Hey Mama Hey! This post has been hard to write. This post is about grief. Well tbh this post is part of my grieving process. Death and grieving is not something foreign to me. I have a HUGE family. Tons of cousins, aunties, uncles. Did I mention all of my cousins? Part of having a big family is we have tons of milestones we all share together: graduations, baby showers, weddings and yep funerals. The way I usually deal with death is gathering with family, laughing and telling stories.
But something has changed.
I became a mother.
Over the last few months I have had 3 men close to me pass away.
The first was my Uncle DL, the oldest member of my family. He had a great life that was full of the kind of stories you can spend an entire Sunday afternoon listening to him tell over and over. He wasn’t the same at the end. He died of natural causes. He was 85. Even though it was not a shock when he passed away, it still hit me hard. I received “the call” when I was with ObieQ. Alone. On a public bus.
My first instinct was to breakdown and cry. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t, I had my sleeping baby on my lap. I had to suppress my grief until later. I still had to walk home, get him lunch, and continue with our afternoon. I would cry when my husband got home. That was my plan. That didn’t happen. When my husband came home I drove to my Uncle’s house to be with my cousins and start planning the funeral. I would cry tomorrow. This continued on and on. I walked through a fog of sadness that I was naive enough to think I was hiding from my son.
No one told me this would happen. No one told me I wouldn’t want to cry in front of my child because the moment I look sad he looks at me with the deepest look and says “You okay Mama?” I have to look into his eyes, which are basically like looking into my own and say “Yes. Mama is okay baby.”
I thought this was a fluke.
Until it happened again and again. When my friend passed away suddenly, my husband told me the news and I was devastated. I didn’t want to believe it. I had to sit down. I was in complete disbelief. I wanted to shut down. Here comes Q with those eyes. I swallowed my tears and told myself I would cry later.
This past weekend my cousin was killed in a car accident. He was 20. He was a twin. He was so handsome and funny. ObieQ was present when I got the call from my cousin. I looked over and swallowed my tears.
As Mamas we sacrifice so much. I have been able to navigate my way through these sacrifices pretty well. I love being able to be strong to support my son and husband. My husband said to me yesterday “Thank you for holding the fort down.” I am thankful I have a partner that recognizes my work.
I am grateful. I am also at a loss. When do Mamas get to grieve? Our world continues to move at a lightning pace. Days full of breakfast, followed by drop off, school, work, dinner, bath and repeat. We have to carve out the time. I have to carve out the time.
I also ask myself: “Am I doing ObieQ a disservice from protecting him from seeing me sad?” I want to preserve his innocence as long as possible. I want his life to be full of trains, dance parties and joy. That’s what I want but life is full of joy and pain (Word to Frankie Beverly). Just as I am equipping him with other tools to tackle life, I can teach him emotionally competencies and that its okay to cry, okay to feel.
I usually end a blogpost with a sassy 5 point list that offers solutions. I don’t have it today. I can make the promise to you and, more importantly, to myself that I will find time to grieve. Space to be emotional. Because that is also part of being a strong Mama.