I deeply envy those who still have their mother’s wisdom to consult, their mother’s hand to hold and her number to call. There is no consolation for the devastating void I have felt every single day of my life for the past 1,430 days. There is nothing and no one that will ever fill it – it is simply something one must learn to live with and that will never be okay.
I have recently begun reiterating that last line to myself after listening to a plethora of interviews with one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed. She said that in reference to the loss of her own mother and it has since stuck with me because I think in the days following the overwhelming loss of a loved one we’re constantly looking for ways to “make it okay” or waiting for it to at least “feel okay” when the reality is that it will never be okay and that is okay.
Not only do I envy, I feel angered at times – mostly when I witness young people taking their parents for granted or speaking as if they have all of the time in the world – this immature sense of invincibility. I recognize it because I used to be this way. We all think we’re going to live the “typical,” “normal” life where our parents will die when we’re in our fifties, at least. Unfortunately, one cannot teach experience or cast the agonizing pain he/she feels upon naïve beings, if only for a brief moment.
Yesterday evening, I had an interesting conversation with my eighty-five-year-old grandmother, my mama’s mother, about death. I asked her if death became easier to accept the more loss she experienced throughout her years. She replied that she believes that it does. We both agreed that if we are to look upon life with such endearment then we must learn to do the same with death because without life, there would be no such thing.
We agreed experience forces one’s perspective to change and influences one’s thoughts. I told her how I think about death on a daily basis whereas when I was, say twenty-two, I did not think of death quite as often. It was a lovely, candid conversation to have with someone who has an extra five and a half decades on me, who has lost three children, her husband, several siblings, and her own parents.
Focusing on one’s immortality can positively impact self-awareness, promote consciousness and produce immense amounts of anxiety. Daily, I face the pros and cons of this reality I was catapulted into four years ago. With self-awareness comes the ability to check myself when feeling envy – I am able to be genuinely happy for those who can consult their mother’s wisdom, hold her hand and hear her voice at the click of a button on their phone. The anxiety can become overwhelming at times though I am working intensely hard to manage it through therapy, through writing and other outlets.
I feel as if I am a sponge, soaking up all the experience I can handle until being squeezed dry and sharing with the world all that I have learned, hopefully inspiring and consoling others. I am on a constant self-improvement and growth regimen and my words are only a minute, but intentionally momentous piece of this journey. And, this is okay.