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My first teacher, my first love took her last breath and I watched her take it. I lost my will to continue to live.

I didn’t know, I would or could ever be happy again. I writhed in emotional agony for years after she passed. I went through the motions for years, yet I wouldn’t call it living.

It is not what she would have wanted for her baby girl. I had a thought 20 years ago, what this day, today, might feel like. I fantasized about the relief I would feel. The joy of her memory.

The comfort that SHE was my mother, the beauty I experienced with her. I do confess, I feel relief. It is a gift I gave to myself as many cultures doNOT prepare its citizens for death.

Many think it is healthy to mourn the dead forever more, to prove their love and devotion; and that ‘they’ loved that person the most. As if one could measure that. So I took the gift, to be able to take a full breath without constriction, guilt or a heavy heart. I took longer than I needed to get here, but alas there are no mistakes.

For the first 2 years after her death, I pushed down any true grief with work. I remained in the home she died in, I moved into my parents’ bedroom after my father relocated (back) to Montgomery.

I had a mother-sister-friend whom I reached out to for comfort. After about a year or so, she said the most loving (hard to hear) thing to me, “I love you, but I can’t do this. You need to talk with someone who can help you. You are stuck in a loop.” I was. It was Pandora’s box that I allowed myself to open when I spoke to her to re-inflict pain to myself. It took me some trial and error, but I found a jewel of a therapist. From this vantage point, I feel like she was more of a life coach than a traditional therapist.

She exposed me to meditation, visualization and most of all to practice telling the truth. I seriously contemplated suicide while seeing her. I was deeply sad. Then one day the gray sky cracked and I saw a peek of sunshine. I am so grateful to DaRa, she holds delicious sacred space for her clients and I got to call myself hers.

It was necessary to take this tough walk. With myself, on my own two feet. I was completely in love with my mother and totally dependent. Through that experience, I was able to unpack all that she had taught me to be AND who NOT to be. I saw/see my mother as a real woman, not a frozen in time martyr.

Which is why I am able to move through on this planet with ‘out’ her. I learned womanhood during this time. I learned how to be a friend to myself and to others…I learned how to be lovable (again). All because she died. I wonder if I would be this strong if she were still here. Maybe so. Maybe no. She was my sounding board. {She still IS, it just looks different.} If she said blue, I picked green.

I just wanted to see what would happen, what would she say. She always allowed me. A few years before she died, I moved out to live with a boyfriend, she turned her back to me and didn’t kiss me goodbye, but she allowed me. When I said I needed to come back home months later, she allowed me.

She loved|s me very well. She trusted me, even when she was afraid. It is my wish that if you are still reading these words and have lost someone dear to you: When you find yourself laughing and then remember ‘them’, don’t feel guilty. Enjoy the laughter you need it and deserve every happiness.

If you need to speak with someone, trust your gut. I am available, check my schedule. Be fearless about your well-being, if they don’t feel like they are fit, they prolly not.

My professional advice is not to dwell on the past for too long, lest you won’t be present. Decide now that you can be happy, even if it doesn’t feel good at this moment. The saying goes, ‘nothing lasts forever’ and the pain doesn’t have to either but you must consciously decide. Namaste.

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