Although I’m approaching the big 3-0 this year, I’m in a space where I feel like I’m figuring out a new life. For those who have lost a mom, I’m sure you understand what I mean. At first, I was a bit surprised to be asked to be involved in HERstory series because here I am just trying to figure it out. I’ve been extremely motivated and moved by the vulnerability of others. So although I’m just beginning my journey, I’m honored to have been chosen to participate in this year’s HERstory series because I truly feel our vulnerability heals others. I’ve reflected on the impact of the people I chose to put around me and tapped into my creative talents to help me through my grieving process as well.
Back story to HerStory
November 18, 2016: My mom calls to confirm that she has cancer. I immediately felt I was in another universe. How could this be? How was this happening?
In true Thelma Jean form, she tried to play it cool and told me she’d see me in a few days for Thanksgiving. A few friends were planning to hang out at me and my bff/roommate’s apartment before we headed to Grits and Biscuits but I had been crying all day long and knew it was absolutely out of the question. When my friends arrived, my mom called on Facebook Video Messenger (or as she called it “Facetime”) and she along with my friends begged and pleaded for me to go out and get my mind off everything. Like anyone else I thought, “What does it look like for me to go out at a time like this??”
Something I’m learning through this healing process is to not allow outside expectations of how you think you’re “supposed” to grieve or act dictate your every move. Everyone truly heals in their own way and while it’s sometimes okay to take heed to the well-intentioned advice from others, it’s okay to trust yourself too.
May 18, 2017: My mom had been in the hospital since earlier in the week and I received a phone call that felt similar to the phone call I received in January 2016 when my grandmother passed. Thankfully I did get to talk and laugh with her before she gained her wings but the world completely stopped for me at 10:18 am on May 19, 2017. The outpour of love and support was so comforting over the next several days. One image I simply cannot forget is seeing so many friends from Maryland/DC who took off to be with me. I was touched to have so many loved ones around but it still felt like I was being kicked out of my life and left to figure out a new one alone.
Of course, I’m not alone in this at all, but that’s how grief can make you feel. Everything you’ve once known in gone and everything seems foreign. It seems like you’re alone and no one understands, no matter how many people are there for you.
The coming months and even years sort of floated by. Doing what I need to do but not really seeing any purpose. I felt like I was part of some sick joke and couldn’t stop thinking about all the people who have gone through this. I was constantly wondering how they managed to move on and be happy but like so many who are grieving or dealing with other emotional/mental challenges, I pushed on and tried to live as “normally” as possible. It’s hard to candidly talk about losing a mom without making others feel awkward or sorry for you and most of the time I thought, “What is there to say? She’s not coming back..”
How many of us have them??
After I made small favors for my best friend’s brunch about a year ago, my friends loved them and made it loud and clear that they felt I should start thinking about it more seriously but of course I laughed it off. They were my friends- they had to say that.
A few days later, a friend sent me a text reiterating how this could be more for me. After random conversations with a few other friends, I quickly realized that I was the one stifling my potential. It was so far under that I didn’t even know I was sitting on it.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t creative, it was that I didn’t recognize or value my talent. It was ME. And my village unknowingly helped me see this just by loving me and being genuine.
The light switch had been flipped “on” for me. Suddenly some of the hours I spent crying, sad, and dealing with all the symptoms of grief were replaced with learning, researching and experimenting with party favors and gifts.
What I didn’t realize would happen is that I began to think of my mom and grandmother as I made these projects and racked my brain trying to come up with new ideas. Sad memories started to be replaced with the memories of the fun I used to have as a kid preparing for events with my mom.
Onward and Upward
As they have throughout this healing and crafting journey, my friends have been there to motivate me, allowing me to create for them and just overall supporting both journeys. But be clear, a supportive village isn’t just going to applaud for you… They’ll also be there to help with the not so fun constructive criticism or ask, “Have you thought about going to therapy?”
Adulting is hard and sometimes just a few hours among people with good energy and a small gift can truly make a difference. With my projects, I want to create a smile or a feeling of nostalgia when they look at their gift or party favor and remember how good it felt to be having a good time their loved ones.
I’m just leaving the starting the line and while some days are harder than others, I know I must continue my healing and crafting journey with more love of self, more love of my craft and more love of others. ❤
I’d love for you to join me on my crafting journey as I aim to let my mom and Mama shine through!
Facebook: Social Soiree by Kiara