The death of a loved one is like having the rug swept from under you. We make arrangements for the day, seldom stopping to consider how those plans may be wiped out in an instant. I never gave it much thought until my uncle’s death hit me with such force that I was forced to confront reality:
Family is the most important thing to me, and losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone can go through.
The morning of July 23, 2014 started like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, and kissed my wife goodbye. I had no idea that by the end of the day, my life would be changed forever. My aunt called me at work around lunch time with the news that my uncle had passed away suddenly. He was only 58 years old.
I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe it was true. Family was everything to him. He was always so full of life and love. Even though he lived far away, we talked often and I considered him one of my best friends.
The days and weeks following his death were a blur. I was grieving and trying to be there for my aunt and cousins, but it was difficult. I felt like I was walking around in a fog. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I was angry and resentful. I questioned why this had happened to us.
Thankfully, with time, the pain has started to ease and I am able to remember the good times we shared together. Family is still the most important thing to me, and even though it’s hard, I know that we will get through this loss together.
I don’t believe that anyone considers tragedy until they are confronted with shocking news. How we take life for granted is incredible. The tragedy will never end. You simply learn to deal with it and keep going forward.
You go through the motions each day, never forgetting, but hoping that time will eventually make it feel less painful.
I do not think anyone can really understand what it feels like to lose a loved one until they experience it themselves. The pain is unlike anything else. It is all-consuming and completely debilitating. You are lost without them and nothing makes sense anymore.
It is hard to try to explain what losing a loved one feels like to someone who has never experienced it. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it feels like your heart has been ripped out of your chest and you are just trying to survive each day without them. You are constantly reminded of them in everything you do and see. Everywhere you turn, there is a reminder of them.
The worst part is that the pain never goes away. It just gets easier to deal with over time. You learn how to cope with the pain and eventually, you find a new normal. But, you never forget what it feels like to lose someone you love. And, you never stop missing them.
My mom was studying in Virginia and visiting my Aunt Ana’s house. She had been away for two weeks, and she wanted to return home for the weekend. My mother suggested that I accompany her back to college, sightsee, see a movie or two, and just spend some quality time together. Since she had gone away, I’d felt rather sorry for myself. As a front desk agent at the casino, I was working very hard.
I had also recently been in a car accident and my car was totaled. So, I decided to go home with her for the weekend.
The night before she left to come home, she packed her car and called me to say goodnight. We talked for a few minutes and then she said, “I love you, Marisol. Be good while I’m gone.” I told her that I loved her too and we hung up the phone.
The next day, my mom was driving home on I-95 from Virginia when she was involved in a head-on collision with a tractor trailer. Both vehicles caught on fire and my mom was killed instantly.
I got the call from my Aunt Ana early that morning. She was crying and could barely speak. All she said was, “Your mom is gone.” I could tell by the tone of her voice that it was bad. I got dressed and called a friend to come pick me up. We drove to my Aunt Ana’s house in silence.
When we got there, my Aunt Ana was sitting on the couch with a blank look on her face. My Uncle Miguel was pacing back and forth talking on the phone. He got off the phone when he saw us and told us what had happened.
I couldn’t believe it. I just sat there in shock. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. I just sat there numb. My mom was gone and I would never see her again.
The funeral was a few days later. Family and friends came from all over to pay their respects. I sat in the front row with my dad and Uncle Miguel. My Aunt Ana was too distraught to sit with us. She spent the whole service crying and yelling at God.
I didn’t cry during the service. I just sat there staring at my mom’s casket. I couldn’t believe she was really gone. After the service, we went back to my Aunt Ana’s house where family and friends had gathered for a reception.
I stayed for a little while and then I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went outside and sat in my car. I called my boyfriend and he came to get me. We drove around for a while and then went back to my house.
The next few weeks were a blur. Family and friends came and went. The house was always full of people. I tried to keep busy, but I couldn’t stop thinking about my mom. I missed her so much.
A few months after my mom died, my dad suggested that we go on a trip. He thought it would do us both good to get away for awhile. We went to Mexico and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. It was nice to get away and relax for a while.
Although I enjoyed the trip, I couldn’t help but think about my mom. I wished she was there with us. I know she would have loved it. After our trip, we went back home and tried to get back to our normal routine. But things were different now. My mom was gone and life would never be the same.