I remember the first time seeing my therapist after my mom died. And I distinctly remember saying to him, “I should be more messed up than I am. Shouldn’t I be? I’m not messed up enough.” I wasn’t clinically depressed – I still got up each day and did normal expected things, like showering and eating and getting through the day. I returned to work and there weren’t any concerns with my performance. Nick and I found out we were going to be parents. Life was moving on…

But now that I am through it and can look back on those early years after her passing, I think to myself, “Holy fuck. I was messed up.” I was so broken that I didn’t even know I was. I was so consumed by it, I couldn’t even see it. I didn’t know how to be on my own without my mom. And I was searching to replace that role she was for me by something else. Anything. I kept searching, trying to find the source, and each time I thought I found it, I was disappointed when it didn’t give me what I thought it would.

My grief process had many steps to it, and I will always be grieving in some form, but it took many hard lessons for me to get to the point of being able to let my mother’s death go. And to not let her death define me anymore. And that’s when I truly understood what I needed to do. I needed to learn how to be on my own, without my mother. I needed to not search for something to fill the void of what she used to provide me with – I needed to find that within myself. And I have. In many different ways. I will always be learning how to do this and adapt to my ever-changing life, but the realization and acceptance is the hardest thing to do, and that I can check-off as complete.

I remember two close friends, separately, telling me how they could see how much I was struggling, but there was nothing they could do or say to make me see it and bring me out of it. I am so grateful and appreciative of their patience with me. And willingness to not give up on me and their faith that one day I would return to them. We have had conversations about this and me questioning the “What-ifs”. “What if” that didn’t happen, that didn’t cause that, that didn’t make me realize that? Would I still be stuck in that place? I am so thankful that I am not. And I do feel that my mom helped me out of it. Because she raised me to be independent and strong-willed and understanding of what life has to offer me and what I have to offer and be deserving of. She taught me how to eat at a restaurant alone and love books and eat popcorn for supper. All things I needed to find the enlightenment I now cherish. It took a very long time for me to get here, but I did. And I consider myself so blessed to be in this place now. And so appreciate for all of those friends and family that had the patience with me while I was in it.

I’m OUT! (Well, not like that. I am still straight.)