A Dash of Space

In 2008, the world as I knew it shattered.

As a child you love and adore being around your parents, as a teenager you draw away from them, and as an adult, you really don’t see as much of them as you did when you were younger.

At least, that’s how much of the world works.

My world was different.

When I was a kid, my mom told me the story of how I came to be in existence. It wasn’t your typical story of an expectant mother and father desperately wanting a daughter. No, that was not my story.

My story began with my mother giving my father an ultimatum. She demanded that he marry her, or she would leave with my two older brothers, ages four and five.

He failed to comply.

She left.

But my glorious mom didn’t just leave the only city she knew, Cleveland, Ohio and move a few towns away, my mother got on a bus and headed for Los Angeles, CA, where she did not know a soul.

My mom was courageous.

She was brave.

Not long after my mom settled into her new life, my father acquiesced, and they were married.

I was a growing embryo after my parents reconciled, at a time when my mom didn’t know whether she wanted to keep me.

She asked my dad if she should end my life and he was indifferent. He didn’t care one way or the other. So, my life was quite literally in mom’s hands.

She made an appointment to talk to the doctor about getting an abortion.

My mom said that as he was explaining how he would end my life; she jumped out of the chair and ran away sobbing. She thought to herself, I could I take my daughter’s life when I let my other two children live.

That one decision saved me.

Most children don’t get to pay it-forward to their parents, but I had that awesome privilege in 2008.

My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer that eventually metastasized to her liver. From diagnosis to death was a swift nine months.

I had the amazing privilege to care for my mother during that time. I like to call it full-circle love because when my life depended on her caring for me for nine months in her stomach, she did.

Now, I was blessed with caring for her the last nine months of her life. When her life depended on me, I was there for her as she took her last breath, just as she was there for me as I took my first one.

From 2008–2021, I have been without my mom.

The dash between those numbers represent the empty space that fills my aching life, each and every day.

My mother was my best friend and losing her unconditional love drove me into a suicidal depression.

When you know that the one person who loved you is gone and all your so-called family who should have been there to comfort you have abandoned you, suicide is the only thing you think about day after day.

But now, over a decade later, I am here, healed, and strong.

I realized that I needed that space from people to reflect, mourn, grieve, and renew. At the time, I did not know that time and space would help me to become a person I am super proud of today.

Space with just yourself can be maddening, for that is not our nature.

But this space has allowed me to develop qualities such as compassion, empathy, and forgiveness that I never would have never developed had this tragedy not occurred.

When you can truly say you love the space that only you occupy, you truly become triumphant in all things!

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