When Life Hits You Hard
What I envisioned...
Even as a child, I always had this vision of how my personal life would be; fall in love, get married, have children. In those visions, even if the person standing next to me would change, one thing that would never change is that my parents would always be there guiding me through all these new challenges. Unfortunately, sometimes what you hope and wish for, doesn't always come true.
My first major loss was in April of 2012. I was 25 years old, my Mom was only in the hospital for a week due to double pneumonia and we were told one night that they were expecting a full recovery. However, the very next day, I received a phone call at work from my Aunt telling me to get the hospital immediately because they had to incubate my Mom.
The whole ride there, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong, that my life would changing forever. I couldn't explain, I couldn't put it into words, I just knew something wasn't right.
When me and my Sister-In-Law got to the hospital, we were escorted to a small room where I stared at the faces of my family and some extended family. I remember my dad on a chair with his head in his hands and my brother sitting beside him on the floor with a sadness on his face that I had never seen before. I Immediately ran to my Dad and held him and then I heard him say the worst thing I have ever heard him say "She's gone." I let him go, fell to the floor and screamed. The floor below me was spinning and nothing made sense. How could this be? Did the Doctor lie when he told me she was getting better? What happened? All these questions and I never received any answers.
The funeral was the hardest day of my life. How am I supposed to say goodbye to my 48 year old mother who I expected to have a lot more time with. She was supposed to be there when I found out I was pregnant, she was supposed to be there when I delivered them, we were supposed to watch each other grow old. Yet, here I am at 25 years old, seeing my Mom in a coffin and crying along with everyone around me. When it came time for eulogies, I really didn't know if I was going to say anything because I didn't think I could put into words how I felt at that precise moment, and even if I could, I doubt anyone would be able to understand me through me sobbing. My Uncle spoke first, very short and sweet because even he was having a rough time, this was his baby sister, and then the Minister asked if anyone else wanted to speak and nobody went up, and I just felt the need to say something, to say this was my Mom, my protector, my shield from anything bad or evil. I spoke and words just poured out, my heart knew what to say all along. Next, my little brother spoke a couple of words, I think to just show the same sentiments that I wanted to.
The new reality
For the next 3 years, it was like a roller coaster. I was having all these amazing things happening to me, like being pregnant after trying for a year and actually having my baby boy, but the whole time I kept thinking that all these things could be so much better if my Mom was there. Everyone was always telling me, especially when I was feeling really down, that time will heal, but the truth is, it doesn't, you just learn how to cope, you learn how to live with the feeling that a part of your heart is missing. That's what I did, not just for me, but most importantly for my family.
My second major loss came in June of 2015. My husband, my 21 month old son, and myself were sleeping at my in-law's house because we were at a party at a friend's house the night before and we lived about 35 minutes away but they lived close so we decided to stay there instead of going home. At about 6 in the morning, my phone started vibrating and I saw that it was my cousin calling but I ignored it because I thought if she needed something, I wasn't even close enough to help anyways so I would call her back later. About 10 minutes later, I received another phone call but it was marked as 'unknown' and I immediately answered because I thought something wasn't right. I answered and a man was talking and said he was a police officer and asked I could come to the home of my grandmother (who lived with my Dad) and he would explain everything then, but I wasn't anywhere close and I needed to know what was happening now. He asked to talk to my husband because he wanted me to stay calm especially being so early in my second pregnancy (I was almost 7 weeks).
When I told my husband to wake up because the police were on the phone, he jumped out of bed and brought the phone to the bathroom to continue the conversation. All I remember him saying over and over again was "Oh my God" and the look of horror that he had on his face is one that I will never forget. I looked at him, knowing something was wrong, I just started asking about family members. I asked if it was my Grandmother, he said no, I asked if it was about my Aunt because she had gotten badly attacked by her dog about 3 weeks before, he said no, then I asked if it was about my dad and he shook his head yes, and then I asked if we needed to go to the hospital, but he shook his head no.
I knew in that exact moment that my Dad was gone. I dropped to the floor, just like I did for my Mom, and screamed and cried hysterically. My in-laws come running down the stairs asking what was going on and what happened, and my husband told them that was the police and my Dad was in a car accident and died. My father-in-law walked away cursing and my mother-in-law pulled me up from the floor and held me while my husband went to our son who was now crying.
I somehow pulled myself together to get dressed to go my Dad's house because I had to see my brother, I had to hold him and cry with him. He was the only one who knew exactly what I was going through, but I hated him having all this pain and I just needed to be there for him even if my own heart felt completely broken. My in-laws kept our son there while we rushed to my Dad's. In the car, I had to call my best-friend, who use to live as a roommate with my Dad after my Mom passed away, and I had to tell her what happened. Everyone was at my Dad's when I got there, and we were all just shocked and we all cried together.
At the funeral, I had to see all these faces again that I felt like I had just seen at the last funeral, but here they are again, saying the same thing to us about the course of life and how time will heal, but all I could think was that I couldn't wait for this day to be over. This time, I knew I was going to give a eulogy but I still didn't prepare it, I was just going to let it flow. There wasn't a dry eye left when I was done. He was one of my best friends and I wanted everyone to know that, i wanted everyone to know that I thought my parents were together somewhere again, and that alone was going to give me some peace. During the speech, it was also like I was saying goodbye to my unborn child because the day my father passed away, was the same day I started having a miscarriage. I just wanted them to know how much they were loved and they'd always have a place in my heart.
Fight or Flight?
I still get told, even almost 2 years later, that I'm this incredibly strong person and they don't know how I got through it. The truth is, I didn't have a choice. I had to be strong for my son, for my husband, for my unborn child because we were pregnant again soon after, for my brother, but also for myself. You don't know how strong you can truly be until you get that fight or flight moment, I choose to fight. I continue to fight everyday, I continue to hold my head high and make sure I'm the woman my parents raised me to be because I wouldn't want them to see anything less.