Anyone who has done theater since the mid-90’s knows this. It’s the most recognized song from the show RENT.
It’s the minutes in a year.
And for me, it’s the amount of time I’ve been without my mom.
I’ve had a lot of practice with grief. Years of losing friends and peers. And what I’ve learned through my practice is that I actively hate it. I’m not good at it. I hate the feeling of sadness, the loneliness, this flesh-eating hole that swallows you up. I know I’ve said before how perpetually optimistic I am. And I am. Grief, that sadness, is the opposite of my optimism. And I think that’s part of the reason I hate it so much.
I had been dreading Thursday for about a month. I stopped looking at my memories on Facebook, seeing where just weeks before she died, my Mom had liked something destroyed me. They were so terribly bitter sweet because I knew what was coming. That Kati before April 13, didn’t know. She was blissful in her little happy world where she was writing, and raising her little family, keeping all of her ducks in a row.
And then death and grief knocked her world off by three feet.
Those first few weeks were like walking through a world I knew, but every thing just felt a little out of place.
But, there is a little relief in the one-year mark.
Because in those 525,600 minutes I have lived through all of the firsts without my mom. I have lived through our birthdays, holidays, random irritations at life, rejections, and writers block. I have lived through successes (both personal and professional) and exciting things, going back to camp, and performing again.
I have lived through them and at times the grief was so overwhelming I couldn’t swallow.
But I made it through this year. And I will make it through the next and the one after that. And though I will probably still reach for my phone and long to call her, I’ve done the first terrible year. And dude, can we all agree that 2016 was a hell of a year to do without someone?
There is hope. And with the hope is the ability to keep writing, keep performing, keep raising my family.