The weekend before finals week, during my freshman year of college, I received a 2 a.m. phone call from my dad. I knew right away something was wrong. He told me that my mother was dead. My stepdad had killed her.
I felt like the world came crashing down on me. I felt that I had to be the strong one; I had to hold my family together. In the end, the bravery I was trying to portray only hurt me. I spent the next three years living in fear and deep depression. The one brief silver lining happened during the trial, when my testimony helped secure a life sentence for my stepdad. This, however, was fleeting. My grades were struggling, and there were weeks when I just couldn’t get out of bed.
I finally decided that I needed help. I didn’t have to be strong and try to heal on my own. That is when I entered counseling. After being properly diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (a product of the abuse I received at the hands of my stepdad, followed by the death of my mother), I was able to finally help turn my life around. While I do have my sad days, and my anxiety is still a little bit higher than the average person’s, I can say without a doubt that I am healing.
Just know that you don’t have to be alone in your grief. Sometimes, the best people who can help are trained counselors or therapists. You can spill your guts and know that no one will ever find out what you said. I hate the expression “time heals all wounds.” I don’t think one can ever be ”healed.” I think it’s more like a scar. You will always think of this person and miss them, but it does stop hurting as much after a while. My only regret is not getting help sooner. However, now that I have, I feel excited about my future. I am going to live a life that will make my mother proud.