Losing a family member is one of the most traumatic life events; Families must support one another to endure the five stages of grief and get through it together.
I was scared of a lot of things growing up. I was the youngest out of six kids to live in a small two-bedroom apartment in the Philippines. I was sensitive and quiet. Most of the time everything that had to be said was said, and I never had to open my mouth. I grew up closest with my mom and my sister. Eventually we all ended up immigrating to America, and every once in a while we meet up and tell stories about the past. Old friends, old pets, we talk about what we left behind. And when I think about what we left behind I can't help but think about him.
It’s cold and windy today and I really don’t have the time for this. My father looks like death as he lay in his casket, whatever death is supposed to look like. His face is so white. His hair looks askew, regardless of the poor attempt to tame it by combing it back. I hate wearing high heels and where the hell is my sister? The lines on his face look like deep valleys crammed with years of tough living. Embedded in there so deep I can’t see where the lines end and where his face begins. His fingers are crippled, and his body is frail. I don’t want to touch him, but I do.
My Polka-dot Princess Boots
I’m turning 60. My Dad died last month. And my dog ate my favorite boots. Let’s start with the boots. Those boots of mine had an auspicious beginning. I found them in a little shop when we were in between movies at Toronto After Dark, a horror/sci-fi film festival. I write horror, so I was already in my element, but then I discovered the boots. I was over the moon. They were buttery-soft combat boots with chains and ribbons for laces.
The ten nights which followed the passing of my Dad were black. Not bleak. Black. There were no dreams, or at least no dreams that I could recall having when I woke each morning. I slept strangely well most nights, but the usual vivid dreams just before waking were absent.
I am a motherless daughter.
My mother is alive, living out her life as an alcoholic and drug addict in her mid-50s. She has been an addict since she was in the 10th grade when she dropped out. She had been drinking hard liquor and taking hard drugs my entire childhood into adolescence. I only ever remember her on something. That was my last memory of her, up until she kicked me out and changed the house locks while I was 16 and pregnant.
One irreversible act of selfishness
In the wee hours of the night, long past twilight, I hover. Like the coward I am, I come late at night. Seeing some form of peace in my children is all I need. The only form of visitation I can manage.
"Blood is thicker than water"
Typically your family is supposed to be your safe place, your support network and the one group of people who will love you unconditionally. Sadly, this is not always the case. Phrases like “blood is thicker than water” are thrown around all too often but with only surface level understanding. Yes, family is important but also your mental health is important too. We are expected to keep people in our lives who bring us down, rob us of our energy and make sure feel insignificant just because we are genetically similar and because it is the societal norm.
A Loved One Final Days
I remembered my dad as a strong person when I was 5 years old. He would place me on his head and on his neck and walk me through the neighborhood. I have fond memories of my Dad playing hide and seek with me.
Deus Lhe Pague (God Bless You)
The year was 2020, and he was alone at home during quarantine. At 89 years old, he was experiencing the biggest pandemic of all time! In his home on the 7floor of a building in his hometown Lagos, in Portugal (not Nigeria), from his balcony, he could see the city center and the famous Meia Praia bay, where the ocean would typically be calm and turquoise most of the year!
Oscar and Alphonse
She knew it was time to send them back. The caterpillars softly wiggled in her hand spelling out “Goodbye.” You’re probably wondering who ‘she’ is, well ‘she’ is Emily Jones. She grew up in Boise, Idaho and was born in 1959. This is her story.
Yellow. Yellow eyes, yellow face and yellow body. The first time I had seen my father in over 4 years is forever ingrained in my mind. I had received a frantic phone call from my Uncle with the news of my father's inevitable passing. A week after I had rushed to my father, he passed away at home under hospice care.
She stood now, finally alone at the casket. Looking down at the small shriveled creature in the satin lined box, she felt no sense of relation. Mother....? It did not truly look anything like her mother. Actually, it more resembled the old woman at the grocery store they had gone to, long ago, in another place.