As I scroll down my Facebook timeline, I see all the posts I failed to respond to, the comments left unliked, and a lot of love left unreceived. It’s really hard to accept love, especially when it’s coming at you from every direction at a million miles a minute, so I don’t respond. It’s really hard to write when I don’t have my mom to listen to me read it out loud a million times before posting, so I don’t post.
In an effort to not be the world’s greatest jerk, I set up in the beginning for Colleen and Amy to speak on my behalf. (because I wanted to talk to no one). If you were referred to them, please do not take offense. For the last two months, my thought processing has been at an all time low and not very nice, so consider me sending you to them as my way of saving you. If I didn’t respond and left you on read for the last two months, I am genuinely sorry. I know so many of you fit into this category.
At some point, I will get around to it all. The comments and the thank you cards, I am in gratitude debt to too many of you. There will never be words to describe how much I appreciate everyone around me, everything I can think of doing feels so inadequate. My team of cheerleaders teaching me how to be an adult is worthy of a gold medal, and it is my mission to make sure each and every one of you knows how much you mean to me.
I have been thinking about my life as it was one year ago. My dad didn’t feel perfect, but he was fine. He just had a headache when he would move too fast. It was no big deal. My mom was getting everything in order for me to move to the bay area and running her busy life of errands and chores. There was not a single ounce of my being that imagined his cancer would be back, that he would pass away, that my mom would be alone, that she would pass away. So much can change in just one year, and as I type that I can’t help to imagine where I’ll be in one more year, while my gut wrenches into some high level flips.
My life right now, in many ways, mirrors how it was this time last year. As I prepared to move off to Santa Clara for a fresh start of college, I now prepare to move off to Dallas for a fresh start of another kind. Going to Santa Clara was refreshing for me as I felt that I could be normal, like people did not have to walk on eggshells around me or think of me as the girl with the sick dad or the girl whose dad died. Similarly, going to Dallas feels much of the same. I can be myself again without a looming sign over my head identifying me as the girl without parents. And that slightest sense of normalcy will feel great.
If I have one request moving forward from anyone who knows me or those who don’t, it is this: treat me normally. Talk to me about the Bachelor, the weather, the airplanes. Talk to me about your classes, your work, your relationships. Just normal, everyday conversation, please. The one thing I will runaway from faster than you can say grief is smothering me about my parents. I will shut down if you ask me how I feel, if you talk to me about my parents, if you ask me any of the million questions about what is happening now.
I want a normal life. Though I know I will never have one in the way that I yearn, these “normal” conversations will help me feel like I do. All I really want is my dad to one day walk me down the aisle and then to dance an unforgettable father daughter dance. He promised me when I was a little girl that my wedding would be the only time of my life I would see him in a tux. What I really want is to know that when I would make them grandparents, my mom would be there holding my hand and picking up the phone to answer every question I would have, coming over at a moment’s notice just to simply be there, like my grandma did for her. I think about this stuff constantly, and I need a break from that.
What I need is to be a 21 year old, like the rest of my friends, and worry about 21 year old things. All I ask is that you help me to feel like a 21 year old, and trust that I have professionals in place to help draw me in whenever needed. As for everyone else, keep me 21, and keep me normal. That is the best kind of love, support, and kindness you could ever show me.
And I’m sorry. But this way of coping has worked very well for me the last two months, so this is what I will continue to do. When I lost my dad, putting my life on hiatus was the best possible thing for me. It afforded my mom and me so much bonding time. In losing my mom, I can’t imagine anything worse than a hiatus. I am here to stay busy, to stay productive, and to stay happy. I may not know where in the country I’ll be this time next week, but I know that I will be happy. Rest assured, I am darn good at knowing that is what works for me. Trust me. ❤