Learning to love in a different way.

I finally changed my living room around to make it homey. Have been wanting to do so since I first moved here in 2016. I wanted to make it my own, get it all situated and invite mom up to see my ‘spot’. Her passing three months later brought all of that to a screeching halt. If I were to be honest, mom’s passing had brought ME to a screeching halt.

In one moment,…..ah……ONE moment. One moment can change your forever, can’t it? I know you have your ‘one moment’. Something that happened that not only snatched your breath away but also snatched your courage/confidence/faith….*sigh*…..life not fair to sneak up like that, is it>

I literally stopped unpacking. Left my bedroom as a storage space with boxes still anxiously awaiting my new life and adventure. Left those boxes packed away. Kept the bedroom door closed. Those unpacked boxes were a reminder of ‘that day’. Every day since mom passed I have been living after ‘that’ day trying to make my way in a world that no longer made sense.

How could I laugh again? Who could I call to say really stupid things to and make them laugh? Who could I call and say ‘mom I don’t know what to do’ and here her say ‘It will be okay’. When something awesome happen who could I call. Yes, I had fam and friends. But, some things, some things you just want to pick up the phone and say ‘mom, I did it!’ or ‘mom, I didn’t get it…*sigh”

What do we do when the rug gets snatched from us? When a love we thought we had forever has walked away? What do we do when the job we loved is taken or thing thing we were banking on doesn’t come through or came through but was snatched without notice? We are left to keep packed boxes behind a lock door, right? We carry on, best we can. When folks ask how we are, we tell them ‘I’m okay’. What else can we tell them, tho? Can we share with them that we are devastated, that we are heart broken, that we don’t feel like ME anymore?

Do we admit that we don’t know what to do? Do we tell someone that we feel small now? Do we admit that we lost an anchor, a compass, a comfort and now the world just seems awfully cold out here?

For a long time, after mom passed, all I did was cry and carry on. Worked and carried on. With boxes packed. With a closed bedroom door. Over the course of time, I reached out to one or two. Had one or two help snatch me back into life. Thank GOD for folk who love us enough to support us at our darkest times. Yet, they can only support as we take the chance and open our hearts to let folk know we are hiding our boxes behind closed doors. We can only heal as we let God know we got those boxes locked away and ask for His help to help us find the courage to open that bedroom door and unpack our lives and begin again.

Begin again to what, tho? Mom is gone, I told myself. How can I enjoy my ‘spot’ without her? Ah! There is the question: how do we make a new life out of the new life we now have because our old one was cruelly snatched away? We liked that old life. DAMMIT, WE LIKED THAT OLD LIFE!!

I didn’t want to lose my mom. I never wanted to learn these terribly hard lessons of how to go on when your get up and gone has said to hell with this and has left you to fight things out on your own.

Yet, healing did come for me. Slowly. And, only as I made the choice EVERY day to keep trying, to move forward tears or no. We have to keep going, yall. Have to keep trying. Even when it hurts. Especially as it hurts. The ONLY way to get through something is to actually go through the damned thing. Good yikes. I never used to swear. Okay, every now and again I would tear loose a word here and there. Since mom passed I want to have a good cuss fest and yell and scream at the world you stole my mom from me!!….*stamps foot*. Couldn’t you just have a cuss fest about something that you lost, someone you lost, something that was cruelly taken, through no fault of your own? Dammit, world, we were doing the best we could! We are good people, dammit! Why you have to go and pick on us!!!!!????…*sigh*…..having a cussfest is exhausting. And, losing a whole world, trying to recover and start again is exhausting. Don’t have the extra energy for a cussfest. Good yikes…..

One day, I felt life and mom whispering to me to get my living room situated. Move stuff around. Unpack some things. Make your ‘spot’ homey. Felt mom cheering me on. So, I took a day and rearranged. Made things cute. Put this here, hid that there(another story for another day. Why do we kick things behind something instead of putting it away correctly….*sigh*…we can be dummies, can’t we?), put in some fancy mood lights and scented oils.

