Updated: Dec 26, 2021
I lost my mother a few days ago. She was battling cancer for years, and her body just couldn't take it any longer. She, as the independent and strong woman she is, drove herself to the hospital, just to let us know when she got there that she wouldn't be going back home this time. I didn't have the chance to see her as often as I could or recently, and her absence has left a hole in my soul, different and more accentuated than when my father died. Another loss, another meaningful time in my life that I must adapt.
2021 was a good year. I became a grandmother of twins, got another promotion, many changes occurred in my life.
When I was growing up, our family moved at least 15 times in 17 years. As an adult, things have not been that different. As a kid, I just went with it, it wasn’t up to me. As an adult, I had to be responsible and seek better opportunities to raise my son in better environments. Most times, I was sad about always having to leave my family, friends, and acquaintances behind, but I also learned to appreciate the feeling of a new and exciting place and the chance to start a new life each time.
After these many years, I can look back now and see the effects it has had on my life: I can't stay put in the same place for very long, I need constant change to be excited about life. Living in the same place for 5 years can be boring, and I feel like I’m shackled. Also, I don't have one place to call home, but nowhere and everywhere is home. On the other hand, I can adapt to pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere, anyone. New countries, new languages, new cultures, new places, and new customs. I appreciate the fact that I have grown into a fairly tolerant, respectful, and open-minded person. Nothing surprises me, I don't discriminate against anyone for whatever choices they have, because... well, I have been there, I have seen many things, I understand and listen to people's souls.
Sometimes it's very hard for me to get attached to anyone, but if I meet someone that touches my soul, I can't let them go. I still have friends for seasons of my life. I am not the type to sit down with a bunch of “amigas” to dish about our personal lives or even do small talk. If relationships go bad, be they with friends or spouses, I’m fine with just letting it go and moving on to the next big adventure, sometimes with a broken heart that never heals. Even though I know that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, I am always dreaming of finding that perfect place that will charm me enough to make me never want to move again. Maybe that person to respect me and love me deeply and passionately. That good friend to have adventures with, who will never judge me or tire of my craziness. That amazing beachfront home, where I can wake up every morning for the rest of my life to the sound of waves breaking, to the sunshine, to the coconut water, to my perfect figure, to my brilliant mind.
I have also learned about heartache and pain. I chose to leave many times. I chose to embrace the unknown and give it a try. Throughout the years, I had nothing to lose, and somehow I had to make it happen, most times not only for me but for my precious child as well. Experiencing separation from family and the distance between continents took a toll on my soul that will never be completely healed. I live in the memories of a time when everyone was still around and no one was dead. Those memories carried me for a time, but raising a child on my own and knowing that he will never be able to have the same experiences is heartbreaking. Discrimination for always being a foreigner, a woman, a single mother, or because of my different lifestyle choices has relegated me to a corner, where I never imagined I would be. Deception and frustration overpower the good and positive, making me unhappy and lonely.
Most of the things I have been through were not my choice, and remembering that makes me feel good about the fact that I am at least trying to do the best I can with the opportunities I have been given. It's hard enough when someone breaks our hearts and destroys all of our hopes. Other things were absolutely my choice and, looking back, I realize that they were decisions made in the midst of war. A war between good and evil, sorrow and instant joy, fought in reaction to a long line of situations where I was powerless, always dreaming that maybe somewhere, somehow, my life could be better, and I would find peace in my soul.
But what would a better life even have looked like? Maybe if I had lots of money in the bank, I could have lived more comfortably and provided better for the ones I love, traveled more, and created more memories? Maybe if I had a more stable family growing up without having been subjected to the divorce of my parents, not having a house where I was welcomed, the death of my grandmother, the feeling of constant rejection from my step-parents, and indeed even from my own parents? Maybe if I had not loved men who abused me, used me, betrayed me, lied to me, and left me? I feel like I did everything I could for those I care for, but could I have done more? If so, how?
After doing the best I can and having raised my child into a great man, now also a father and husband, my spirit is still starved. I don’t know what to do with all the horrible experiences that fill my mind and heart with guilt and make it necessary for me to fight hard every single second of my life, just to keep from going completely insane? "Oh, look at the bright side… be grateful, because there are others who have it worse than you do". "Oh, look for it inside of you instead of outside." I can’t count the times I’ve heard these. I know. There is still so much for me to do. If I am going to get close to finding even a glimmer of the person I want to be, because of the countless times I have lost. I have lost my temper, my control, my mind, my way so many times that I don’t even know if I will even live long enough to fix it all and simply breathe in peace someday.
My only hope is that Someone does in fact exist and will be merciful and understanding toward me. If He allowed me to experience all of this to make me humble, maybe it’s working, but the pain is excruciating at times and I can’t stop thinking how things could be different if I could have had the chance to just be loved back and experienced a little bit at least of all the love I gave away. I’ve made choices and decisions that didn't affect just me but all those around me, truly believing they were the best, only to realize that they limited me.
I wonder if having a better life, a family, someone that would love me back, and all that comes with it would really make me happy. What is the purpose of having lived all these years and ending up exhausted with life? Those quick to jump to conclusions might just say I am depressed. Never been diagnosed with that yet. I just think I’m tired. And bitter. And hopeless. But despite all of that, I want to give hope to others, knowing that the world and the people in it can be harsh at best, and the last thing I want for those I care about is for them to go through everything I have gone through.
At the same time, sometimes, small glimpses of life brush me off throughout the robotic days, maybe when angels fly low and breathe over my ear, I feel hope. I feel alive and that I shouldn't give up. I feel my life is not over yet and I couldn't do something for myself. I could love still, even if it wouldn't be forever. I could experience the best for me, something that I never had the chance to do... always for others, but this time it could be me.
So for today, 2021 brought me the tragedy of seeing life as it is. I might spend each day doing what little I can. Trying to make life easier for others, hoping that I can help them even just a little before I am gone from this world, give my brain a break from the daily grind, watch a few more movies to keep my hopes and dreams alive, chitchat a little with those whose lives are also tied up in duty without pleasure for others' sake. I can pray that I may learn whatever I need to move on to the next stage of my existence, where, hopefully, life will be more enjoyable.
Because I deserve that. Well… At least I think I deserve that.
They say when our parents are not around anymore we lose some ground. I know they are in a much better place free of the pain and suffering they experienced here, but still... My son has his own to take care of right now. My parents and grandparents and most of those that really knew me a little bit - or that cared to know me - are gone from this life. Why am I going to be living a life I don't enjoy, in a place I don't enjoy, with people I don't enjoy? Maybe it's time to start the changes I need and at least try to find some JOY. I am not in the simple state of mind to just adapt again to what life has given me. I might not need to go anywhere different again or leave everything behind that I've built so far. I just want to do something different. What? I don't know yet, but I will get there like I've always done.
In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful Christmas season, focused on what or who matters most for you. Remember that might be YOU. Have a better year ahead.