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Mental Health: What Comes After a Loss?

by Oct 11, 2019Mental Health

One part of the health spectrum that we so often leave out is mental health. Before we can do anything physically it has to be willed by the mind. And if not in the right state of mind, often irrational decisions are made or nothing gets done at all. We cannot not see the future clearly or the right steps to take towards a happy, meaningful life.

In the fall of 2009, just after I began my freshman year of college, my grandmother passed away. I didn’t know how to process the information so I stayed with family, in a drunken haze for a few days. I stayed in a bad relationship and allowed myself to suffer from domestic violence. My grades suffered as well.

Looking back on those days, I’d like to think that I’ve learned something positive. I’ve learned that I can’t handle everything on my own. I’ve learned that it isn’t good to suppress emotions and that I need to share my feelings verbally. Unfortunately, I grew up in a family where emotion wasn’t really expressed. So if I was ever hurt, I would put on some music, and lock my emotions away in a tiny little vault that barely existed. I am also learning that I can’t fix everything and to stop wasting so much of my precious time on unworthy people.

Why am I telling you all of this? To give you some context before the next piece of information.

On September 20, 2019, my 6 month old son, King, was admitted to the hospital. On September 22, 2019, he was taken off life support and passed away. He was 4 days away from being 7 months. And of course, As I write this, I’m resisting the tears rising behind my eyeballs. King was beautiful or handsome, perhaps. He was strong, strong willed,and so smart. He had this beautiful straight brown hair with a red tint that came from neither of his parents. He despised toys. One day I gave him a giraffe, he threw it right over his head and smiled. He loved human interaction more than any toy, television show, or jumper that we put him in. It was obvious how much he loved his older brother. He would sit quietly in his rocker and listen while his brother read to him. Sometimes, we would put documentaries on the television and the two would watch them together. Sometimes, King would watch his brother, watch the TV.

To have all those memories, while knowing that there won’t be anymore, breaks my heart. I will never get to see him walk or hear him say mama again. I will never get to take in the sweet, earthy scent from his squishy little body.

Once again, I decided to stay with family. Who can bear the loss of a child on their own? I will admit my family is crazy, but they have always been super supportive during whatever trials I’ve gone thru. I bought a bottle of Merritt Bella Rosa everyday for the week. I couldn’t stand to feel anything. I couldn’t handle it. Family and friends constantly called to check on me everyday. They messaged me on Facebook and Instagram. I would have never gotten thru the first week without them. The second week, I started going back to the gym and focusing on my workouts. I went to a counseling session and started taking action for a leave of absence from school. By the end of the second week I couldn’t stand to be hazed. I needed to be clear headed in order to complete tasks. I’m at the end of my third week now. I have greats days and bad days. I’ve been able to make it through my full work schedule. I’ve made sure to schedule more counseling sessions and registered to attend grief support. I try to talk about my son as often as possible to live thru his memory. I’ve also planned several trips to visit family in different states. I hope to hug, kiss and squeeze as many of my adorable baby cousins as possible.

I’ll be seeing you In all the old familiar places, That this heart of mine embraces, All day and through

Billie Holiday

I’ve tried to take every step that I know or that has been recommended to me. This is a nightmare that I can I never wake up from. However, since I was a little girl I’ve been told I was strong. I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I will not let my loss defeat my existence. My oldest son needs me, so I have no option but to be strong. I choose to believe that I have to be here for a reason to have gone thru so much this year. You are never given what you can’t handle. I tell myself that my son King is an extension of me, so I can’t sit around and waste away.

What is the takeaway from all of this? Mental health is so important.

  • In times of trial and tribulation, find your support whether it be family, friends, or a therapist.
  • Don’t waste away.
  • Turn a negative into a positive by devoting time to something your passionate about.

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