Archive | April, 2012


5 Apr


This is my attempt at free-writing again. The last time I tried was for a short story class. It was extremely helpful to just let my thoughts go, but it was also frustrating not having any specific guidelines or rules to write by.

Lately, I’ve been exploring the idea of remembering. In a way, it’s been helping me get through the grieving process. Now that I’m getting closer to the end of my college career, I find myself asking “what’s it all for?” I guess it’s because I don’t want my mother’s death to be in vain. So, if I’m a failure, it’d feel like she died for nothing.

Yesterday I spoke with my grandmother about the five stages of death. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think guilt should be in there somewhere, but I guess it ties in with depression and bargaining. She and I talked about what stages we thought the other has been through. She denied going through denial. How ironic. I know I’ve certainly gone through all stages.

Bargaining has been one of the longest stages. I found myself thinking “if only I had been more open with her” or “if only I had tried to help her more” as if it would have prevented or at least prolonged her death. Although in hindsight now, her death seems like it would have been inevitable. But, hindsight is always 20/20.

One of the biggest things I still haven’t forgiven myself for is sleeping in the living room the night before she died. Living in a 1-bedroom apartment was already cramped so I usually slept in her room with her coupled with the fact that as a child, I’d always been terrified of the dark. Unfortunately, my mom never helped me get over this fear head-on. She just allowed me to sleep with her until the age of 18. Not so healthy, but she did what she knew I would want. The night before she died, for some reason, I found myself laying down on the couch. She came in and said goodnight. I gave some nonchalant response like I always did and turned my attention back to the television. I imagine she was waiting for me to crawl into the bed with her like I did every night. And the next morning, she was gone. I beat myself up a lot over this. I couldn’t help but think that if I did go sleep with her that night, I could have heard her in distress or maybe asking for help. I mean, I don’t know the exact physical details of how she died (I know the reason, but not how) – whether it was silently or if it was clear something was going wrong at that very moment. Anyhow, I kept thinking maybe if I were there, I could have called 911 immediately or something, anything.

Of course now, I’m actually grateful I wasn’t in the bed with her. Maybe it would have been even more traumatizing to see her gradually go.

Another thing that has been on my mind as of lately is vulnerability. Once someone gives me the go, I have no problem opening up about my experience. I actually like sharing it. It’s part of who I am today, but I’ve come to realize not everyone can handle it. This usually makes me angry. I’ve cursed out one friend of mine in particular on numerous occasions because I felt like he wasn’t acknowledging my feelings. I ended up apologizing because I did realize where he was coming from. It’s kind of like the Stranger on the Train Phenomenon, which I’ve experienced on numerous occasions. Some total stranger comes out of nowhere dishing their whole life story as if you know them and it can feel pretty awkward. How do you decide when it’s okay to disclose to someone? What memories are shareable and which are totally private?

Final thoughts here. My grandma often tells me to keep my mother’s memory alive. I’m not sure if that entails only remembering positive and happy memories of her and trying to push the less pleasant ones out of my head. When you commemorate a lost loved one, I suppose you want to focus on the good times as much as you can.