So, here I am, on my 805th day of living out of a suitcase. When I came to Colorado to visit my Mom for a few weeks, in November 2016, I had no idea what to expect. I knew my mother was in a nursing home, but because I’d been living in New York for the previous 20+ years, I really had no idea what was going on with her. When I saw how sick she was, I couldn’t leave and I promised her that I would stay “until the end”. I’m still here.
The first year here was difficult, but nothing could compare to the pain and upheaval of my second year here – 2018. My mother came close to dying in March of that year and ended up in Hospice for several weeks. Family flew in from all over, to say their goodbyes, but my Momma wasn’t the one we lost that year. It was my brother.
On the evening of July 2nd, there came a knock at my Dad’s door, where I have been staying. A police officer informed us that my younger brother, Steve (whom I affectionately call “Weaven”) had been found dead in his home. He was a Type 1 Diabetic and it appeared that was the cause.
For months, we had been preparing for the loss of my mother, so we just never saw that coming. Not only did I lose my brother that day, but I lost my support system here in Colorado. Our mother was in a nursing home and our dad was elderly, so my brother and I relied on each other, to look after them both. When my Weaven died, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me.
In addition to losing my brother that year, I lost a dear childhood friend to cancer and had to put down my beloved dog, Little Lucky Frank and two family pets – our precious dog, Molly and our cat, Sweet Harley. All that death made me do a serious inventory of my life and an overwhelming sense of “time wasted” came over me. There was so many things in life that I always wanted to do, but kept putting off until tomorrow – furthering my education, becoming a published author, owning my own internet radio station and drum lessons, were just a few on that list.
I felt like I was drowning in grief. I woke up crying and I went to sleep crying. Hell, I broke into tears in the cereal aisle at the grocery store because Captain Crunch was my brother’s favorite. I have lived with a lot of death and loss throughout my life, but I never shed as many tears as I did that summer.
But by fall, after my brother’s house had been cleared and sold and we had returned to a feigned sense of normalcy, an amazing transformation began taking place inside me. It felt as if every tear I had shed, was a building-block to a new strength and resolve, I never realized was possible. hI’ve used that new strength, to change who I am and how I live my life. Time is more precious to me these days, than money is, and I haven’t wasted any these past few months. I have become certified in Digital Marketing through Cornell University and am in the process of completing my certification in Music Business through Berklee College Of Music. I will officially become a published author, when the story I wrote about my parents, appears in the 2019 Mother’s Day edition of Chicken Soup For The Soul. I am working on a business plan for my new radio station, with plans to launch December 2019 and I begin drum lessons in a couple weeks.
There is a small part of me that wonders if I’m really making all these changes because I know in my heart, it will be the end of me when I lose my mother. My mother and I are exceptionally close and I can’t imagine me life without her in it. I’ve already been grieving the loss of the healthy, beautiful and vivacious mother I used to have – I just don’t know what I will do when I lose her all together. So, I hope and pray that this new-found strength is real. I have a feeling, I’m going to need it.