I was sleeping with my co-worker when I was 24.
While it may work for some, carefree sex has never been something that’s boosted my self-esteem. It’s only diminished it. We only had sex once, but our “talking” phase lasted several months. I went along with it because I didn’t realize I deserved better. I had low self-esteem. I was bitter about the love my friends had found during a time when everyone I held feelings for would use me. I contemplated night after night what was so wrong with me that I couldn’t find what everyone around me had.
It’s the first time I reached out to God.
I grew up Catholic and despite 12 years of Catholic schooling, I don’t often attend church and hold true to the standard that you don’t have to be an active participant in your religion in order to be a good person. I laid in bed and broke down in tears. It was my first heart-to-heart with God, alone in my room, asking for something in my life to change, for someone out there to want me. The next morning my co-worker called and asked me to go to lunch. We had an actual date with no strings attached.
God didn’t give me what I wanted—a man who respected me, a loving relationship where I could grow as a person. No, he gave me what I needed. A day where I felt pretty. A day where I felt interesting. A day where I felt needed. A day to truly recognize what I wanted from my life.
I ended it shortly after that because I had finally realized that I deserved to find a love that was just as into me as I was into him. Three months later I met my husband, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
The second time I turned to God for help was several days before my mom’s third brain surgery. Her metastatic breast cancer had traveled to her brain in January of 2016. In that year, we watched her endure brain surgeries, a stint in rehab, lose the ability to work, to drive and even smile. It was a long, tiring year; one fueled by anger and rage as to how someone so beautiful could endure so much tragedy.
All of my prayers to God during the six-year tenure of her cancer battle had been the same: keep her healthy, watch over her, keep her safe. I said those prayers the mornings of every oncology visit, every MRI, every CAT scan. I said those prayers on the evenings when she’d break down and cry to me about her fear of dying. I said those prayers on the same evenings when words failed me. But this night was different. I laid in bed, pulling the covers close to my lips and keenly remember saying, “God, please cure her of this.”
And He did. Because she died a week later.
Throughout the two years that my mom’s been gone, I’ve been to the other side of hell and back again. My articles published here, on Thought Catalog, have shown the realities of being a motherless daughter and my struggle with coming to terms that she was going to miss out on all the big milestones of my life.
One of those milestones was becoming a mother myself. I’ve always wanted kids but during the times my heart felt compelled to start a family, I couldn’t help but feel like too many things were spiraling out of control: my grief, the stress of planning a wedding, being so broke from said ceremony that we leaned on my father’s social security for relief.
But that was then and this is now and something in me snapped as I was driving home from work, having yet another raw, vulnerable heart-to-heart with the man upstairs.
I talked to Him about these moments in my past when He didn’t give me want I wanted, but provided the things that we needed. I’m glad my mother died because she didn’t deserve to live her life that way any longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss her terribly. I do. I wake up every morning wishing I could text her, hear her voice, hug her. The pain of losing her lives in me every millisecond. But I can’t argue any longer that her death wasn’t the right thing. It was. She deserved a life where she was no longer suffering. She deserved a life without cancer, without illness, without worry. She deserved peace. Keeping her here, selfishly, would have only been for my benefit. Not hers. I have to love her enough to be okay with the fact that she had to go.
I realized right then and there that my desire to have a child was God’s answer for my new start, to begin a chapter where I’m no longer viewing myself as a motherless daughter but as a childless mother who will do anything to change that title. The thought of my child has already given me hope that there is a good future ahead. The thought of my child has already given me love, given me purpose to let go of the anger, the feud I have with my mother-in-law; to wipe the slate clean; to start over. Because it’s more important for my child to have an amazing relationship with his/her grandparents because they’re going to make really outstanding ones, then for me to live continually fueled by anger over misunderstandings.
The thought of my child has propelled me to put his/her needs already ahead of my own. To live better. To love better. And to recognize that God did the right thing by killing my mother. I would have wanted her to live, to be at my wedding, to meet her grandchild and to watch him or her grow (both in my belly and out of it). But it wasn’t a life worth living. It was torture. It was disease. It was devastating. She deserved more than what she was given. God blessed her with a happy ending and maybe it’s taken the form of me finally realizing that I’m ready to become a mom to finally let her go, to finally let all of what’s been holding me back for years, go and fade away into the sunset.
For the first time, I can breathe.
I always knew my mother loved me. Now, I’m ready to greet that love from the other side. I could argue with God that giving me what my husband and I want – a baby – is the end goal but it’s not; it was giving me what I needed – a realization that I can start over, that I can still love, and that I can choose to move forward. That maybe my heart can beat again.
Only this time for someone greater than myself.