How I Felt When I Lost My Mother

How I Felt When I Lost My Mother

Losing a loved one is like hell in a hand-basket.
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Walking into the office on that January morning after my first period class, I thought that I was in trouble. I was told that I was needed in the office. I didn’t think about the accident that I had heard a few teachers gossiping about that morning before school. As I was heading for the principal’s office, I was told to go to the superintendent’s office. I started to wonder what I did. After rounding the corner and seeing the police, I thought “Oh sh*t, I don’t even know what I did. What did I do that is this bad?” Then I saw one of my sisters holding my mom’s silk pajamas with tear-stained cheeks, and my other sister was suddenly behind me. The words spilled from her mouth before I could even think about what might have happened.

“Mom’s gone!” The world stopped spinning. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even cry; but I forced myself because I knew that the tears would come later. I figured that if I cried enough, I would not have any left for the rest of the night. Wrong: I had the worst headache, and tears were still forcing their way into my eyes.

A weird thing that I imagine when someone passes away, is that they are in a white room, and they physically take a step backwards. Then it’s done. I never imagined my mom doing that (not even my grandma, who passed away years ago). It kind of sucked, but it made me realize that maybe they didn’t want me to see them like that. Maybe they wanted me to remember them walking forward, and moving toward the future, not away.

As we left the school and headed to the apartment, we went to our dad’s because he lived across the hall. We didn’t want to be somewhere we knew our mom wasn’t going to be. I know what you are thinking. Yes, I have a weird family. Who divorces, then lives right next to each other? Maybe it is because they wanted my sisters and I to stay close, but I secretly think they were trying to plot a way to take our souls (only kidding).

When people say they are sorry, or they understand, I just want to say that they've only read half of my book, but they can’t read the rest until they have gone through what I have. I do not wish for anyone to lose a parent, but when they do, they will know just how much it sucks not to be able to tell them about how your day went (or to have a shoulder to cry on). My mother was the person I always went to when I had learned about the death of someone I had known. Heck, she was the one I wanted to run to when she died. If anyone wants to talk about the loss of a parent, I’m here. I do know how it feels. I know that is sucks, and that you won’t want to talk about it (that’s how I am), but I’m here. I won’t even talk, unless you want me to.

Losing someone sucks, and hearing the same thing over and over again doesn’t help to calm you down and “forget.” Although, I wont forget my mother (and don’t want to), I know that I do not want to think about it 24/7, 365 days a year.

In the movie "St. Vincent," Bill Murray’s character talks about the death of his wife. Oliver (the young boy) tells Vincent that he is sorry for the loss. Vincent then replies with multiple examples of what he would like to hear because he doesn’t want to be told that they are sorry. One of the examples that stuck with me was that he wanted to be asked about what she was like. I just wish people would respond like that. Even though it’ll make me cry, I would be so happy to talk about how beautiful and loving she was. She always put everyone else first (even when she shouldn’t have). She was always there for everyone, even when she needed the shoulder to cry on.

To get another perspective on losing a parent, if you haven’t seen the Bindi Irwin memorial dance to her dad on "Dancing with the Stars," you should watch it. Not only is it beautiful, but it really describes how I feel. In the video, she mentions that she still expects her father to “come home.” I have that same feeling with my mother. I always expect her to just be sitting in the apartment that we used to live in, and that’s where I will be going back to when I go home from University. Although it hasn’t even been a year yet, just like Bindi, I feel like it will take a long time to understand that she is actually gone, but I know that she is, and she’s not going to come back. Although that is the truth, I know that she is somehow with me. Her body is gone, but the memories live on.

This doesn’t even begin to cover everything I am feeling. I think an infinite number of pages in a book wouldn't even begin to tell you just how I feel. I just wanted to share how it felt to me, and to speak the things on other people’s minds. Just remember, even though it doesn’t get better, it still does at the same time. Recently my mother’s headstone was put up, and it is beautiful. It gave me the sense of peace that she is now resting better. Now people don’t have to look at that plastic one and say “well, they’re new.” They will have to search for the dates instead.

On a side note, wear your seat belt at all times. If it feels uncomfortable, just deal with it. It has a better chance of saving your life than not wearing one at all. My mother lost control and was ejected from the vehicle. Be safe, and wear a seatbelt.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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