Grief -- deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone's death.
At this age, many of us are dealing with a lot of things. This includes the college workload, managing our social lives, countless job opportunities, finding a significant other, and exploring a brand-new city. However, for some of us, we have a deeper burden dragging behind us.
In December 2019, my mom passed away from stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Although she had been in remission just a couple months earlier, the cancer ended up spreading to her brain. She was officially given the 6 months to a year life span, but she was gone in five. Those last few months were so traumatizing that I don’t really remember any of it. I was watching my best friend die. I had to watch my best friend die. My mom was my everything. I was right in the middle of my senior year. I was only 17 years old. I was lost, no longer having the guidance that supported me for 17 years. I have never felt the amount of love that my mom had for me with anyone else, and it hurts to this day that I’ll never have that again.
One of the last conversations I had with her was about college. Fortunately, she was able to see me get my first college acceptance, in which I was rewarded an $80,000 scholarship. Although she was out of it due to the medication, I still could feel how proud she was of me. I knew from then on, whatever I did with my life would be dedicated to her.
Only 8 months after losing her, I packed my bags and moved 600 miles away to my dream school: the College of Charleston in South Carolina. It was hard. Not only did I have to leave the people that kept me together those few months without my mom, but I also moved to the place where my mom and I were supposed to be together. We had planned that she would get a house down here while I lived on campus, as we were that close. I couldn’t imagine being so far from her, until it happened. But I had to do this. She would’ve wanted me to.
The college experience has been nothing that I could have ever expected, in the best way possible. It’s been extraordinary, heartbreaking, unbelievable, and nothing in this world. I’ve learned to live on my own, make friends with people I’ve never met before, and explore a city that was still unfamiliar, all while continuing my education. I’ve met some of the most amazing people that I consider my best friends, and I've been exposed to what only dreams are made of. However, it hasn’t been easy.
I miss my mom. I miss her every day. I wonder what she would say about everything I’ve done since she left. I wonder what it would have been like to introduce her to my new friends. I wonder what it would be like, showing her my classes and all I’m learning. I wonder what it would be like with her living down here. I wonder if she would be proud of me. Grief sucks. It's heavy. It follows you like a shadow, hitting you at the most random moments. It’s a complete burden. It’s so hard when you’re living things you’ve only dreamed of but still can’t feel content because you miss that person so much. I take it a day at a time. I’ve compiled some simple steps that I hope can help anyone going through the same thing. While it never will go away, these things help make it a little bit better.
- Allow Yourself to Feel
Some days I truly cannot force myself to get out of bed. Some days I just randomly cry because I miss my mom. Some days I don’t want to see everyone thriving in the world while I’m hurting so bad. And that’s okay! You’re completely valid.
Dealing with grief is one of the worst pains that you have to live with. Its normal to feel tired, hopeless, and even angry. If you didn’t feel these things, then you should be worried. If you can, let yourself have a day of rest. Do a face mask. Listen to some good music. Take a warm bath. Not only do you deserve it, but other things can wait. This is about you.
- Meditation and Gratitude
When my mom died, I was angry. Angry at cancer, angry at the world, and especially angry at people moving on with their lives like nothing happened. It’s one of the things I’ve struggled with most these past few months. Manifestation and gratitude have allowed me to turn these negative feelings into something more beautiful. Every morning I open my manifestation journal and write five things I want in present tense, as if I already have them. For example, I write things like “I am a successful social media influencer, I am wealthy yet humble, and I am happy.” Although it may seem silly, I believe we as people can do anything, we set our minds do. By talking about these things like they already happened give me hope that they will happen. Along with that, I make sure to write down things like “I am thankful for what the universe has provided for me” and “I am grateful for my loved ones who are the light in my life.” Although I have been through hell and back, I am blessed for the things I DO have.
- Communication with Loved Ones
Another thing I have struggled with is always maintaining relationships with those I love. Although I genuinely love the people in my life so much, the fear of losing them haunts me daily. Because of this, I sometimes push them away, as I can’t deal with the pain of someone being taken away from me again. However, this is not fair to them. This leaves them confused, often feeling like they did something wrong. Instead of leaving them with no explanation, explain and be honest with how you’re feeling. I’ve made so many amazing relationships that I value so much since my mom died and wouldn’t do anything intentional to hurt them. But grief is tricky like that. Communication is key.
- Don't Expect Everyone to Understand
Being able to relate to someone who has gone through the pain you have is almost relieving. However, there's usually a higher number of those who haven’t. While that is good in a way, as this pain is intolerable, it leaves us who have almost frustrated.
I’m very open about my mom’s story. I see no reason to not be. I usually expect people to know what to say about it; how to comfort me or at least give me answers to why this happened to me. This for the most part is unrealistic, as many people close to me haven’t gone through this. This used to leave me upset or angry, as I was desperate for answers. And that’s okay that they don’t have the answers. Completely understandable. But I’ve definitely had to mentally work through it, so I don’t get my hopes up anymore. Because truly, there are no answers.
- Still Hold Youself Accountable. You Have Too Much Potential.
While it is okay to fully let yourself grieve, you cannot let it defeat you. I’ve almost given up so many times. I’ve almost moved back home, dropped out, and many other dark things. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be happy again. But that’s when those magical moments happen. Seeing a beautiful sunrise at Folly Beach, laughing at the dining hall at 2 am with your best friends, taking a drive around the city, and etc. These moments completely make up for all the bad. And honestly, look how far you’ve come, it would be silly to give up now. Do you schoolwork, go see your friends, work to get that opportunity, and go live your life. Although we may miss that person so much, it’s what they would want us to do. Live for them. You’ve made it this far.
Losing my mom was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I miss her every second of the day. Coming to school has made it harder and better. While these things have made it so much more manageable, I still hurt for her. I would do anything to have her back. However, after she died and I started dedicating my life to her, it somehow makes sense. Would I have moved to my dream school? Would I have met my new best friends? Would I be able to have called the city of Charleston my home? Would I be the person I am today? No one knows for sure, but I’m proud of myself and I know my mom is too.
“Be the things you love the most about people who are gone” -- Anonymous