When I was 10 years old, if you would have sat me down and said that by the time I was 21 I would have no mother, no father, and be living in an apartment trying to fend for myself; I would probably laugh at you. See, at that time, I may have not had much contact with my father, but he was alive. At that time, my mother was my whole entire world. At that time, life was just fine for the most part. At least in my eyes.
It seems weird now, looking back, how much life has pushed me around and tried to bury me in the ground; yet I keep shining on. I may not have been given the best set of cards in life, but I seem to navigate through them with a sort of grace that I think is a gift.
When I lost my mother, my whole world ended. I didn't know how to function. For one, I was 14 years old. At that age, you depend on your mother for so much. Your mother is supposed to guide you through those tough high school years. She is supposed to go dress shopping with you before Homecoming and Prom. She is supposed to be there to watch you graduate.
I spent the last years of my mother's life walking 3 steps behind her. I was in a constant state of worry that she was going to get sick, that she was going to get hurt, that something was going to be wrong when I woke up in the morning. That is what having a mother with cancer does to you. My mother wasn't one to ask for help either (it's what we call between cousins, the Proulx Pride. I have it too). So I was the one, day in and day out that was there to care fore her during some of the scariest times in my life.
Living in a state of being behind someone for years, and then being freed from that burden is hard. You don't know what to do. You don't have someone to take care of anymore. It's almost weird in a way. It was also relieving in some ways as well.
Those years in high school weren't easy though once my mother had passed and I moved in with her younger brother. It wasn't easy for me to adjust to their household, the way they parented (which was totally different from my mother) and just how held down to the floor I was. I felt like a puppy who constantly gets their nose wiped in their mess on the carpet. I wasn't allowed "me time." I had to be constantly doing something, but I was also constantly being judged for what I did.
This is probably why a) I was not ready to move out when I did, and b) I got my butt out of there as soon as I could. See, Uncle Dave swore that they were teaching me how to be a person that will prosper, but he wasn't allowing me to make the mistakes in high school that I could make and still learn from them. So I had to learn about them when the consequences are worse as an adult. I didn't make enough money to support living on my own, so whenever I called Uncle Dave for money out of my trust, he gave me a speech that I hated to hear, but I had nothing else I could fall back on. I spent days alone in my apartment crying my eyes out because I knew I wasn't going to be able to pay rent. What was I going to do? I couldn't even afford food. The only thing I could fall back on was that bank account that my mother left behind, and the rant Uncle Dave gave me in between.
The was one of the lowest times in my life (other then the months I knew my mother was dying and I was struggling with everything going on). I was desperate. I didn't know what I was going to do. I had fallen out of contact with so many of my family members and I wasn't just going to ask them for help (i.e. the Proulx Pride once again). It was just a cycle of destruction.
But when you are in a hole, everything begins to look up. It took some major struggling, some tears, a lot of frustration, but I made it through for the most part. It has been almost a year since I asked for money out of that account for anything. Though my mother left it to me for my living expenses, I understand that Uncle Dave is trying to protect it for the future. I've gotten to the point that I can now mostly fund the lifestyle I want to have.
See, this is the pact I gave myself when I moved out of their home. I wasn't going to give up. See, when the hard times came around, I gritted my teeth and moved forward. I had hope that the next day was going to be better than ever before. I believe it became so hard for me because that was the time I was actually grieving the death of my mother. I never properly grieved when I lived with Uncle Dave. I felt that any sign of weakness in their household was something that they could prey upon and bring back in my face. I had to put up a front, and hide the feelings that I had. When I was out of that, I felt everything.
Grief is a process just like life. And it is a process that you must work through. Am I over the deaths that have happened in my life? No. But do they take up every moment of everyday like they did in 2009? No. Though this isn't what I call the perfect life, I have found a way through life that keeps me from giving in to the rigors of the world. I have learned many life lessons that some don't learn for many years. I have climbed mountains in 21 years. I have conquered problems by myself and I have won.
All because I never lost hope. Yes, there were times when I thought that I was never going to be happy. There were times when I thought I was going to be stuck like that forever. But then I found that little glimmer, that flicker, of hope and it kept me moving forward.
Sometimes you just have to hold on to that small bit of hope to make it to the next day. It may be hard to find, but in the end, it's totally worth it.
Sometimes I hear things that my family keeps from me (like the death of my father and those details that came out earlier this year) and it is disheartening. But I also know they were trying to protect me. I hope someday that I am seen as someone who is strong like my friends always say I am. Or someone who is strong like my mother, and they can trust me with these secrets that they hid to protect me.
But until that day I shall keep carrying on with the fire of hope deep inside and a smile on my face.
Songs of the morning:
1. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall- Coldplay
2. Hurricane- 30 Seconds to Mars
3. Maybe- Sick Puppies
4. Heaven- 3 Doors Down
5. My Body- Young the Giant
6. Mercenary- Panic! At the Disco
7. Survivor's Guilt- Rise Against
8. For the First Time- The Script
9. Drown in You- Daughtry
10. Alibi- 30 Seconds to Mars
11. Fix You- Coldplay
12. Two is Better than One- Boyslikegirls w/ Taylor Swift
13. Deranged- Coheed and Cambria