Awareness is a gift. But it isn’t free and it often comes at a price. For me the price was paid with heartache and sorrow. The road to awarness usually begins with a jolt from some seismic event that sends you into a free fall and lands you at the cross roads. The decision of which road to take is then yours.
When I was 18 and just completed my freshman year in college my family went to a resort in the Catskill Mountains to celebrate Labor Day weekend. This was a tradition that we followed in my family each year. That year, on Sunday morning, I received a phone call to come home because my mother was sick. I found it odd because less than 12 hours earlier she was at this resort partaking in the festivities.
When I got home, I walked in the house where my brother met in the foyer. Without warning or compassion, he blurted out the words “mom’s dead.” I immediately collapsed into his arms in a sobbing wail. I was devastated.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I left the house and went for a walk – wandering without aim or direction; trying to reconcile the news that I just heard. It was pouring rain – and the thunder and lightning cracked – and when it did, I
remember thinking that it was God’s fury at himself for making a terrible mistake. Why her? She was sweet, kind and innocent – everybody loved her and our family needed her. She was my best friend – and it didn’t require for her to die for me to realize that and to treasure her. From that moment forward, my life would never be the same again.
Overwhelmed with despair I spent an entire year crying on the kitchen floor of my college apartment in Philadelphia. I attended class each day and went through the motions of learning, but all I could really think about was running out of class so that I could explode into tears.
Each day the sun would shine through my bedroom and onto my bed, gently waking me up with a soft tap on the shoulder. I would revel in its warmth. I would always begin the day feeling good, but as I got up and began my morning routine I would start to feel sick. By time I got into the shower, I was drenched with sorrow – my lovely mother was dead. The pain was excruciating.
But somehow going through the motions each day, the morning routine became my mourning routine and eventually my heart began to heal. After months and months and months and months, living became a little bit easier and eventually, I stopped crying [every day].