dinner. I brushed Scarlet and got a second cat off of her, and now I’m here writing.

I’m glad I wrote. It’s later than I had originally wanted, but I feel better for having written and processed through all of those events. I’m glad none of it is going to be lost or forgotten.

I’m glad I had the morning I did. I’m grateful for the support and love I have in my life.

Letters to Mom 013: Jiu Jitsu White Belt – First Stripe

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I received my first stripe in Jiu Jitsu tonight at my dojo.

This is the post I wrote on Facebook . 


This is me being an INFJ and writing an emotional post and giving absolutely zero fucks about writing it.

This is for you, mom.

This is my grief in its entirety.

This is my rage, my pain, and my weakness. This is my anguish, my fear, and my abandonment. This is my strength, my honor, and my pride. This is my humility, my gratitude, and my forgiveness.

And in the end, after everything else is spent and has had its time, pouring from my fingertips into the keyboard in front of me, this will be my acceptance and peace.

This is for the past year, mom. This is for everything that has happened since March 23rd, 2016.

This is for the first phone call with Jason where I heard him say the doctors didn’t think you would make it. This is for the four hours of sitting on the plane silently begging the Universe to let you still be there when I landed. This is for holding your hand for two weeks and being your “water fairy”. This is for every night I had the best worst sleep in my life while I stayed at the hospital with you.

This is for the last time I held your hand as I called the funeral home and told them I didn’t know what to do.

This is for flying back to South Carolina with your urn in my backpack. This is for the TSA guy who handed it back to me with his solum, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

This is for dad because he didn’t have to come to your service. He didn’t have to be there for me and Jon, but he was.

This is for dealing with Zane’s betrayal.

This is for telling Full Sail to go fuck itself and resigning.

This is to society’s oppressive mentality of thinking I wasn’t good enough whenever I said I was unemployed.

This is for the past year of learning how to live without you, mom.

This is for every phone conversation I haven’t been able to have with you. For every hug I wish I could give you. For every night I cried myself to sleep. For every morning I didn’t understand how to get out of bed.

This. This night. This single stripe of tape wrapped around a sweat soaked piece of cloth. This is for you.

This is my proof to you that I’ve survived. This is my way to show that I have honored the promise I made to you while I held your cold hand that final time and told you I would be strong. That I would keep going even though I didn’t know how.

This is for every time I screamed in my car. This is for every time I questioned why or how or what’s the point. This is for every time I wanted to give up and didn’t.

It seems so silly to the logical side of my brain. It’s just a piece of tape. But it’s so much more than that, mom.

I know you’re proud of me. I know you would be overjoyed that I achieved this. I know there are two sides to everything. It’s so minor and yet it’s so major. Simple and yet complex. It’s seemingly nothing, and yet, at the same time, it’s everything.

It’s the blood, sweat, and tears. It’s the fractured rib I fought to breathe around. It’s the bruises and the mat burn. It’s me drop kicking that voice of Self Doubt that I still struggle with sometimes in the face.

This is for every person who has supported me, both knowing and unknowing, through the hardest year of my life.

This is for my pseudo-family at the dojo. This is for every single person on my Facebook. For every person on my blog.

This single white piece of tape is my symbol of survival through all of it. Through everything mentioned and unmentioned.

This is my way of telling Life it can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to go down without a fight.

I WILL keep going. This IS NOT my end.

This, all of this, is for you mom.

I’m me because you lived. I’m me because you died. I’m your daughter, now and forever, and I will ALWAYS do my best to bring you honor.

You were the best person in my life. My best friend, my confidant, my mentor, my supporter. You were my mother and your death taught me just how much that word meant to me. You ARE my mother and not even death can change that.

Your final words to me, “I’ll love you forever and for always.”

I love you too, mom. I will love you forever and for always, too.

This is for you. This is for everything you ever did for me, and for everything you continue to do.

Thank you for raising me. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself. Thank you for being you. But above all of that, beneath every action and goal and dream, at the foundation of who I am, thank you for being my mother.

This is for you, mom. This is for us.

Photo Mar 08, 9 51 25 PM