Today, I was at the Watermark Conference for Women (yeah, I know, another women empowerment conference in less than a year). Amal Clooney and Reese Witherspoon were the big keynote speakers. There was also this comedian named Maysoon Zayid, she has cerebral palsy, and she was freakin’ hilarious. You would have loved her. She had the whole audience up in roars (however the saying goes, you know I can never get these sayings right! haha). Hands down she was the best keynote speaker there. Well, Reese Witherspoon was pretty awesome also. She was very engaging, genuine, and relatable. One thing that Reese (yes, we’re on first name basis now like when I said to you last year, “Mark had his baby.” You said “Mark who?” I said, “Mark Zuckerberg!” Then you said, “You’re NOT on first name basis with Mark Zuckerberg!” and I said, “Yes, I am. He's my boss.” So, now that I’ve been in the same room as Reese Witherspoon, I can call her Reese! hahaha) said that resonated with me was, “When you ask yourself, ‘Who is going to help me?’ the answer is, ‘You help yourself.’” When she said that, it hit home with me. I know I have so many people to help and support me, but at the end of the day, only I can help myself. This is my journey and I have to walk this one alone. It’s one of those journey that no one can walk with you, even if they’ve gone through it since no two experience is ever the same. Grief is different for each person; the experience and process is very unique to each person and also differs based on your relationship to the person you lost. For instance, we both lost someone we love very much, but my experience of losing you is probably very different from the experience your mom is going through. No doubt we love and miss you just the same and the emptiness and gravity of the loss is felt by both. But she is your mother and in my mind, no parent should ever have to bury their child first; no matter the age of their child--whether the child is 5, 17, or 49. It just defies the natural order of things. I can’t even imagine or fathom the depth of her pain and grief. She has known you for your entire life and you are her flesh and blood. I’ve only know you for 14 years, about 30% of the time she has known you, and the pain and grief I feel is so deep that at times, I can barely breathe, so I can’t even imagine or fathom having to feel this pain and grief 70% more.
My sister and JO said, “Death is not hard on the person who dies--they’re dead. It’s hard on the people they leave behind.” This statement is so true. And that’s why when I saw this quote by Sangu Mandanna from “The Lost Girl”, I knew it was fitting for your memorial program:
“What is the power the dead have over the ones they leave behind? It’s strange and beautiful and frightening, this deathless love that human beings continue to feel for the ones they’ve lost.”
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.