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The Antelope

Ruiz learned a few things along the way


Losing a parent doesn’t ever define you
By: Lindsey Ruiz

We go through our lives with unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. We expect everything to work in our favor, no matter the situation. But guess what? Our lives are like a highway; there are bumps along the way. Life throws curve balls at you, but the question remains: can you overcome these obstacles?

I can tell you that seven years ago I would have never guessed to be where I am today. In 2011, on my brother’s birthday, life threw a curve ball at me. My mother passed away suddenly, and I felt like my life was over. I was only 13 years old and the only parent I had was gone. There was nothing that I could have done to prevent this roadblock in my life. All I could do was cope in my own way and deal with the situation at hand.

Eight things I’ve learned along the way after losing a parent:

1. It’s OK to not be OK.

I wasn’t OK for a long time. Sometimes I feel like I’m still not OK , and I probably will never be OK. Losing a parent changes you. People will try and understand what you’re going through, but unless they’ve been through it, they won’t. I learned that it was OK  to admit that I was in pain, that I wasn’t OK .

2. You will cry, no matter how long it’s been.

Two months, two years, it doesn’t matter. It’s awful. You’re hanging out with friends, driving in your car or out with the family. A song comes on or you see something, and it suddenly hits you. You just completely break down, and nobody understands why.

3. People will complain about their mom/dad right in front of you.

I HATE it when people complain or say rude things about their parents to me; at least they have them. It makes my heart ache when I see someone treating their parents terribly. I would give anything to have my mom yell at me to take the trash out or ask me to just hang out with her. It’s the little things that count. Call your mom or dad and tell them you love them.

4. Other parents will do their best to be your “second parent.”

It’s totally OK to have another friends parent be your “second mom or dad.” Trust me, I had one, but nobody will ever replace your mom or dad. It’s totally OK  to let others care for you and show you that they are proud of you. My “second mom” is there for everything, from how to do something to filling out paperwork.

5. Stop feeling guilty.

I was at school and had talked to my mom on the phone about an hour before she passed away, suddenly, with no explanation. All I ever thought about was, what if I had been home? What if I had been with my mom? Would she still be here today? Stop feeling guilty because you weren’t there. Stop feeling guilty because you cannot remember their voice or things you used to do together. Remember that it’s not your fault.

6. Timing is everything.

After losing my mom, I realized that everything can be gone in the blink of an eye. This can make you paranoid and you worry about everything. My biggest thing was when someone didn’t answer their phone, I worried… A LOT… Timing is everything; don’t ever wait to say something you been wanting to or need to… JUST DO IT.

7. You learn who your true friends are.

I had a friend with me when I found out my mom had passed away. She and her family went above and beyond to help me in any way. Your true friends aren’t just that typical, “I’m sorry for your loss.” They are there through it all, going above and beyond. They do everything in their power to help you as best as they can. Some people cannot cope well with difficult situations and they bail. That’s OK . 

8. You become more attached to others.

After losing my mom, I attached myself to all my friends and family. My biggest attachment was with my mom’s dog. I wanted to show him that even after losing my mom he still had me. You try so hard to show them that you love and care for them. You give consistent reminders that you are there and will never leave because all you want is for someone to be that way toward you. You want the affection from the attachment.

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