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Learning to Hope | #7secondstories

TW: Mentions of death and suicide 

Ever since I was little, my mom has been my best friend. She had this spectacular way of walking the line between being parent and friend. She was so humble, so smart, so kind. My mom is the one who taught me to love music and the arts. She figured out that I would study music well before I actually surrendered to the idea. She encouraged me to pursue what I loved, always listened, always sought to understand. She taught me the value of hope and how to encourage others. 

When I was 16, my mom got breast cancer for the second time. It wasn’t very aggressive for quite a while, so it was easy to hope that she would recover. I remember finishing high school without really worrying about the possibility of mourning my mother before I was ready. 

During my freshman year of university, my mom’s cancer started to spread and she started to lose weight. It became evident that the cancer would win the battle, we just didn’t know when. I remember laying on my bed in my dorm wondering if mom was going to pass away before the end of my freshman year. 

Thankfully, she held on a while longer. It wasn’t until I took a semester off between my sophomore and junior years of university that I realized she probably wouldn’t make it to my graduation. And unfortunately, she didn’t. I moved into my off campus housing to start my junior year of university in January 2019 and my mother passed away one month later. 

I cried so much during that semester. So many moments mom missed. So many questions I wanted to ask her. The realization that she would miss important events in my life (first date, senior recital, graduation, wedding) ate at me. My best friend was gone. The one I trusted the most was gone. 

Insurmountable emptiness. That one phrase describes the next nine months of my life.

I couldn’t shake the loneliness, the pain.

I consistently had to remind myself that mom wasn’t there. And that task itself brought with it the most intense feelings of depression that I’ve ever felt.

That summer was the worst summer for my mental health. I had lengthy panic attacks, I was always alone, and I often felt way in over my head. I vividly remember this one morning where I went through all the motions of getting ready for my day. I put on my camp uniform and went downstairs to greet mom. And she wasn’t there. I sobbed. Then I panicked. Then I sobbed because I panicked. This sort of thing happened many times that summer. It was exhausting,

I went back to university that semester. I am very thankful that I made friends who I could trust. My housemates were delightful and the few friends I had in my classes encouraged me greatly. It was really the perfect environment for hope to grow. But, for whatever reason, I still felt alone. I still felt like no one would miss me if I was gone. I felt useless, unloved, and entirely incapable of being loved. 

One particular day, I sat in class and couldn’t focus. I thought about the logistics of suicide. I made a plan. Then I freaked out. I didn’t really want to kill myself, but I didn’t really want to live. 

I ended up telling a few trusted friends and promising myself that if I ever felt so strongly about suicide again, I would call all five of them so they could help me out of that frame of mind. I would even text the hotline from time to time if I didn’t feel comfortable using my voice to express my feelings. I slowly but surely allowed myself to believe my friends when they told me that I was placed on earth for a purpose.

I slowly learned to hope. 

It’s coming up on two years since my mom passed and I still don’t have it all together.  There are still moments when I don’t want to live. I still text the hotline. But I’ve learned to find value in my life. I’ve learned to have (and hold on to) the smallest bit of hope. I am still learning, still grieving, but still hoping.

Never give up holding onto hope.

Written by: Anonymous

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