A Decade

If I added up the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years I have spent missing my mother, I am pretty sure it would be an astronomical number. All those moments have brought me to this day; the tenth anniversary. A decade without my mother. It makes me sick to my stomach, putting the words out there into the universe.

My life has changed in such dramatic ways since I hung up the phone for the final time the night she passed away. No matter far I have come, no matter how much growth I have achieved, no matter the rises and falls, I am still gutted by every moment that led to her death.

The people who loved me the most are all gone. I live in a world where no one mentions my mother. No one talks about her, no one acknowledges that she even existed, and it deeply affects me.

I remember when she was alive and people would often accuse her of being “too emotional”. I don’t think people, especially now, are emotional enough. I don’t think people are anywhere near as human, kind, caring, or compassionate as my mother was. Occasionally I catch myself looking for those qualities in others, and I find people sorely lacking. Perhaps this is why I am more introverted and isolated than ever before.

I am by no means searching for a “mother figure” or “mother replacement” because those are simply things that do not exist for me. No one else could ever be her. I can hear my father’s voice whenever I speak to my brother, but my mother’s voice has grown distant and foreign, and for me, that is very sad indeed.

I’m never not going to be disgusted to have someone, be it a family member or a friends, act like today is “just another day”. Today is the day I lost my mother, my best friend, and my guidepost. As imperfect as I am, I will never be the kind, caring, loving person my mother was to her children and other people. I have learned to accept that.

Lighting Yarhzeit tonight was difficult and highly emotional, but I did it. I’m doing my best. My Mom always told me “Your best is all you can ever do, and if people don’t like it, at least you know you didn’t sit around ignoring a situation.”

I’m a writer because of my mother. She introduced me to power through my voice, and that’s something that will never change. Nor will my commitment and devotion to her memory.

“Seek the sweet surrender of simplicity. Listen to the sound of faith like a flute playing inside your chest. Go within. Serenity lives always within your reach.”
-Ching Qu Lam

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Life Is Full Of Everything

Nine years ago today, I lost my mother. I can’t always say it out loud, I can’t always talk about it, but I honestly have no clue how I’ve survived this long without her. Not because I need someone else in order to survive, that isn’t it, but because life is full of people that mean something to you, or at least, that’s what life should be.

Stupidly, I sometimes expect certain people to be a little more like my mother, and they aren’t. On a scale of my Mom to them, they’re epic failures. They don’t mean to be, they simply cannot be her. No one can. Irreplaceable people are precisely that; irreplaceable.

I have spent the past year and a half holding on tight to everything near and dear, and I’ve been a failure. I have needed help, and I’ve allowed my health to fail in the process. But ultimately, I have actually needed kindness, compassion, understanding, a person who listens, and someone who can put me first sometimes. No one ever does. Not for long.

When you go from being someone’s daughter to just being a person, there is a great shift. Suddenly, nothing is right in the universe, but there’s no way to fix it. And so, you move from one thing to the next at your own pace, trying to succeed and make a person proud, a person who is no longer here. Inevitably, there’s nothing you can do, because life is full of everything.

People, places, things, photos, shared moments, building memories. That’s life. It’s laughter, misery, friendship, companionship, love, and so much more. I went from being a daughter to just being. I’ve spent nine years trying to figure out who the hell that is. I still have no answers.

Hours before her death, the last words my mother spoke were “I love you, too.” I’d been sick for weeks at that point from Fibromyalgia pain. I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t move, and I had missed Mother’s Day the weekend before due to pain and a migraine. I felt like the biggest piece of crap on the planet. So getting the call that my mother had gone into cardiac arrest was like lightning striking through my entire body. I remember exactly what I was thinking and exactly what I said. I also remember thinking “This cannot be happening. This can’t be my life!”

After losing my mother, I got a brief respite for a few years before more damage could be done to my psyche. But as I sit here today, I realize some damage may be irreversible.

When you’re sick and you’re hurting, Google is your worst enemy. So tomorrow, I see my doctors’ Nurse Practitioner to see if she can be of any help in figuring out why I am suffering to the extent I am. Unfortunately, I suspect the only thing I will come away with is additional referrals to more doctors and maybe a prescription, or two. While there, I’ll get my lab work done. That should be an interesting experience. I hope someone reminds me to pack a snack. Especially since it’s going to be over 90 degrees tomorrow and I’m basically the Wicked Witch who will melt, with infinitely better skin. 😉 It’s 91 today and I can barely breathe.

Today has been a shaky day for me. I’m unable to function, unable to think, and it took repeated phone calls to find out what I was forgetting (and G-d help me, I WISH I had just let it go because when I did find out what I’d forgotten, knowing something wasn’t right with my memory, I wanted to crawl into a hole a die. I have less than 20 hours to solve the problem and quite frankly, I’d give up completely if I didn’t feel that not giving up was the right thing to do.). That I could not remember something from last week definitely makes me question what the hell is going on inside my brain. I want answers, not more questions. I’m terrified knowing I, once again, have to ask for help and that I might very well get shot in the process. It has occurred to me that, quite frankly, few people care to have your back when you’re down, but damn, they want you to have their back when they’re in the same place as you. They want you to fix their problems and make everything better, but are very happy to cast you aside once all is well in their own world. It doesn’t make you feel very good, and they’re, unfortunately, too stupid to understand that something isn’t right and they should reach out.

