It was Sept 8, 2000, and I was working overseas. Very early in the morning I received a message that was highly unexpected. In fact, I thought I was in trouble as I was quite often. I go into the admin office and hear the news that my mother has passed away. After hearing the news, I shut down all emotional reactions and turned into a rock. I hadn’t dealt with death in such close proximity before, because those who had died in my family were very distant relatives or family members I had never meet or known about.
I had a lot of support from co-workers and friends that knew about this, but I could not relate to their compassion towards me, I choose not to feel anything. Though I was grateful for the support I received.
I got my things together to go back home, and made my way out. Life around me seemed still in a dull and colorless way. I moved and went about unenthusiastic. I filled my days doing things that would not allow me to feel the sadness, anger, and confusion. Eventually that had to change; when I got into my home town, the breakdown of my reality began to set in. Seeing friends that help my family cope, seeing different reactions from sisters regarding my mother’s death, and getting a phone from a father whom I hadn’t heard from in many years forced me to start breaking down that rock I built around my self. Now I had to face others in my life that were also dealing with a death that was very close to home for them.
It took me many years of coping and shutting down the seemingly endless cycle I dealt with for many years afterwards. I dealt with regrets of my feeling and relationship with my mother, resentments towards my mother and father, anger at myself for feeling what I perceived as “negative” emotions, confusion of how I was supposed to handle the care of the body, and it finances being not old enough to drink at the time, dealing with pressure, and lack of support from a significant other who did not want to deal with me dealing with my coping and healing process.
The death of my other was significant and insignificant at the same time. I could not have imagined the series of process I would undergo during this time. It was an emotional roller coaster with twist and turns that I could not see ahead of me. Before I could not relate to another person’s experience with a death of a loved one, nor could I help them in a time of need. I under estimated to need to feel and knowing it was okay because I was human facing what was a natural. Which leads me to the insignificance… Death is normal, natural, and inevitable, and a common occurrence. It happens more than we will ever have the chance to hear about. While at the time, that concept may not even matter, the pain of loss will override it, but knowing that will help if the emotions are not shut down.