One year ago today, one of the most influential and important people in my life passed away: my mema. In a year where I was faced with a lot of anxieties and various stressors, I could always rely on my mema to support me in whatever I chose to do.
She was the person who told me to go for things that my parents were quick to say no to. She was probably the only person in my family who thought it wasn’t a big deal that I wanted to visit Russia last year. She recognized that I went to school for Creative Writing and therefore enjoyed writing especially in my spare time, and also understood that this didn’t mean that I wanted to be a journalist. She was liberal and very politically and socially aware for an eighty year old woman, supporting gay marriage and refusing to understand racial stereotypes. She felt bad for Barack Obama and thought he had a lot to deal with when he came to office, and that maybe people were being a little too hard on him. When I wanted to leave Long Island for college, she supported it. And then when I decided to study abroad in Italy, she only told me to have an amazing time and be safe – she never argued and told me it was something I shouldn’t do.
In my life I have been met with a lot of resistance from my family, which I know comes with only good intentions. However it gets to be very frustrating to constantly have a barrage of negative, limiting responses when I express interest in doing something different or “scary.” And that’s where my mema came in – to agree with me, support me, and never doubt that I could do anything despite how far outside my comfort zone I might be trying to leap.
I miss having the chance to her to talk to about what’s going on in the news, or telling her what I’m trying to do in my life. She is probably the only person who ever told me to continue writing, which is a big part of why I’m trying so hard to make it as big of a priority as it once was. And that isn’t the only way she inspired me; I aim to be a more positive and happy person because of how she always was. I like to think she’s happy, where ever she may now be, because whenever I have a dream and she’s in it, she’s smiling and laughing.
Death is a scary son of a bitch that steals people from us to take them to a place that no one in the world even slightly understands. It’s hard and painful, but we take what we can from those people to better ourselves and hold a piece of them with us forever. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.
I miss you every day, mema, and I’ll continue to see you in my dreams.