Today is one of those days where I ended up curled up in my bed, underneath my sheets, crying myself to sleep. We all have these days but never talk about them; As if they never existed. Today is one of those days where you take a trip down memory lane and overthink all the fucked-up shit you’ve been through over the years. Most of the time we are able to look back and see how far we have come. Not every day is sunshine and that’s OK. I have learned the importance of allowing myself to have these days. You must allow yourself to feel pain and understand that pain is necessary to endure in order to appreciate the happy days. Pain is crucial for our growth; through pain we learn our lessons which ultimately leads to our growth. Days like today are the days that make us feel human. These are the days that keep us humble and grounded. I’m a very strong individual, stronger than most. The things that I been through most people don’t encounter in their lifetime; I’m only thirty.

I hate days like today, it makes me realize how much I still miss and need my mom; like any child would. Her yearly anniversary is coming up. Per usual, I get all sentimental during the months leading up to it; which I’ve convinced myself that that’s OK as well. For a strong person like me, it’s hard to admit or to allow myself to be weak. It’s also that time of the month so I’m sure that isn’t helping (lol). I wonder if every girl gets as emotional as I do every month (smh). I’m sure that isn’t the case; I’m aware that I wear my feelings on my sleeve every given day. Imagine having a week full of bad days, which I prefer to call them “learning days” with my hormones all over the place, not a pretty picture.  Its crazy to know and see how much time has actually passed. It’s hard to see how long she’s been gone for and for how long I’ve managed to live without her. I didn’t think I was going to last a day and here I am almost seven years later. I’m sure we all can’t imagine our lives without our parents, specially if they are the one-of-a-kind parents. The ones that give it their all; everything that they have plus a little bit more. That was my mom, Nurys Altagracia Minaya. I’ve tried all of these years to convince myself that I’m over her death. Unfortunately, that is something you quite never get over. Over the years you get stronger and talk yourself out of having days like today. Which in total honesty, you only get better at procrastinating days like today; knowing deep inside that it’s inevitable that the glass will be half full again.

I lost both of my parents. My dad when I was 6 years old and my mom just after my 23rd birthday. My mom’s death affected me more than my father’s death because I was too young to understand what losing a parent meant. However, after I lost my mom, not having a dad began to affect me. I felt like an orphan because I had just become one. I felt lost and without any guidance. I was also in a financial hole with a twenty-year-old brother to look after. Until this day, I feel that I didn’t really grieve my mother properly. Everything was being thrown at me all at once (the typical Spanish/Dominican death full of drama). I had to become an adult in a matter of hours/days. I was mom’s little girl at the age of twenty-three. the same day of her death, I had to become an adult and make the decisions that would ultimately affect me for years to come. My mom didn’t leave a will, nor had life insurance. Therefore, you can imagine the mess that it quickly became.   I wanted to die, literally! But that’s another blog (lol).

When you lose a parent, no matter what you go through in life, good or bad, it comes down to the feeling of not being able to share that particular moment with them. Not having my parents love and support has been a constant struggle for me. It’s a feeling of emptiness that I still haven’t been able to fulfill; nor do I think I ever will. Everyone says that once I have a child it will become easier. But, I think it will be just as sad, not to have her by my side, sharing one of the most important moments of a woman’s life. Before she died, she had asked me for a child. I don’t think she thought I was prepared nor with the right person to have a child, but I believe she wanted to see me as a mother. I think she wanted to have met her grandchild before she left me all alone in this world; maybe that’s what she wanted; for me to not be alone.

Not having my parents has given me a hardened mind; I can’t allow myself to be weak when I feel the need to. I constantly, find myself trying to have control of everything, because I understand that I don’t have any room for error, because I only have myself. You feel as if everyone it’s out to get you. You will be surprised how your identity changes when you become aware of how alone you are in this world. You become protective of yourself. You feel like a sheep among  the wolves. I have been described by my past relationships as the dominant or the male figure in the relationship. I believe this behavior developed because I fear to leave the destiny of my life in their hands. I fear failure, I fear to become a bomb in the streets and an embarrassment to my mom’s legacy.

I had to grow up very early; I obviously did not have a choice.  Even though, when I was growing up, I was very mature for my age.  I was always in the company of older people. I enjoyed the conversations held and wisdom of the elderly. I enjoyed what they had to say about life and their experiences. Between my friends and I, I was the leader and the decision maker; the one who picked and chose who made it into the group.  I knew what it meant to be a leader; because I believe you are born as one. Unless you are one of the few lucky ones that are made in to one. I am one, because I had to survive. My parents immigrated to Paterson, NJ and left me of a view months old in Dominican Republic.

Paterson, NJ is a place where you are forced to be smarter, quicker, than the rest in order to survive. Therefore, I am sure that also helped in molding me into who I am today. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum. I have always done it my way, with or without anyone’s approval. I have always been a dreamer and a do-er; someone that is constantly visualizing and planning for the days to come. I know that I’ve accomplished more than most of the people that I went to high school with. But, while others were happy with what they had, I was always working towards more. Back then, it was a weird feeling to those around me. It’s hard for people from the hood to see ambitious individuals; I don’t think they know how to react to it, they don’t know any better, nor have been exposed to many. For the few rare individuals that do have ambitions and dreams the hood itself will make it their homework to destroy them. “They” will be the ones who will hold you back and criticize you for having the bravery that they don’t have, for daring to tell you that you couldn’t and won’t. “They” will question; “how can she not be happy? How can she still want more?” I believe this is when your leadership will be tested and you will make one of the biggest decisions of your life; to listen to the rest or believe in yourself!

My mom was a tough cookie but at the same time the sweetest, most selfless person that I have ever known. I believe she was the definition of tough love. I also believe she was extremely tough because she knew what was coming, she knew the day will come, where she would have to leave me running the show. My mom loved and took care of everyone as her own. In my house, every cousin and friend, was served the same food and plate as her children. She was the fairest and most honest friend you could have ever asked for. She expected the very best from everyone around her, as she had taught them to be. But, if by any chance you let her down, she would be the 1st hand pulling you up while convincing everyone to give you a second chance. She was also very ignorant to a lot of things and old school as we will call it “stuck in her ways”. She was very determined and the bravest of them all.  I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see, from my own eyes, the meaning of courage. I think back and I’m still in disbelief of how lucky I was. I didn’t know how lucky I was to be witnessing this courage on a daily basis; determination and strength to its full potential. I was attending a fee class every day and she was teaching me, without me knowing the skills I needed to be standing here today. My mom taught me everything that I know today without me even realizing it. I feel like she inherently knew what it was that I needed to survive. She took it upon herself to teach me those skill sets; Now me looking back, that was extremely smart of her. It was rough on me, but smart on her part to think ahead.  I know that she also knew that that day would come; where she left me in charge of the household. I’m sure this was years in the making. After she passed away, everything she ever said to me immediately began to make sense. I became everything that I hated about her. It’s crazy how, when you’re young, you can’t stand your parents but when they’re gone, you begin to love them for the things that you hated them for.

Losing a MOTHER

Doesn’t happen in a Moment.

It takes years to appreciate the impact of what’s gone…

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