Today marks the second year anniversary of the day that my mother made the choice to end her life. Two years ago my life changed forever, and it honestly feels like it was both forever ago and just yesterday.
I’ve always heard the first year is the hardest. It’s not. You feel an unbearable silence inside yourself because you’re so empty and numb. This second year was so much worse. I have had outbursts of rage and sadness; I have spent nights crying so hard because losing my mom was so painful that it literally felt like my heart was trying to rip itself out of my body to escape all that I felt in that moment.
It wasn’t an easy two years. I finished my last semester of undergrad, had a few dead-end jobs; had financial struggles; had personal struggles; lost a lot of friends; had good days and bad days. I distinctly remember the Finn tribute episode of Glee and how I crumbled on the floor while watching it because it just hurt so bad.
And it changed me. I walked around feeling like my heart was in my stomach and my stomach was in my feet, but my head was off somewhere in the sky. I would be out and feel like I was a different species, because that’s how I was looked at. Everywhere I went, I felt like I was being judged, like everyone knew Oh, that’s the girl whose mom hung herself.
Finally I hit a breaking point. What happened to my family and me was awful, but it does not define us or me. We are not stereotypes and stigmas; we are survivors who went through an awful tragedy and are still standing on the other side, fighting to keep going and help others despite our own pain.
I know that on the 29th I won’t wake up and “everything will be better.” I’m not expecting it to be. There is no magical grief fairy that will come to me that night and take the pain, sadness, and anger that I feel away. I know that this is still early on in a life without my mother and in my own grief journey. Yes, my mother died in a terrible way that I know will always hurt me to some level. However, what I have learned is that this is part of my story, and I want to use my story to help others, to help people not end up like me or my mom. And honestly, I think my mom would be proud of me for doing this.