I read this in a book. I knew I had been suffering, but had no point of reference, and had no idea that something like this actually existed: “Identity of Loss” – or how loosing someone in one’s life causes a change in that person’s identity.
“I’m me, but I’m not me anymore. I am someone else, someone else without Anita in my life.”
Anita was my mother. My beautiful, engaging, tender-hearted mother, she was the life source from which energy flowed through me. She infused my soul with longing for better things. She uplifted me with her resonant harmony and happiness. She was as strong as steel, as soft as a feather, as pleasingly tasteful to the senses as listening to a symphony or biting into the ripest of fruit on a hot summer day. “She was my muse. I lost who I was the day she died. I had to become someone else.”
First and foremost, I became the adult female figure for my daughter. She, nor I, would be able to look to my mother for solace, comfort, and guidance ever again. How sad is that? I had now become the matriarch of my family and the one who had to fulfill that role for my daughter from then on. I was devastated for mine and Shannon’s sake, because being truthful as I can be, I will never come anywhere near the stature of the woman that my mother was.
Secondly, I became an orphan that day, as both my parents were now deceased and I, as such, became “parentless.” What a terrible thing to be, even at 45 years of age. I hate it. “I envy others who still have their parents living among them. I know that is a selfish attitude. My mother would say I was just being “gutty.”” I know death is inevitable, but I wish it hadn’t come for them so soon.
Third on this list, I was reeling from other life-altering events in my life, among them, the murder of my three Yorkshire puppies, Chester, Toto, and Pixie. The dogs’ murders ultimately led to the final death throes of my marriage to my ex-husband as he is bi-polar. I will add here, that the murder of the dogs was the catalyst for the actual pursuit of divorce, but by no means was it the sole reason for the destruction of the marriage, there were much more devastating character/esteem crushing blows of which I had endured for years (I won’t go into all the gory details). In any event, I had shaped my world to fit around those parameters (Can you say Chameleon?), but when my universe came crashing down around me (particularly, my Momma’s death), I ceased to exist as I had previously, (I couldn’t fake it anymore), I truly became a different person with a different outlook on life. I could no longer just accept a dull, non-existent marriage as enough for me for the rest of my life here on earth.
Some of my friends/relatives still seem to harbor some resentment and don’t have a clue as to what happened (it’s as if they feel I abandoned them.) I am always asking myself, “Were they not sitting in the funeral home with me? Could they not tell that I was dying inside? All because the one woman who could have consoled me during my time of grief was the one woman lying in the casket and that woman would never be able to console me, ever again).” I was totally bereft. They don’t seem to realize that for me the only way forward, the only way for me to survive the trauma was to become someone else; to adapt, which meant changing my surroundings (habitat) and shaking off my old ways and redirecting my persona in a totally different pattern.
However, in the midst of all this, God was looking out for me, he sent me someone I could love who loved me back, just the way I am (flaws and all) without wishing me to be any other way. This man truly loves me for me. He is very grounded and down to earth and keeps my feet firmly planted. But, as it goes, you know when you fall in love, you change (as if you are learning new dance steps with a new partner), with subtle nuances which alter the way you feel and act. And so I was changed, yet again.
Since then I have also had GBS surgery and lost approximately 120 pounds. That is mood, mind, and life-altering in and of itself. I have effectively changed my body, as well as my mind, to accept a healthier viewpoint of living. Therefore, I am not so focused on food, and as such, the food-ritualistic holiday family gatherings. The changes in my physical being (shape) and personality (mindset) have so completely transformed me into another person, that at times I don’t think people who knew me before quite know what to make of me. It’s strange how people (even within the same family) react differently to trauma/death and so forth. I tell myself repeatedly that when my Momma died, it also changed/affected the other people in my life, altering their life course as well.
Just suffice it to say, I am a new and different being from the person I was before. I am changed, but hopefully enough of me, still resides here in this mind and body that I am recognizable to the ones who matter and that is because my love for you has never changed, it’s still planted right here in my heart where it has always been.
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