He Never Said a Word
What is she doing there? Why is she answering the phone?
I got a flashback to when my mom initially had the stroke.
Did something happen and they forgot -- once again -- to call me?
I couldn't get through the niceties fast enough. I half listened as she explained that my sister-in-law had arrived in PR to surprise him and he didn't look good, so she rushed him to the hospital. He was admitted to the ICU. I wanted to fly out to PR immediately but my sister-in-law kept telling me I should wait until his tests had been completed and the results came in. I shouldn't have listened to her. It took them eighteen days to figure out he had cancer and that he had maybe three to five months to live.
My sister-in-law called me with the news while I was at work and I immediately booked a flight to PR for that evening. I wanted to see him before he passed. That very day, the evening of October 14, 2014, my big brother passed away. So now, instead of going to PR to visit with my brother during his last days, I was going there to bury him.
I believe Ramon knew he was sick, but he never said a word. I think he thought he would outlive my mother. I think he worried about what would happen to her if he died and knowing the kind of man he was, he was going to keep his promise to take care of her.
The memories of that time and the following year float around in my head like a kaleidescope. Bits and pieces moving about in odd shapes all fighting to be the centerpiece. Between October 14, 2014 and October 10, 2015, I lost five people who I loved dearly and thought of as my core people.
My brother, my childhood friend of fifty years, a woman I considered a second mother, a cousin I was very close to and finally my mom all passed away within 13 months.
I was crushed; completely defeated.
When 2016 rolled around, tried to convince myself I would pick up the pieces and go back to my old self. I was going to force myself to get up early to write. I was going to be more engaged on social media. I was going to get out more. I was going to stop crying. I was going to be happy, damn it!!
But truth be told, that was all bullshit. Five of my peeps just up and died on me. I needed to grieve. I needed to heal. The last thing I needed to do was be all the things I knew I couldn't be. The last thing I needed to do was coast through whatever time I had left on this planet.
My relationship with my boyfriend fizzled. I didn't fight for it because I didn't feel as though I was any good to anyone. I mean, he had just lost his dad as well. What good was I? I chanted more because when I chant, my mind goes blank and I didn't have to talk to anyone about what I was feeling. When I chant, I focus on my Gohonzon and that is all I see and if I want to cry the ugly cry, I could do that -- in private. But what I realized was that I was sabotaging the process of grieving. So I made an heroic attempt to go through it and though it was debilitatingly painful, I determined I was gonna get through this and once I did, I was going to come back stronger.
I. Was. Determined. 2016 was going to be my year!
Next: What Else Could Possibly Happen, Right?