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When Death Happens

On the evening of April 26 I received a phone call that one never wants to get. My younger sister, Keisha told me in a very soft, calm demeanor that our mother passed out. After much anxious questioning, I soon found out that my mother passed away from a heart attack.
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On the evening of April 26 I received a phone call that one never wants to get. My younger sister, Keisha told me in a very soft, calm demeanor that our mother passed out. After much anxious questioning, I soon found out that my mother passed away from a heart attack.

As I sat in total shock, a voice from within said, "You will be okay, Cat." It was as if my mother came to me and whispered that in my ear. I shed a couple of tears but composed myself and I somehow knew that I would eventually be okay.

It has been six months since my mother passed away and my life has been... crazy as you could imagine. I relocated back to North Carolina, started a new job among other things. My mother's death wasn't something that we saw coming. Even though I wasn't able to say a verbal goodbye to my mother, I know her spirit is still with me.

Since her passing, I've had the toughest time of my life. Sometimes I feel like the world is crashing down on me. Hopeless. Growing up my mother's wisdom helped me through the good and bad times. Even though she isn't physically here to teach me, her wisdom and life lessons linger within me.

I know I'm not alone with this, therefore, I feel compelled to share my mother's teachings since her passing.

1. Allow yourself time to grieve
Grief is a natural thing to feel after a loved one has passed. Most people experience it though their experiences may differ from person to person. My grief has been extremely tough. I was close to my mother. She was and still is someone I fully trust. We talked every day, every week. Now, I can't pick up the phone and share laughs with her. My father wasn't in the household growing up, therefore, I depended on my mother for everything. Advice. Guidance. You name it. She was there to help me out. When I think about her, I cry. My cries can be uncontrollable at times. I cry alone. I cry when people are around. I, too, cry. Anger comes about. I think, "Why do I have to go through this?" "Why me?" Then I think, God wouldn't give you anything you can't handle. Through it all, I tell others and myself to be patient with me. As I'm going through all of this, I am still learning and growing. I always have to allow myself time to grieve.

2. Lean on your family and friends for support
My family has been a huge help throughout this time. There have been times where I wanted to give up. Then, a check-in call from a relative lifted me back up. Perfect timing I always think. After my mother's death, family and friends offered their support and help. I thought I was capable of handling it on my own. I realized very soon, I wasn't. I needed help. I needed someone to help me out. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support when and however you need it. I make sure to do my best with keeping in touch with my friends. At first, I didn't want to be that friend that burdens the group or come off as too "needy." Luckily, my friends remained there for me.

3. Pursue your happiness
This is something that I constantly remind myself of on a daily basis. Trust me, death doesn't always bring happiness. It also shouldn't stop you from being happy. Yes, this is a very heavy, sad life experience. But, you shouldn't allow it to steal your joy. Do the things in life that makes you happy. For me, writing, spending time with friends/family, relaxing makes me happy. So I do it! Just the other day I made a list of the things I want to pursue. I have nothing stopping me so why not give it a try. The only thing/person that can take your happiness away is, you. So don't do it to yourself.

4. Death happens; continue to stay strong
This is more easy to say than do. Trust me, I've been battling with it. My mom was my everything and to have her gone too soon has been hard to cope with. So many have struggled with similar situations that led them to take their lives away. I can't. I won't. Seek help when you feel you need it. Since September, I searched and found a therapist. Counseling has been very helpful for me during my journey to healing. I will admit it was awkward to tell a stranger your most private business. But, it was something I needed to do, for a long time. Each time I leave my counseling session I feel liberated. It feels good to release my inner thoughts to someone I've learned to trust. I'm beginning to work with my therapist to change my lifestyle. Exercising, being more social, eating well are some of the things that I'm going to start working on. It won't be easy but I'm willing to make a change for the better.

I don't have all the answers to anything but I've been blessed with the opportunity to continue to learn and grow. My mother has been a blessing in my life. Her death wan't quite the blessing I had in mind but through it, I've been able to learn so much. Her guidance, wisdom and love still shines on. That, is the best blessing that has been bestowed upon me. I'm forever grateful. I love you mom.