I thought the craziness of traveling back from Minneapolis to New Orleans would keep me distracted from the reminder of how my life changed 15 years ago. It hasn’t. My 40 minute delayed flight has given me an extra 40 minutes to reflect on the goods and bads of the time you’ve been gone, the last year especially, and it’s a little dangerous. Don’t worry, I’m currently in a crowded airport and promise to hold myself together, but the reflection is inevitable.
I tried to avoid the acknowledgment of this anniversary most of the day, and did a pretty good job of it actually! I was in Minneapolis with some of the most important people in my life (two of which are under the age of two) and got to have coffee with an amazing person that I’ve missed dearly. My head was replaying recent memories of the truly needed holiday that was coming to an end. As I sit here now, surrounded by many people in the Atlanta airport, my recent memories are being replaced with the memories of the recurring pain that comes this day every year, and an all too familiar feeling of loneliness hovers me.
I first reflected on my posts about this day in years past:
2010: 8 Years Gone
R.I.P mom! The road to forgiveness is hard but at least I have so many loving people to help me along the way. I love you.
2012: 10 Years Gone
I have gone through some of the hardest and some of the happiest moments in my life in the last 10 years and I know the next 10 and the next after that and so on will be filled with more ups and more downs than I can count… …I miss my mom with every ounce of being I am but that need has turned into determination. The determination to keep going on and to make my life everything she couldn’t make hers, and more…. … I would rather think of this day as seeing how far we’ve come rather than what we’ve lost.
2014: 12 Years Gone
Today I didn’t need my time hop to remind me of the past… Today I didn’t want a reminder of the past. I told myself, “It’s been 12 years.. I’m fine.. It doesn’t bother me anymore…” It took all day for me realize how much I was fooling myself. Saying that it doesn’t bother me is a lie! It drives me crazy, it makes me mad, it hurts!! It does bother me!! It doesn’t take the 29th of December for me to remember that 12 years ago my mom died and I never really got to know how her. But I’m also reminded that in the midst of all this, I’m still here. For all that was taken away from me so much was given. It took a lot of work and a lot of love, but hey, I’m leaving for Italy in 7 days!! My life has been hard, but it is so worth it! After all this time, yeah it bothers the hell out of me… but it doesn’t control me!
2016: 14 Years Gone
I wish I could tell you about Cambodia and all the great things were going to do there. I wish I could tell you about graduating in May and how scared I am. I wish I could talk through my life plans with you for guidance or inspiration. There were hundreds of times I wish I could have called you in the last year. It’s been a rough one for reasons of its own, but not having you there made it a million times harder.
Countless times I’ve been in the same situation of fear and confusion and only wanted you. The people I have in my life truly are amazing but they are not and never will be you. But I can’t just wait for you. I think it hurts so much because I’m finally realizing I have to really grow up and you missed it all. You made a choice and I’ve lived with it for 14 years. No year will be easy, most will be hard. But the years will still come. I can’t make up the time you took away from me but that doesn’t have to stop me from making more.
I know I can’t call you. I’d like to believe you see these things happening. Either way, I have to keep moving because it’s worse when I stop and I really don’t want to waste my years with that. So here’s to moving and memory making and years to come because we don’t have time to lose.
It’s interesting to see past Branna go from not really knowing what RIP means, to feeling true abandonment during some of the biggest moments in her life. I’ve lived this life long enough to know the winding roads of anger, sadness, denial, and depression like the back of my hand. Yet all of these posts seem to end with some sort of forgiveness and hope of moving on. The feelings are accurate but the process of getting there is a bit clouded
I have wept tears of defeat and anger. I have apologized to those who have gotten hurt in the backlash of my emotional learning curve. I have spoken of conquering the pain that comes in waves. But in all of this, I have left out just how tired it makes me. This year, I am utterly exhausted.
I am tired of trying to decipher this riddle of emotions
I am tired of apologizing for my feelings
I am tired of wasting energy on anger towards a person who no longer exists
I am tired of putting on a smile when I don’t believe it and hiding the tears when they come
I sit here, exhausted from travel, and realize that I’m tired of making myself tired.
There will still be days where I wallow.. Days where I scream at the sky I used to imagine you ran away to.. Days where I feel all alone in a crowded room..
There will also be days where I laugh.. Days where I cry at the sky because the sight is almost too beautiful to handle.. Days where I dance alone in my kitchen because I know someone is admiring my spontaneous pirouettes.
Fifteen years has taught me that I can never really escape the days of sorrow and sadness but there are equal days of joy and happiness, even if those days don’t come for weeks at a time.
Fifteen years later I realized that my fatigue does not come from the painful days, but the effort I put into telling myself they don’t (or shouldn’t) exist. And yes, I will end this post with the positives of the future because I know they are out there, but I will not try and pretend that the bad ones don’t exist because they are out there too. All I can do is hope this is a year where I accept myself for who I am and what I have done to get here rather than worrying about how I should be acting or feeling.
So here’s to fifteen years.
Here’s to hoping!