When people say “my 16-year-old self never would have imagined…” well my sixteen-year-old self never would have imagined what I actually ended up going through at sixteen, that to this day really still causes me some grief. That’s the super awesome thing about grief, it really finds a way to latch on and affect your day-to-day…year-after-year.
Okay, so you guys…I’ve decided to try this new thing where I actually talk about things and see if that helps me feel any better or give me the ability to move forward at all. Some people might not feel that this is the right platform or avenue to express this…it is a little TMI (too much info). TBH (to be honest) I know the older people in my life would find it odd for me to be so freely open on a social platform, but honestly I’ve tried a bazillion other ways of grieving and at this point I’m just open to giving this a shot and seeing how I might feel afterwards.
When I was sixteen years old I had quite the year…
- My grandpa passed away
- My 20-year-old cousin got hit by the Skytrain in Vancouver BC and passed away
- One of my family’s closet friends (my dad’s best friend in fact) had a heart attack and passed away on my birthday–right as I was about to blow out the candles on my cake.
- Then my great-aunt passed away
- And finally my mom, siblings and I came home from school to find out that my dad had left us; moved out of the house, taken half of our furniture & my parents were now split up–we were all completely blindsided
I’m not mentioning my past for sympathy and I really don’t want it to change your opinion of me–it was a long time ago and I really am a bubbly, happy-go-lucky person for the most part. I’m simply mentioning this because it’s a part of my life and it has caused me to be more appreciative of not only the things I have but more importantly the people around me. And like I said, I’m uniquely using this as a new avenue for grieving.
The whirlwind that followed those events will forever be engraved in my memory and is still affecting me today. After my parents split up, we had to move out of our family home into a smaller townhome with my mom. My mom went back to school and was working two jobs to take care of us three kids. My dad moved to BC and visited minimally. My brother and I picked up part-time jobs and would help my mom out any way that we could–money towards the mortgage, getting groceries and doing chores. My mom was great about our situation though, she really tried to never let on that she was stressed or overwhelmed and still managed to put my sister and me through dance classes and even a dance trip to Disneyland; where we danced in the Disneyland Parade of Dreams and in the California Adventure Showcase.
Nowadays, my mom owns her own home, rents out a condo to a lovely older couple and she’s an Education Assistant for the school district. Additionally, she cares for special needs respite children. I am so beyond proud of her and she’s inspired me to know that I can persevere through any challenge and to not lose hope. She is my daily inspiration.
Things have for sure turned around and we’ve all adapted the best that we could to this new normal, but I find that there are still days where I struggle with the situation or not being able to do more for my family. I’m also extremely protective of my mom, brother and sister and when they are struggling or in pain, it hurts my heart so deeply. I wish that I could just win the lottery and spoil the heck out of them, truly they mean everything to me. It’s hard for me because my dad is living such a life in BC: retired, tropical vacationing, skiing trips, new mac books for his new stepchild, extravagant gifts for his girlfriend and not even a phone call for us kids during Christmas.
My family is one of the things I value most in this world and I credit that all to my mom and the struggles we’ve been through together.
Well…that’s all the sappy I have time for right now.