Growing Up Too Fast

My mother was a single parent (my parents had gone their separate ways before I was born), she was 34 years old, and raising my sister and I all while enduring an abusive relationship and various medical complications. She was tremendously adventurous, artistic, and ambitious throughout her life. She was in the Army Reserves in the early 90s, and later worked as a nurse at multiple hospitals over the years. Some of my favorite memories are my earliest ones with her, such as going out exploring in nature, or doing arts and crafts at home, or playing in the snow; a lot of significant and lasting memories were made in the early years of my childhood. Unfortunately, it abruptly came to an end when the unforeseeable happened. In December 2002, after my mother had gone out late one night (to patch things up with her boyfriend after an argument, to my understanding anyway, while my sister and I had stayed home), she passed away in a car accident, survived by myself and my older sister.

I was just 5 years old at the time, and as a child of such a young age, I remember very little from that point in time. I was too young to fully conceptualize what had happened, and suddenly everything was changing for me. My sister and I were adopted about a year later, and all I could perceive at the time was that the heartbreaking reality that I was never going to see my mother again. The magnitude of the occurrence eluded me for many years, and as I got older, I processed it in different ways. I can clearly remember the last night I saw her. I had woken up at about 11 PM (strange what insignificant details I remember and retain from considerably a young age), and I remember hearing my older sister crying manically from another room. I ventured over to find out what was happening, and I found her desperately trying to wake up our mom for a reason still unknown to me. I remember my mother falling in and out of sleep while my sister was woefully bawling, and suddenly she got up without saying anything. I remember following her out to the living room of our house, and watched as she grabbed her keys and gave us a vague statement, something to the effect of “I’ll be back soon”. The most evocative and haunting memory I have of that night was my sister and I pleading for her not to leave. However, she did leave, and that was the last time I ever saw my mother.

Losing my only parent at a young age verily forced me into growing up considerably faster than a child should have to. I lost a great portion of my childhood with her passing, and subsequently the world became exceedingly real to me very quickly. It severely hindered my ability to form relationships with other people throughout my life as well, because I grew up with an underlying subconscious fear of losing anyone else close to me again. As I continued to age and mature, I mentally and emotionally handled bereavement through a plethora of coping strategies and self-developed mindsets. I’ve always been somewhat saddened, and quite melancholic at the sight of close parental relationships, especially seeing people my age being close with a parent, as I feel a sort of deprivation and a sense of envy. Additionally, I never had a family member that physically resembled me in any way (my sister and I both had different fathers, both of us look like our respective fathers as well) and as a result I often felt isolated. I frequently struggled to develop as an individual as I had seemingly no sense of who I was or where I came from, I often felt stranded in the world. Losing my mother was an adversity no child should ever have to endure, and I truly miss her every day.

I was much too young to retain many meaningful memories of her, such as what her voice sounded like, what her laugh sounded like, what she looked like. I never got to know my mother through means other than journals, her obituary, photographs, and many details and stories other people have told me about her. However, I try to stay true to an optimistic outlook, and I’ve often enforced the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. I’ve never really been the religious type, but I do personally believe that every experience, whether pleasant or unfortunate, holds the capacity to emphatically affect me in a meaningful way, and subsequently teach me important life lessons that I will carry with myself forever. As its meaning evolves to me over time, I know that despite having to endure losing my mother, the affliction that resulted was not meant to manifest sorrow, but to assist in my growth as a stronger human being.

Rest in peace mom, I love you so much, and I still think about you every day.

-Love Jeremy

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