What You Should Know About 2018, If You Lost a Parent in 2017

woman sitting on floor in dark
Xavier Sotomayor

I’ll be honest with you all: I really thought 2017 was going to go differently for me. I remember sitting there, January 1st, at the stroke of midnight of last year, not knowing what would be in store for me. I participated in those sappy Top9 Instagram posts that showed all my published works, and I was proud, for only a brief time, that 2017 would be the year that my world really kicked it up a notch.

And then, one month later, my mom died. 

Now, this isn’t one of those sappy, self-loathing articles that talks about how miserable my 2017 was. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Ironically, 2017 was one of the better years for me career wise. It gave me gumption. It gave me a motivation to go in and basically demand the job I should have been given, if those around me weren’t keen enough on doing it themselves. I stopped waiting around for someone else to do the hard stuff for me; that was my mom’s role. Now that she was gone, the only person I had left to rely on was myself. And I was never easy on her.

2017 taught me to work through my issues and that there’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Therapy preoccupied my entire year because there’s no way any person can deal with grief alone. Grief, itself, is too overpowering. It makes life feel like it’s completely out of focus. It makes you feel like YOU are completely out of focus. You’re angry, and consumed, and confused. You’re sad, and desolate, and bitter.

2017 taught me that all that New Years mumbo jumbo isn’t really worth it, because at the end of the day, your plans may not go as planned. I thought this year would bring a new level to my writing. Instead, it brought me many nights sprawled out on my couch wishing to obliterate my pain. I thought it would bring me closer to the woman I’d always wanted to be, but it left her in small, fragmented pieces who still struggles with trying to get herself together.

And that’s alright that my 2017 was as shitty as and as magnificent as it was. 2017 was my very own oxymoron. My entire life changed, two months into a new year. Every plan that we had made together was wiped out, vanished into thin air like an evil source of trickery. Everything we had wanted to partake in, all the memories in the making we had put on the back burner were futile because time had officially run out. 

That’s a really shitty thing to happen to someone. If you lost someone this year, you’re not alone. But I’ll tell you what: you come out stronger because of it. You came out stronger because you weren’t afraid to acknowledge your weaknesses. You came out stronger because you’re weren’t afraid to take those chances because life taught the cruel lesson that fate does not wait…for anyone. Life doesn’t care about your itinerary. This year taught you that you shouldn’t either.

If you lost someone you love in 2017, make 2018 the year where you get a little bit stronger day by day. There is no time for “new year, new you” bullshit. The new you already happened this year.

The new you struggled, and cried, and you OVERCAME. You got through, literally, one of the hardest, most emotionally taxing things an adult can go through and you came out the other side still fighting. 

My mother’s death has been a catalyst for me this year to be bold, to not be squeamish when I’m approaching others, and to act the way she did when it comes to standing up for myself. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy but the woman I eventually became is because of my mother; it’s because of her persistence, her fight, her compassion, her golden heart that made me the person I am today. Losing her, is what pushed all those traits over the edge, though. Without her, I want to be the best version of myself so it’s someone that not only I can be proud of, but one my mother will be proud of, too. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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