Hi. *deep breath*
Uhm … Last December, I turned 32 years old. I knew that this was going to be difficult. I always knew. I just didn’t know how it would go exactly.
You see, 32 is the age my mom was diagnosed with her cancer. She fought it for 8 years before eventually succumbing to it. She was 32, I was 8. I am currently 32 and my daughter is 9. I figured that this wasn’t a coincidence.
Things started getting weird for me in November. I started questioning everything around me. Work, my marriage, motherhood – all of me. Everything that used to make sense in my life.
I was going through every day zombie-like. I felt empty.
I went through each day because I knew I had to, but I went hiding in my bed any chance I had. Everyone was excited about Christmas. I didn’t give a fuck. I was at the lowest of lows. Christmas was just another reminder of everything I didn’t have in my life anymore, without realizing that I was ignoring everything that I do have.
My birthday was on a Friday. I cut myself off from social network. Friends and family greeted out of habit. My good friends looked for me, worried. My husband let me go on with my day, not knowing what the hell to do to make things right. I was a ticking bomb and he was walking on egg shells.
I realized something important that evening though as I stared out into the dark night.
My mom was first diagnosed at 32. She was young, she still had her whole life in front of her, she was a loving and caring wife, and she was a mother. 15 years after losing her I finally saw my mom for who she was. A warrior.
I then thought to myself. What is it that I ask for when I pray? Money, no. Popularity, shit no. I silently ask to be able to see my only daughter grow up. To see her become the woman she’s supposed to be.
If we lived of our courage, my mother would have lived to be 100, unfortunately, the medical treatment was too much for her body to handle. My father and I held her hand and whispered to her comforting words as she took her last breath. And when she did, a single tear rolled down her face. I’ll never know if it was a tear of regret or contentment or relief.
I find it amazing that after all these years, my mom is still able to give me one hell of a life lesson.
I always said to my husband and friends that if one day I was diagnosed, I wouldn’t accept treatment. Mainly because I didn’t want my daughter to go through what I did. Seeing my mom vomiting in the middle of the night, struggling to walk, being rushed to the hospital, seeing her scars. But in fact, I missed to see the biggest lesson my mom wanted to show me. Courage.
The courage to fight for what I want.
So the past 3 months have not been easy. My husband and I probably had the worst fights we’ve ever had so far, I’ve ignored my beautiful baby girl as well as the youngest member of our family, Bogart the Pug. But we’re working things out now.
I’ve always been a half-full glass kinda girl and I wish to stay so. And as I’m typing up this post, my tears are flowing down my face, but it’s all good. I finally feel something again– it’s not hollow and empty inside me anymore.
I don’t think anyone would have guessed what was really happening in my head and heart. As transparent as I can be, I am also extremely discreet. I put on a happy face day after day, but as soon as I got home, I was in bed or at the window staring blankly outside.
But these past 3 months have also been filled with laughter, love, and care. I was just too down to see it.
Looking back, here are some of the things that happened in the past 3 months that I am thankful for:
Surprisingly, a new friendship. We’ll see how that goes in the future.
Friends and Colleagues that appreciate Filipino cuisine. <3
A little snow, but not too much. Snow is beautiful when you’re warm at home, but driving on snow is another thing!
The birth of my beautiful nephew / Godson on the eve of my birthday. <3
Christmas dinner with friends.
Trainees who spoil me too much (clearly, no detox here)
Aside from food, I also got this beautiful Christmas Poinsettia from my trainees.
I also got to spend 2 days with my half-sister and her husband. We ate lots and lots of oysters – my favorite seafood.
We took a day off to go to Luxembourg to buy Filipino products.
After 6 years of being in France, we finally enjoyed some good ol’ Balut.
Sadly, we only went once to the Metz Christmas Market, which if I’m not mistaken was ranked 6th in Europe.
And finally, of course New Year’s Eve. A memorable one, that one. LOL. I’ll have to tell you all about it in another post.
And so this … this is how I wish to remember the time I turned 32.