All of your warm and thoughtful responses to my last blog has filled me with great love and even inspiration. You have all motivated me to write this…thank you. So many of you reached out and connected with me, sharing your stories of grief, offering a shoulder to cry on, offering me your time – for that you have made me feel blessed and so grateful. I can clearly see that I am not alone, that we are not alone. There are so many of us who also grieve, and who are looking for peace.
It is interesting that there is peace in knowing that you are not alone in suffering. It is not that I am glad others hurt as I do, but knowing that I am not alone helps me to lift my head a little higher. An old coworker of mine whose father had passed away told me that when it happened a friend of hers, who had also lost a parent, welcomed her to the Dead Parent Club. As blunt as that may sound it actually provided some light. It’s like finding a new community of people who know exactly what you are going through. They know that no amount of condolences will ever take away this sadness, and that the best condolence is the absolute truth – this just plain sucks, and there is nothing that will ever make it better.
For the rest of my life I have to live without the physical presence of my mother, and I need to learn how to function and navigate the world without her. There is so much more I want from this life and I have to be done letting grief stifle me. I have to learn how to pilot my own ship. The voice of my mother will always be there, but I can no longer seek her approval. Her approval was everything to me. I never did anything without running it by her first. It’s not that she would tell me what to do, it’s that she was incredible at making me feel right/good about whatever it was that I wanted/needed to do. Her words and approval always gave me the strength that I needed to act. Now, in order to move on I have to grant myself approval. I have to approve of myself. I have to approve of myself. I have to find the way to believe in me the way she always did – without fail.
When she was alive, I used to share my writings with her. She was the most supportive person of my life. Whenever I would approach her “hey mom, I just wrote something, would you like to hear it?” She would say “absolutely”, and stop whatever she was doing, no matter what it was, and sit down to listen to my latest thoughts. When she would say, “Jerrika, I think that is the best you have ever written. Will you read it to me again?” She would make me feel like I was riding the highest cloud in the sky. She made me believe in myself because she believed in me so powerfully. It is still strange to write anything without her being the first person I share it to.
One thing my mom would say to me, that rings in my mind and heart daily, and she would often say it to me after I would read a piece to her, she would say “you are a writer, Jerrika.” The surety and steadiness of her voice told me that I must believe her. This is why I write. Not because my mom told me to, but because she saw how much I loved doing it and gave me the approval I needed to keep at it. This is why I write today and probably will till my dying days. It is how I have chosen to use my voice.
My mom was my biggest supporter in life. Now it is time for me to learn how to support myself.
Again, thank you all for your gift of support. This journey of life has been really real. And I will continue to share with you for as long as you chose to tune in.