My Life, Reimagined

I have always been a planner. When I was little, I used to plan out my outfits down to the shoes every Sunday night before my school week began. I would lay my outfits out so they looked like people. That way I could envision myself in the clothes. After I planned my outfits, I would plan the rest of my week. I got out my planner and I mapped out my days to the hour. That was my 8-year-old life. I had everything all figured out.

Unfortunately, as I grew up, my plans evolved and things became less predictable. For me, that was difficult. I wanted to still have everything all planned out. I used to be so sure about things then all of the sudden, I had no idea what to expect from one day to the next.

The first thing was my parents divorce. I was really young, and I didn’t really see that coming. All my friends had both of their parents around. I was singled out. I didn’t have anyone to help me through that. Next, it was my best friend dying in 2008. How does a twelve-year-old make sense of that? I was stuck in a pit of confusion. I couldn’t make sense of a life that did not make sense. I never felt like life had dealt me a fair hand.

There were other things along the way. By fifteen I had been to more funerals than most forty-year-olds. I had dealt first hand with what it meant to love someone with an addiction. I sat in more counselors offices than I could count on one hand. I watched my mother go through a toxic relationship with a boyfriend I hardly knew. I watched pain. I experienced pain. None of my wounds had time to heal before another one began to form.

Then 2013 happened. That was the year that life had finally won. I had all these plans for college. I had plans for my future. I once again thought that I had things figured out, as much as one eighteen-year-old could. I was finally triumphing in my very confusing journey. Just when I thought I was on top, the world came crumbling down from under my feet. The worst of the worst happened. My mother took her final breath. With her death, the death of my plans followed. I was once again at square one. I had been completely defeated.

I am now standing and staring into my future with scared eyes. What is next for me? What if I finally get going again only for life to take away everything? How do I plan for my life after college when I have nothing concrete to hold onto?

It’s difficult to move forward when you feel stuck in the moment you are in. It’s hard to feel unstuck when you fear what the future brings. The years following my mother’s death I have had to rebuild my life. I have had to make new friends and new family. Now that I am here I am afraid of losing them too. Because the reality of being me is that most of my relationships end in loss. The fear that comes with that is real and it demands every ounce of my attention.

I have contemplated what it truly means to move forward after a loss. All I know is that my mother will always be an important part of my life, even though she is not physically here anymore. I feel the same way about every other person I have lost in the most permanent of ways. I feel like the power of their love in my life is so profound that I still feel it even though I won’t ever get to hear them say it again. That’s how I have moved forward, even though I sometimes feel really stuck.

The truth is now that I have lost the one person I always imagined would be by my side, I am stronger. I have learned what it really means to survive. I have learned how to be happy in my good moments, even when I don’t have her to share them with. I have lived my life, reimagined. I have had big, good moments in that new life. I have moved forward when I felt like I could only ever fall behind. And that’s something to be proud of.

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