This week the year of firsts came to an end; first Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. without my mom. It was a bittersweet day on Wednesday, relief knowing the first year, which I had always thought would be the most difficult, and sadness knowing I had gone a whole year without being able to talk to my mom the way I used to. There was also a sense of pride in knowing I had come through it pretty much intact as well. Yes, I’ve had my moments of being puddled on the floor, but I’ve discovered that those moments pass and that I’m strong enough to go on with my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, and it’s been the most important education of my life. I think the main lesson has been the need to not give into the fear of the unknown. There were so many times during my transcription course when I didn’t think I could go on, it was too hard, and I just doubted myself so much it nearly paralyzed me. But I also knew that my mom would want me to continue and fight through it, so I did, and now I’m working again. That’s been immensely important for my psyche and self-esteem.
When my mom died, I had largely shut myself off from the world because of my stuttering. Part of the reason was that I had been so burnt out taking care of my mom, that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with my speech issues anymore. The other part was my neighbor who had brainwashed me into thinking I was disabled and unable to speak for myself. It was only after he assaulted me, which I now feel was an attempt to convince me that I was helpless to do anything about his advances because I needed his help in order to function, that I realized I had to stand on my own. Stuttering or not, I had to face the world head on and not hide anymore. I’ve had some missteps since then, but now I feel solidly on my own path to where I was meant to be. And even though I know my mom isn’t physically with me anymore, I know that no matter where I go, she is always with me in spirit. I know that even though she is far away, she is still closer than I think.