Losing a parent when you’re young isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face and still have to face to this day.
August 13, 2003, I lost my mother. I was 10. I remember the day so clearly, it still frightens me. One of the things I remember the most was my father’s face.
August 8, 2003, my father came to pick us kids up at Wee Folk Daycare. During this time my parents were separated. My father lived in Decatur and my mother in Havana. They hadn’t got a divorce yet, but they had decided to separate. I was primarily living with my mother and my youngest brother, Andrew, who was only a year old. And my other brother, Cole, who was 7 was living with my father. I remember my dad came into the daycare and his face was so red, his eyes were bloodshot, and his voice was unsteady. It seemed like just his words he was choking on every one of them. Looking back, I don’t know how he told us and stayed so strong for us kids.
I had never seen my father cry. And that day, was like the dam broke and all tears fell. He could barely get the words out. I kept asking what happened and he said, “I’ll tell you when we get in the car.” We finally got into the car. And I asked again, afraid that maybe I didn’t want to know. He said, choking on every word and breath, “Your mom got into a car accident....and there is a 50% she could live and a 50% chance she could die.” I started crying. Cole, he didn’t understand. And Andrew he couldn’t even speak yet.
She was in Peoria Hospital. They said the accident happened on a fresh gravel road. She had turned too quickly and the car flipped. Doctors said they didn’t know if she had a seatbelt on or not. They thought she either got thrown from the car and her head bounced like a ball or the car rolled over her head.
She was in a medically induced coma.
We finally got to the hospital and I just wanted to see her. My grandmother and my father walked me to the room and I got scared. Like I had seen a ghost or someone jumped out and said, “ BOO!” That wasn’t my mom. It didn’t look like her at all. Her face was so swollen and bruised I was scared to look at her. It wasn’t my mom.
5 days later, my family decided it was time. We sat around her bed and sang to her until she took her final breath. I finally was able to look at her. But he wasn’t my mom anymore. She had tons of tubes, and she wasn’t breathing on her own. They had taken her off of life support because the doctors said she wouldn’t have lived a good life. She would have been paralyzed, deaf and possibly blind. She wouldn’t have wanted that.
August 13, 2018, will be 15 years without her. And it’s still hard. Some of the hardest times are times I want her to be there to see me succeed. She always told me, “you can do anything if you believe it.” And I always remember that. When I graduated high school, it was extremely hard. I knew she wasn’t going to be there but I never realized how hard it would be to walk across that stage and not see her face.
I went through a lot as a kid, and I still have a lot to deal with as an adult. My dad got remarried and our stepmom was awesome. She was very understanding because she had lost her father at a young age. School was really hard because there were times were all I could think about was her and the times I had at her house. I got made fun of a lot because I was seen and weird for crying about my mom in class. I only made three friends my 5th grade year after everything happened. Ana, Lauren, and Rain; those girls I’m still good friends with. They didn’t judge me for being different or anything. And they helped me with grieving. They have grown to become very amazing women. I think if I didn’t have them at such a young age, It would have been extremely difficult in school.
As an adult, I have so much that I think about. In moments of despair, I get scared. I always think about my mother. I wish I would have known her more. Really got to meet her. Share stories with her. I have depression and anxiety, and when I have dark moments she helps pull me out of them. She was a free spirit, lover, creative artist, and someone who was happy. She was always happy. I think of her. Being an adult with one parent is hard. I’ve had very close moments recently with my father and things going on with his health. He worries about it. In those moments I’ve stayed strong but I broke down; had anxiety attacks and thought, “I can’t lose another parent.” I would call my stepmom and she would tell me it was going to be okay. And it was like her voice would reset me. It’s okay. It will be okay. It always is. Life has been tough but I’ve always been okay. It always works itself out.
Everything will be okay.