death

Go Ahead, Just Live

January 30th is not my favorite day.

It’s a bit odd to think that it’s been 3 years since my mom died. A lot of things have happened in the last three years; I became a published author, got back onstage, found myself in a serious relationship, started working from home, and moving forward with my life…finally. Granted, the thought of moving forward without my mom was terrifying because it reminded me that she was gone. If and when I get married and have kids, my mom won’t be there to celebrate with me. I often find myself somewhat haunted by her memory with moments. I can see a movie and think, “Oh, Mom would have loved that.” Or I see something in Target and think about how I would have bought it and sent to my mom as a surprise.

I stopped living. But this wasn’t the first time I stopped myself from living life.

No one really talks about the regrets. I had a rocky relationship with my mom that only improved in the last few years of her life. Things happened that would’ve completely destroyed our relationship. Things happened that should have determined that we weren’t a family anymore. But, there’s that thing called forgiveness. I don’t know how to describe it. Even though both I and my mom did things that weren’t part of the “picture perfect” narrative of a mother and daughter, at the end of the day…she still loved me with all of her heart. Her former tax clients and coworkers still come up to me to tell me how proud of me she was and how much she loved me.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you can still make some terrible mistakes while loving someone. Of course there are lines, and there are times where lines are crossed and separation is healthier. But my mom never ceased to love me and do whatever she could to prove that to me. Looking back, now that she’s gone, I wish I would have forgiven her sooner. In the moment, not talking to her or being mean to her seemed like the right decision. At the time, trying to separate myself from her seemed like a good idea. But all it did was prolong the pain and put off the resolution that would eventually happened. It caused me to lose time with my mom, and I truly regret that. I regret listening to those who encouraged me to continue that division, not looking at the bigger picture and only looking within myself. Because I neglected to look at long-term, I’m left living with the “what ifs.” There are a good amount I’ve finally let go of, but there’s still work to be done.

For too long, I have held myself back from living my truth. I literally put myself on hold because I wasn’t skinny enough. I thought that because I was fat, I wasn’t allowed to enjoy things in life-like go to the beach. I also saw myself unworthy of love, and I literally held myself back in relationships because I thought my weight deemed me unworthy. I got this from my mom. She held herself back for decades after I was born. She didn’t date, she didn’t allow herself to enjoy the body she was in because of some awful words my biological father said to her years before. I found myself following in my mother’s footsteps because she projected her issues of self-image onto me. I need to break that cycle. It’s not my mom’s fault, it was the society she was born and raised in.

You know what I also wish? That we didn’t have such low self-esteems of ourselves that we barely took a picture together in the last years of her life. So, next time you’re taking family photos and you’re worried that you look fat, tired, stressed, etc. Just take the picture. If anything, take the picture to remember that moment in your life. None of use look as bad as we think we do. How many times have we seen pictures of ourselves from 10-15 years prior and thought, “I looked pretty good.” I never got to enjoy who I was back then. I’m sure as hell going to enjoy myself now, even if I am overweight, boring, etc. I owe not only myself that, but also my future self.

Grief is truly a funny thing. It comes in waves. You’re fine one minute, but then something as simple as a flower will send you over the edge. You don’t ever get over losing someone you love. You just learn to live without them. Yet, no one talks about the regrets you have. You can’t go back in time and reverse your decisions. For the sake of not going through the same thing I am, call that family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Take that picture with your kids. Say, “I’m sorry.” Go to the beach and let your bat wings fly.

Go ahead, just live.

Death: A Faithful Companion

You would think that after surviving a car accident over 10 years ago, I would be well aware that one could die at any moment. But instead, I think that accident made me feel immortal in a way. What were the odds I would survive that accident? I should have died. But I got by with several broken bones, a surgery, and months of physical therapy. Yes, I had a weird experience on that night, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I hadn’t thought about my own death that much. Even when I’m looking for ghosts, that’s someone else’s death…not mine.

For some reason, in 2013, as if that year wasn’t messed up enough already, it hit me.

I’m going to die someday.

With this newfound fear, and yes it is a fear, it has changed the way that I approach paranormal investigating. First, I really REALLY want that confirmation that there is life after death. Second, when I pass I want someone to talk to me like I’m a person and not a blip on a gadget. Third, I can feel death looming around me when I’m investigating or in some location where a lot of death has taken place.

I’m not saying that death is a conscious being that is following me around. But there has been a consistent vibe that I’ll feel when I’m in a location that has seen a lot of death. The vibe has been the same from the time I walked into my mom’s trailer after she died to visiting a location like Old South Pittsburg Hospital where people passed. I even get that feeling when I’m a Duke sometimes, knowing that there are people dying every minute and there are bodies in the morgue.

I visualize death as a personification of the life I’ve lived. As I survive each day, a page is added to my book of life. I see death as this faithful companion who is with me and on my mind each day; reminding me that it’s waiting for me.

Of course, I was also raised Christian and taught to believe that we will indeed survive and go to heaven once our time here is over. I want to believe it…I truly do. But between my interactions with some not-so-perfect Christians and seeing how unfair life can be (example: kids dying from cancer), I question my faith all the time. If there is a heaven, awesome. If not, what is waiting for us? In this case, death is the door…the door that remains unlocked and is waiting for us to open.

I just hope it’s not nothingness and ceasing to exist. But, I feel like it is likely identical to falling asleep. You don’t know you’re asleep, and you’re not aware of yourself. You don’t remember when you fell asleep, just like we will likely not be aware when death finally does come to collect the debt.

This is What Happens When I’m Tired

I guess it’s time to admit that I’m tired.  I almost lost someone I love this weekend and I’m still trying to process and deal.  I haven’t gotten much sleep this weekend so it’s leaving me a lot of time to sit with my thoughts.

I’m tired not only physically but emotionally.  I suppose this was a bad time to decide to keep my personal life private because there is a lot going on.  A part of me feels that  if people knew what’s been going on in my life, they will understand why I’m being the way I am right now.  But I hate making excuses for myself.  I hate having to compromise my own work ethic.  Life gets in the way sometimes, or more importantly life needs to be a priority.  I hate the fact that I’ve let several of my friends down these last few years.  When it comes to friendships, I’m a huge flake; I’ve been missing many birthday parties, weddings, showers, etc.  I feel so guilty about it.  And I only have myself to blame.  I put so much on my plate that by the end of the day, I’m exhausted.  I fall asleep and slumber through my alarm.

I don’t really know where my head is at right now.  I was in a mode of transition but now it looks like the dust is settling.  The dust gets kicked up from time to time but I think where I’m at right now is going to be home for a while. I’m thrilled about where I am right now.  It’s just getting used to this life.  Last year was fairly lazy.  Working and roller derby dictated my life.  But now other elements have entered my life and I’m so happy and grateful for it.

But in this new place in life has meant that some people are starting to treat me differently than they used to.  They liked me before and were comfortable talking to me about anything and everything, but now they’re closed off.  Or, the more ironic one, they disliked me and now all of a sudden they want to be best friends.  People are funny.  It’s probably why I enjoy people watching.  And at this moment, I realize how much I miss my Grandma (don’t start crying in Starbucks, Alex).  My Grandma loved people watching.  She’s been gone for almost 12 years.

I’ve dealt with a lot of loss and disaster in my life.  Probably more than a person should.  I’ve lost many friends and loved ones over the course of my life to death.  Treasure the time you have with your loved ones because you never know when something might happen to them or…worse…they’re gone for good.