When you’re fifteen years old you can’t do shit.
You can’t drive a car. You can’t get a tattoo. You can’t drink. You can’t vote.
You can’t, can’t, can’t, because you’re too young.
But when society set all these limits for teenagers, the universe didn’t get the message. Because someone who isn’t old enough to do those things can’t possibly be old enough to bury a parent.
But I did.
And let me tell you, losing a parent is a fucking tragedy.
When I was a teenager I thought I had it all figured out. I disrespected my parents’ rules and did whatever the hell I felt like doing. I climbed out of my bedroom window in the middle of the night and then snuck back in with my boyfriend. I went to parties in the woods and drank vodka out of plastic water bottles with my friends. I tried smoking cigarettes. I had unprotected sex. I was wild and I loved every minute of it because I was untouchable.
And then my mom died when I was fifteen, and my world shattered.
Discovering that you are not invincible is a bitter pill to swallow. I never wanted to believe that something like that could happen to me. When I lost her it was like someone pressed the pause button on the life I was living and I had to start living a new one.
There is no amount of pain that can stop the world from spinning. They say that time heals all wounds, but you never fully recover from a tragedy like that. I have come a long way, but there is a price to pay when you skip the line on one phase of your life to jump head first into another. I went from being a reckless teenager to an adult who never stops looking over her shoulder at night. When you learn the hard way that bad things can happen in the blink of an eye, you stop blinking.
Losing my mom has had a massive ripple effect on my entire life. At first the pain came in overwhelming tsunami waves that crashed over my head every time I tried to come up for air. It weighed me down and it consumed every ounce of me. I had to fight like hell to keep my head above the water because I knew I was about to drown.
It’s been seven years now and I have learned how to weather the storm. The pain never goes away, but when you live with it long enough, it just becomes a piece of who you are. It is always there, buzzing in the back of your mind waiting to be heard. The key to surviving is knowing when to tune it out, and when to turn it up. I can still stand up tall even with the weight of the world on my shoulders, and thus my biggest strength has derived from my greatest weakness.
I miss my mom every second of the day. The daughter my mother once knew is someone that I don’t even recognize anymore. I have transformed into someone that she would admire, and I’m proud to be the kind of person who can still thrive in spite of tragedy.
But I miss my innocence. I miss feeling invincible. There is a small part of me that will always be frozen in time at fifteen, praying that things will turn out differently. I am still learning to be okay with that.