I was going to write a piece about my favorite words of 2012, but I’ve decided to write about something a little closer to the heart.  I’ve decided to write about the loss of my mother, which has affected me in ways I could not have anticipated, or prepared for.  It’s affected me in ways I don’t even fully understand, and can barely articulate.  I’m going to attempt to put these changes, and feelings and everything into writing in hopes that those few people who actually read the words I labor over can make some sense over who I am right now.  I hoping I can make some sense over who I’ve become.  I hoping SOMEONE can make some sense of it all.  I’m struggling with it, and I fear that my perception may not be what it should be, or that’s it’s sharper than it ever has been before.

When I learned that my mother had actually passed away, I was in the Delta Airlines lounge in the Atlanta airport.  I had jumped on WiFi on my phone and began messaging my wife.  She had told me that she had died, and when.  She told me how she found out, my crackhead uncle who was there for the whole thing told her via phone call.  It’s thought amongst the family that he lost himself after the passing of his mother, my grandmother.  Since he was the youngest, he took it the hardest and simply lost himself in drugs.  As my wife tells me that my mother has passed, I don’t really feel much at that point in time.  I had steeled myself so that I could complete my travels, which I took to viewing as a mission.  A mission that I couldn’t fail no matter what.  I completed eating my snacks or breakfast or whatever you would call what I ate, and proceeded to my next flight.  I sat in the terminal, still not really feeling much.  I might have e-mailed my boss in Afghanistan to what happened just so I could keep them abreast as I moved about taking care of things.  Honestly, I can’t recall my whole thought process at that time.  I got on my flight, and ultimately I made it home.  I was still hardened to information, still emotionally offline, still not allowing myself to feel anything.  It was business, business only I could address, as I had no faith that my family would be available to support, or even willing.  I had a fairly low opinion of my family.  My uncles in my eyes were abject failures who could not be looked to for any kind of support or guidance.  I saw them as petty fools, unable to get out of their own ways to accomplish the simplest of tasks.  The fact that my crackhead uncle survived by exploiting my mother’s kindness did not sit well with me, and adversely influenced how I saw them as a whole.  My grandfather, now a feeble old man was apparently the cause of all of this madness, but I never saw why they never made an effort to change their own lives.  I had steeled myself so that if I was to be met with disappointment in their inability or reluctance to assist, that the shock would not be as traumatic.  I also felt that I had to be the strong one for my family.  I had to be the man, or at least what I thought was the man and be that unmoving pillar of perpetual support for all those around me.  I’m home, but emotionally I was elsewhere, it was all business.  I load up the family to begin the 5 hour drive from our home in Jacksonville, to my mother’s home in Mount Holly, which is near Charlotte.  While I was there I would address her belongings, the funeral preparations, and her cremation per her wishes.  It was all business.  I felt nothing.  I was not emotionally there yet, I could not allow a weakness such as emotion to arrive lest I fall apart and fail to complete my mission of making sure she was laid to rest.  When the paperwork had been completed in Mount Holly, I had to view the body.  I wept.  I simply said the words “Thank you” and I wept.  I wept and I held my family so close.  I squeezed my wife and daughters and I cried harder than I have in all of my adulthood and adolescence.  I’ve lost friends, mentors, and fellow Marines, and I have always been saddened which led to anger, but for my mother I wept.  I sobbed like a child, because I was her child.  I remembered all the things she had done for me.  All the sacrifices she had made for me.  Everything she had tried to teach me.  I remembered how she did all these things on her own as a single mother, while trying to fill the role of her deceased mother and hold her family together.  I remembered her trying to stay strong during her fight with the cancer that killed her, so she would be there to watch her granddaughters grow.  I wept for all these things.  My emotions had finally arrived.  When faced with my mother’s body, the one who bore me onto the earth, I had broken and my emotions were allowed…. Finally.  With that burst of emotion out, I was able to steel myself once again.  I had not laid my mother to rest, and I would not rest until I had done so.  I have no idea why I followed this train of thought.  I felt that she deserved nothing less than my full abilities and talents, and I felt there was no way to give her that if I was openly grieving, but a part of me wishes I had.  After the viewing, I was able to pull myself together enough to go back to handling business, and handle business I did.  Despite several snafus along the way, I was able to deliver her urn to Philadelphia where she would be honored and finally laid to rest.  There was a beautiful service, and I was very very involved in the entire process down to me actually designing the programs for the service.  My cousin Darren was a big part of this too, as he works in the funeral services industry and helped do some advanced work in Philly prior to our arrival.  After the service, which coincidentally was on my oldest daughter’s birthday, we went to have some fun.  I did not want the specter of her grandmother’s death forever clouding her birthday, so we did what we had to in order to make sure she would remember having a good time on her birthday.  Little things, I wanted my kids to be happy even when I was so sad and broken inside.  Fun is over and we return to Jacksonville, and attempt to return to some sense of normalcy.  The kids went back to school after missing 10 days, and I tried to help along things there were happening in the house.  I tried to help with homework, home improvements, and the normal things I would take care of if I were home.  Something normal.  If I stayed busy enough, I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotions that I knew were stirring inside.  I was able to make it all the way back to Afghanistan before my emotions saw fit to manifest themselves in a variety of ways.  Self-loathing took on a whole new light.  I have more days where I feel like a worthless hunk of shit here, than I have anywhere else in my life.  The solitude of this place has allowed me to descend into a great sadness.  I’m surrounded by people who care about how I’m doing, but it’s of no comfort to me.  I’ve found myself engaged in self destructive thinking, to what ends I don’t know.  I wept in my office, I’ve wept in my room.  I feel like there is something missing in my life.  Like I’ve come home to find that my home is empty.  That’s how I feel, empty.  I feel lost.  I feel forsaken, and forgotten.  I feel unloved, and unlovable.  There is dark cloud over me these days, and I don’t know what to do about it.  Up to this point, I wasn’t able to look inside to see why I was feeling how I was, but here I am 60+ days after the death of my mother, and I am grieving.  I am alone, I am cold, I am desperate, and I am grieving.  My world no longer makes sense to me, and even though I know why I am here, I still question myself, then I chastise myself for wavering.  Hell, a part of me is upset because I ripped off the Band-Aid and sat down to write this, once again allowing emotion to flow.  I’m at a loss people.  I’m adrift inside my own mind right now, and I don’t know how long it will take to regain steerage.  I ask that you bear with me, through my good days, and my bad days.  I ask that you don’t turn your backs on me, because I need you now more than I ever have before.  I don’t need your sympathy, just your understanding.  I don’t need your words of encouragement, just your ears sometimes.  I need to be able to be weak, without being judged.  I need to be human.  I need to be a son who has lost his only mother.

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