Loss of a parent

The Current’s sports editor details her healing journey after family tragedy

I lost my mother when I was 23 years old. She passed away at the young age of 53. Nearly two years later, I still fight back the tears when people ask me, “What happened?”

On Jan. 9, 2011, my mom left her house at noon when she was heading to a memorial service for a friend who had recently passed away. By 3 p.m., my mom was admitted into the hospital. She was experiencing severe stomach pains and suffering from hot and cold flashes.

Later that night, my mom’s vitals crashed; her heart rate raised to 132 beats per minute and her blood pressure was 32 over 21. The doctors and nursing staff ran multiple tests on her, but couldn’t diagnose her with anything. They decided to put her on medication that would help lower her heart rate and stabilize her blood pressure so they could perform surgery on her.

On Jan. 10, 2011, before my mom went into surgery, I asked my family to leave the room so I could have a moment with her. In that moment, so many thoughts ran through my mind; why did I wait so long to tell her what a great mom she had been? Why didn’t I apologize for all the heartaches I ever caused her? In those few minutes, I just needed the one thing I didn’t have – time. Instead of all of those things, I said, “I love you, mom,” and proceeded to give her a hug. She responded with, “I love you too baby.”

Those were the last words I ever said to my Mom.

Dealing with my mom’s death has made me a better person. I decided to chase dreams I was too afraid to go after. I’ve become stronger and more independent. I’ve learned that I can survive without my mom; if you would have asked me two years ago if I could live a day without her, I would have said no.

I’m not regretful for my loss. Life on this planet constitutes life and destruction on its own terms, not ours. This was never meant to be a painful process. On the opposite side of loss is something else to be gained if you allow yourself to see it.

I will be the first one to tell you it’s hard. It will change you. It may make you stronger or it might not. But remember to allow yourself to have your own experiences, they are there for you to learn from and grow.

I’ve learned there’s no time limit on healing. I’m still finding new areas that haven’t completely healed yet. Take your healing as slow or as fast as you want, but don’t force yourself to move on. If you do, you will deal with the feelings later on in life. That’s a promise.

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