I couldn’t end July without acknowledging how much I think about my mom (or mummy as I called her) during this month. Five years ago she passed away on July 8th and her homegoing was on July 14th. I had just made a visit to Chicago, IL in June 2017 (from Austin, Texas) and she looked happy that all of her children were together. Then, less than a month later, she passed away. I’ve been wanting to blog all month, but have not been motivated to do it. My basic internet search on the stages of grief outlines the stages as: 1) denial, numbness, and shock; 2) bargaining; 3) depression; 4) anger; and 5) acceptance. Every person grieves in his/her own way and I can say I haven’t experienced all of these phases. The place where I think I am is acceptance though acceptance doesn’t mean I don’t miss my mom or that on occasion, I’m overcome with emotion from missing her.
I wish she were here to experience all of the milestones in her legacy’s lives. Since she’s been gone, she missed my son’s graduation from high school, my nephew and nieces’ graduations from college, seeing my husband, Bryan, on the other side of his illness which was a struggle for many years, visiting us in our new home, and seeing us all get together for Thanksgiving 2021. Most recently she missed her grandson (my nephew) moving to another state (Colorado), her granddaughter (my niece directing a movie for her master’s thesis at UCLA), and she will miss the birth of her first great grandbaby in September.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that I look more and more like my mummy, Solange, affectionately named “SoSo” by my stepfather who passed away a few years before her. I’ve always looked like SoSo, but I really see it now in not just appearance, but mannerisms. I see her in certain facial expressions I make and in my body composition, especially after having a hysterectomy earlier this year. SoSo also had a hysterectomy when I was 16. In fact, her difficult recovery is why I chose the most least invasive approach with my doctor.
SoSo taught me so much good such as believing in God, having values, caring for my family and household, cooking, standing up for myself, keeping my word, having a good work ethic, and seeking medical care to stay on top of my health, to name a few. The drive to constantly be better and do better is what I got from her. In truth, the hypercritical aspects of how I view myself I also got from her. I’m slowly detaching from those things. The beauty of the mind is that you can choose what you focus on. My relationship with SoSo was not perfect as I noted in a previous blog post Reflections on Life Without My Best Friend on Mother’s Day.
Am I becoming SoSo? I don’t think so. We believed in different things and navigated life differently. However, we are the same on things that matter like love and family. I’m going to make sure all the beautiful things about her continue to live in me and through my children. I know the many bad experiences she lived through also made her the person who she was. I’m just grateful that through her pain, she instilled in me some good. That good will live on.
Here’s a light lesson if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one like a parent (or anyone): Think about how you can keep them close by holding onto all of the good they shared with you and how they would want you to live (assuming it’s positive). And think about how you can share that good with others and then do so. I feel obligated to be the best person I can be because I know SoSo would want that.