If we’re close and I say “I’m fine.” or you ask how I’m doing and I don’t answer, I urge you to look deeper. It’s extremely rare for me to say “I’m fine.” or “I’m okay.” when I’m not. If you dismiss it and take it at face value, then you’re showing me that you really don’t give a damn, because you’ve just accepted a blatant lie. I can’t remember the last time I was “fine” or “okay”. I wish people weren’t so self-absorbed and took a minute to really connect sometimes. No matter how good or bad my life may be, I still check in with people. If someone tells me they’re fine and I sense otherwise, I call them on it. That’s the mark of a true friend/family member.

I rarely go to the doctor. I’m not fine. I’m not okay. And quite frankly, I’m afraid for my life and sanity.

Life may be “full of everything”, but right now, life is empty, scary, lonely, and heartbreaking.

Here’s hoping my prayers are answered and that someone, somewhere, is looking out for me.

Lisa-blue

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Eight Years

Eight years ago tonight, I got a phone call that changed my life. It wasn’t one of those life-changing “oh, how fabulous” calls, either. It was the kind of call that brings you to your knees. Somehow, I was able to remain upright and forge ahead. By the Grace Of G-d, apparently.

Every day since, I have fought to get pieces of me back. It’s not easy, it will continue to be a battle, but I’m trying.

Today, trying was not an option. Today nearly broke me. I’ve never felt more alone in my entire life.

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The reason I am a creative, intelligent, dazzling creature is because my mother willed it into being. It’s how she taught, loved, shared, and dreamed. I didn’t get to live the life she wanted for me, one superior to her own early life, but I’m not afraid to follow my dreams and live outside the box, even when it is scary as hell. I will never stop wishing she was here, because life without her has been difficult beyond words.

If you’re lucky enough to have parents that are still alive, and yes, I’ve lost both of mine, then please, treat them right. Even if they drive you insane, treat them right. For when they are gone, the truly difficult part begins. There’s no true end to grief, you just put one foot in front of the other and attempt to survive.

Tsentr budet derzhat’, mama. Tsentr budet derzhat’. Pokoysya s mirom.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Beginnings, Endings, and New Beginnings

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It’s utterly surreal how much my life has changed in the last eight years. I set out on a specific course, reached a major fork in the road, chose a direction, a dream, and now I am starting over with a dream I’ve somehow managed to keep hidden in the back of my mind, all the while making movements towards it. “Everything happens for a reason…” Sometimes that sounds like horse-shit and other times, it’s the absolute truth.

In the last eight years I have lost, loved, lost, and continued to love. Every single time I think I am shut off and that my capacity for love is gone, I am proven wrong. On this day last year, I brought an angel home. Today that angel is officially a year old and while there are a great many types of love, this one is pure and special. I feel blessed and honored to be in the presence of this love. This is the kind of love that keeps you alive and gives you purpose. It reminds you to keep fighting and keep living, even when you truly don’t want to. Even when you say “No more!”, that love is present and let’s you know that it’s okay to feel the way you do, and that you’re completely accepted.

chrisbutler

Once or twice a year, I do a Celtic Cross Tarot Card reading for myself. I don’t do readings for anyone else because it makes me uncomfortable, but my own readings are so accurate that they bring me to tears. My most recent reading was dead-on accurate and I remember being slightly in denial at the time, but now I realize it was a message, and it was telling me exactly what I’ve been telling myself for the last few years. I liken it to a loved one treating you badly in public and a stranger stopping you to tell you that you deserve better. You KNOW you deserve better in your heart of hearts, but sometimes hearing it from someone else’s mouth is the push you need. Many of my readings are like that. In fact, all of them are. I’m really quite disturbing with the metaphysical.

Today would normally be a celebration of something else, but this year I celebrate love and new beginnings. That is the right direction, that is the answer, and I needn’t attempt to dissuade myself when I know the answers.

My mother wrote a letter to me before I was born. I found it after she died. It said “Sometimes you have put yourself first, but it doesn’t mean you’re being selfish.” She was a supremely unselfish woman and she raised me to be pretty unselfish as well. Of all the people I have lost, it’s my Mom’s voice that I can’t always remember, until I read something she wrote or a memory comes flooding back and I hear her say my name the way only three people in my life ever did. Looking at photos this morning, I realized just how much I miss my family and how I’ve never given myself time to grieve.

Thankfully, I know that there are all a part of who I am and that they’re not truly gone. Bits and pieces of each of them live on inside of me, and so, with every ending comes a new beginning.

This phoenix is ready to spread her wings and fly. She’s already been through the fire.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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