Today marks one month. One month since I got one of the worst possible phone calls I’ve gotten in my young life.
"I’ve got an update" she said
"Good or bad?" I replied
She sighs, “not that good”
My stomach dropped.
As soon as she told me the plan, I lost it. I knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of time. Would it be minutes, hours, days?
"Try to think positive", she said. "We don’t know for sure", she said.
At this point my whole being shattered and I had to accept that there would be no turning back. Thousands of thoughts came and went through my mind. I started to look through old pictures. Went over funny times in my memory. I replayed the voicemail over and over again, knowing it’d be the last time I would hear your voice. “Hello…? Hello Nicki? Nick!”. I thought of every hug and kiss you gave me, every time you told me you loved me and I made sure to say it back, and vice versa.
I had three classes, an exam, and a cognition presentation to deal with before I could be alone with my thoughts. Part of me just wanted the process to be over and done with so that you wouldn’t suffer. The other part held on to a figment of hope that you would pull through. The unknown scared me, and I felt as though I was thrown into a morbid black hole with no way out.
When I initially found out you had died, I had no reaction. I read the message and froze. I didn’t know what to do. I think that since I knew what was going on and what would ultimately happen, I wasn’t as shell-shocked had I been otherwise out of the loop.
Several minutes later, it hit me, and I screamed aloud. The black hole now became a black wave, sucking me into a tumultuous sea of emotions. I was angry. shocked. heartbroken. I was so angry at everyone: god, the universe, the medical staff, even at myself. Why did this have to happen? What could I have done differently? Could I have even done anything to alter the outcome?
I often question why this loss is so much more difficult to deal with than past losses. I am certainly no stranger to dealing with death. Four friends, my best friend’s mother, my grandmother, my aunt, and other people whom I knew but were not necessarily close to. Was it because I am older now? Was it because I am more mature and have gained a greater intellectual and emotional understanding of death? Was it because we became such close friends? Was it because I wasn’t ready for it? I stopped wondering, and reminded myself that not all questions need an answer.
On the surface, I am better. I am able to maintain a positive facade. I can go to work, see my friends, and see my family with a smile. Attending your funeral, holding your hand one last time, talking to and hugging and kissing your family, talking to my friends, distractions, listening to music, and coping have alleviated some of the pain. Sometimes, I can think of you and smile or laugh. Other times, it hits me like a ton of bricks, as if I was getting the news for the first time all over again.
Sometimes I am able to rationalize your death, hoping that you are still alive in spirit, in heaven, or in some other form other than body. Knowing this would make the mourning process a hell of a lot easier. I’ve gotten some ‘signs’ from nature, from strangers, from above, and even physical signs, but I can’t be 100 percent sure that I am correct in attributing them to you. I often wish for a concrete, tangible sign from you. But I want it to come naturally, without me having to seek it, or making everything out to be a sign.
It won’t be better tomorrow. It won’t be better next week. It may not ever be better. The only thing I hope for is to get stronger, and make peace with it. I hope that one day I will be able to honor your memory with a smile rather than grieve your absence with tears.
Well, I graduated! Twenty three years old, Latina, and the first in my family to finish college. I don’t think it gets much better than this. The pain, the tears, the anger, the sleepless nights, the hard work, countless hours of research, and many of the other sacrifices I’ve made in order to achieve this accomplishment now seem so minuscule. Everything I’ve endured, good and bad, played a pivotal role in getting me to this point. I say to myself, if I can get through this head first, there is not much else I can’t get through. Here’s to the future!
I just want to hug you, kiss you, hear you exclaim “Nicole!” when I walk into your room. I want to hear your jokes and laugh, and hear you tell me you love me…. But I can’t, and it kills me.
I didn’t want to be the one to forget
I thought of everything I’d never regret
A little time with you is all that I get
That’s all we need because it’s all we can take
Lately, I have felt a large sense of emptiness. I feel a lack of genuine, fulfilling, interaction with the people I love. I spent the past two and a half years working at a nursing home full time M-F and taking full time classes in the evenings. That left my M-F from 7a-9p blocked out. Two and a half years. I was lucky if I could leave my bedroom on weekends during the semester. I switched jobs, and now work part time MWF from 6:45a - 5p and take classes on T/Th from 8a-10p. Same thing, essentially. I feel like I’m missing out on so much life. I’m 23 and living like I’m much older. Sure, I talk to my co workers and classmates, and I do enjoy random social outings with acquaintances but to be honest the times we get together are fairly superficial. My three best friends all live in other states now, my family is over an hour away, and my other college friends all graduated and moved back to their hometowns. The ones that are still here, are in the same boat as me. Too busy and overcome with responsibilities to enjoy anything remotely genuine. I truly hope that when I graduate this spring I will have more time and freedom to travel to see my friends and family. I miss them so much. Texting and calling can’t replace any time spent with them. Nor can online social networks. All I really want to do is re-establish a real life, strong, social network. I feel depleted. And alone.
Lately, I have been working to phase out processed and less-healthier foods. I would say that my success rate has been about 70%. While I have been working on this, however, I have considered phasing out excess coffee consumption. I absolutely love coffee - I grind it, brew it, buy it, drink it, and drink it faithfully. I love the taste, the many ways it can be made, and the energy it gives me. Unfortunately, this can be too much energy at times. When I drink too much coffee, the caffeine accelerates my already reactive nature, leading to aggressive or hyper-emotional states. On top of its psychophysiological effects, it makes my heart beat faster than a race-horse. One time, during finals week at Temple, I had stayed up for over 36 hours running solely on caffeine. I had coffee on Sunday afternoon, a latte sunday evening, iced coffee Monday morning, hot coffee at lunch, and another iced coffee after work and before class. I felt sick and started to tremble. It was at that point that I realized I could no longer continue to drink 6 cups per day.
Lately, however, with the start of a new semester and picking up a brand new job with long hours, I began to slip back into the vicious caffeine cycle. Wake up tired, drink coffee, go to bed wired, wake up tired, and so on. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and I think a lot of it has to do with the excess consumption of coffee. I have decided to limit my coffee intake to one serving per day, and only before 12 PM, and in an effort to reduce my junk food intake, I am going to attempt to lay off the cream/sugar/flavors.
Wish me luck!
If there is one lesson that I have learned in the past few months, it would be to remain kind and humble. It has gotten me further spiritually and socially than any instance of arrogance would.