Finally I had my living room all homey. Yet, I felt guilty about truly enjoying it without mom. Finally gave myself permission to try. Had one cup of coffee in a lounging chair with mood lit room slowly blinking in approval. That felt so nice I tried another cup only this time I added reading to the mix and playing some music, softly in the background. How peaceful. How peaceful. I’m sure mom was smiling from heaven.

The following weekend I admit to feeling tremendous guilt. Felt as though I was walking away from mom. Wrestled ALL week with that. Could feel mom speaking to me that I HAD to let her go. Let go of the notion that I would have her here with me in her earthly body. She’s not here. Will NEVER be here. Never is such a big word. Had to wrestle NEVER down to the ground. It is so hard accepting things we have truly lost. Things that no amount of effort or crying will bring back…..*sigh*…..

Yet, life and God will help us to live in our new lives. In fact, there are things in our new lives we would never have had in the old one. I have kicked fear to the curb. Used to be afraid of expanding myself due to my age, due to not having a college degree. Due to this or that. Decided age was just a number, a college degree is a piece of paper I can always go back and get. And, as for the other excuses, just began to kick those dummies to the curb. The world took my mama from me. Couldn’t take anything else more precious.

I learned it’s okay to venture out. Don’t have to drive the same route all the time. Don’t have to be a creature of habit. I began to meander my way through life. Before, I wanted to get there. Needed to get THERE. Had to work hard so I could get there. Had no idea where ‘there’ was only that I wasn’t where I was ‘supposed to be’. Where the hell is that? Seems like we all, at times, get to chasing things we think we are ‘supposed’ to chase, have and do.

Since ‘that’ day, I have learned to live in the moment. The NOW moment. I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me and no longer care. Yes, I still work hard. I still dream. I still want. I still long for. Yet, now, I can enjoy a cup of coffee and yak with mom. I have learned to love her a different way. She can no longer be with me in body but is with me in spirit and I am with her that way.

I have learned to enjoy my ‘spot’ alone, yet not alone. I type these words, in my spot, day dream from my spot. Realize I am living a dream, NOW, from my spot. All I ever really wanted was to be able to write, encourage folk and dream from my own place. 30 years ago I had the same dream. To have my own place, tapping away on my own laptop and dreaming of what the future would look like.

Today, I sit here, tapping these keys, looking forward to a nice cup of coffee in my fave clear coffee cup(feel awfully writery and scholarly sipping coffee in a clear coffee cup), and yakking with mom ‘hey, mom look at what I did?!’

Look at what I did, mom!? I opened up that bedroom door, mom. I have moved beyond ‘that day’ mom. I have opened my arms to life and have asked God to fill them up, mom. Whatcha think about that, mom?

Life can be cruel in asking us to learn how to love it and folk a different way. God sure does seem like a Big Meanie at times when He lets us know we can’t go that way no more, can’t have him/her no more, can’t go to that job/thing no more. We have to head in a different direction and learn to love a different way. A new way.

Covid has literally flipped all of our lives upside down. We have to learn to live and love a different way. We can’t go back to the way things have been. We can’t do that. Us POC, people of color, can no longer live in a world where our lives are disposable. We can no longer hide or pain/hurt. White folk can no longer go back to pretending they don’t see. Now that you do, white folks, you can’t keep turning away because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable. POC you can’t keep pretending you don’t hurt. We all we got but we all we need.

We need to open our doors and allow others inside. We HAVE to be willing to see another view point, to hold a hand that looks different from ours. We have to support and love one another. We have to learn to come together and learn to love each other in a different way. We can and we will.

Learning to love a different way is terribly hard. Yet, it is so very rewarding. I miss my mom, miss her every second of every day. But, I know she is right here, over my shoulder, giving it a squeeze and letting me know that I got this. I got this mom!


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