Just Breathe

March 17, 2018
By Anonymous

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. After school I climb up onto my friends school bus, like any other day I go over to babysit her sisters. I go into the seat with her, somewhere in the front of the bus, like every time, laughing about everything and anything. My phone starts to ring and it is my aunt. Not knowing what was happening I pick it up, “Hello?”

“Are you with your nana? It is an emergency,” she sounded frantic.
“No, I am getting off the bus with Jasmine to babysit her sisters with her.”
“If you talk to her or see her, please tell her to call me,” and with that she hung up. At that point I wondered what she was freaking out about, but she was always the crazy aunt, so I just shrugged it off.
Later that day, a few hours later, I get a call from my nana. “How late can you stay at Jasmine’s?”
“As late as you need me to, she said they could drive me home later,” what is going on?
“Okay. I love you, so much, bye.”

About ten minutes later I got a call from my dad, “Where are you?” He was yelling at me, like I did something wrong.

“Jasmine’s ho-”
“Why is your uncle Tommy calling me to tell me your mom is dead?” He sounded like he was crying, I would be too.
“What!?” I scream at the top of my lungs, in shock. I didn’t start crying yet because I thought it was just miscommunication.
I hung up and immediately called my moms phone. No answer. I call again and my uncle Tommy answers the phone, “Hello?”
“Why did my dad call me and tell me that my mom was dead?” He got off the phone, not hanging up, but I could hear him talking to my nana telling her my dad told me.
“I’m sorry,” he didn’t sound like he was crying.

I thought this was some big joke so I hung up and turned to Jasmine, “My dad said my mom was dead and my uncle just apologized.” She ran out of her room to get her mom.

I could vaguely hear her outside her room, talking to her mom. “Mom, we need you. It is an emergency.”

Her mom came into the room and I told her what I was told. I thought this was some big joke, I told her. She called my Uncle Tommy from my phone, to see if he was joking. I didn’t know what they were saying, I started sobbing into my pillow. At that moment, I realized it wasn’t a joke.

I don’t know what time I stayed there until or how long I cried into the pillow that was designated to me for whenever I slept over. I don’t remember how many days I missed school after that or how long it took me to open up to anyone. I do remember what I was wearing, a white shirt with letters in the top corner in cursive reading K bye. I remember the date and the last conversation I had with my mom. The night before we were talking about Shameless and freaking out about Mickey’s return. The morning of November 29th she told me nana would be driving me to school because she didn’t feel good. I didn’t know that this was going to be the last time I see her so I replied with, “whatever.” She told me she loved me and I replied with “you too.” I regret my last words to her because I should have been a loving daughter and hugged her and told her I hope she feels better.

Every month, for as long as I could remember, she always had a problem in her stomach where she felt like someone was “sticking a knife into her back and twisting”. I thought this was like every other time, where she was fine the next day. I didn’t know this was the last time she wouldn’t feel good.

My mom took anti-depressants and when she didn’t she wouldn’t be herself. Antidepressant medication is the most commonly prescribed treatment for depression. My mom was depressed since she was 18 years old. According to healthline, scientists have proved that people with parents or relatives with depression, are three times more likely to have the condition.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in November, 2017.  Anxiety and depression coexist because anxiety often leads to depression. Having anxiety makes me freak out about way more than my friends; it is hard. I will freak out about the small things, overthink anything, and I am constantly on edge. I take Fluoxetine to treat my depression and anxiety attacks. Last weekend, I was going to a party for my upcoming cruise, in April, to meet everyone going and to plan excursions. I was looking forward to that because not everyone gets to plan and pick when and where they will be snorkeling. I missed a dose of my medicine the night before.


Apparently, the pharmacy called the doctor five times for a refill is not enough, and I need to call them to tell them I need a refill. Plus, the medicine gives me headaches and makes me tired all the time. I don’t think it is working anymore.

I missed one night and I just felt agitated. So, I took a shower and started straightening my hair. I asked my sister, Brianna, and my friend, Jasmine, if I should put my hair half up half down or if I should just leave it all down. But, mid-sentence I started crying. I was upset because my hair was frizzy and I could not figure it out. After about 10 minutes I calmed down. I went into the kitchen to get scissors and my nana asked me why I was crying, so I started freaking out again and balling my eyes out for no reason whatsoever. It just made me more upset that I was crying about absolutely nothing. A few days after that, I went to counseling. We talked about how me missing one day of my medicine is not what made me upset. It was going to the party and getting worked up about that because I don’t know anyone there. Honestly, me not being able to figure out that stuff by myself bothers me. I want to be able to not rely on someone, to be able to figure it out on my own. I go to two counselors; Kelly, every other week, and Becca, once a month.

I started going to Kelly first, right after my mom died, because after moving in with my nana, the school said I need to go to a counselor to stay in Lancaster. My sister and I started together, but she gradually stopped going. Brianna has no emotions. One time, my cousin showed me an article on The Odyssey Online. The article explained things that you’d learn if you lost a parent at a young age. Some of the parts I related to the most were “I HATE when people complain about their parents to me, because at least they have them”, “Don’t take anyone for granted”, “You learn that you are strong”, “You worry about everything, all the time”, and “You live life more.” The article helped me because it made me feel like I was not alone. I am not the first, or only, person to lose a parent at 15. My sister was 12 and she didn’t even get to go Winter Ball dress shopping with my mom, so she had an anxiety attack when we did that. That was the most recent time I saw her cry, and that was over a year ago.

Talking to Brianna is like talking to a wall. If she is saying anything, it is rude. She makes critical statements to everyone and always has an opinion. Brianna is the complete opposite of me. Besides the fact that we watch the same tv shows and will laugh at everything and anything that we find even remotely funny. Our mom taught us to enjoy life and to not focus on the negative things, no matter how hard it is. In my mom's obituary, one of her friends, Lisa Enes, wrote that she always made people feel welcomed and was genuinely interested in how you were. I aspire to be that way. They ended it with “we will remember her as one of the most generous and kind hearted people we’ve known in this world.” Another family wrote that they will always remember her by her smile. She taught me and Brianna to smile at everyone, even if they aren’t smiling back at us. Brianna is 13 years old and I feel obligated to tell her when to say hi to people, when to behave a certain way, or even how to dress if we are going to a party. She doesn’t have the parents to tell her how or what to do and honestly, it sucks.

After my mom died, about 7 months later, my dad left. I don’t know where he is or where he went. I know the last words we said back and forth to each other and I know what I was wearing, as well as him. I remember his phone number, but it’s not his number anymore. He couldn’t keep up with the phone bills, even though he doesn’t need to care for his children anymore. Thinking about my dad is something I oftenly do. I think what life would be like if he were in it. Would he call me if he could? Does he cry as much as I do? Does he think about me as much as I think of him? Will I see him again? When? I try to put myself in his position and think how he feels, losing his wife of 18 years. But, he is the parent. My sister and I lost both our parents in the matter of a month, since our nana got custody right after the death. He wasn’t in the shape to raise us.

No matter what, you’ll rise above. I am strong. When people tell me that I am, I usually roll my eyes or just say thank you. But, I am strong. I grew up in a house with drugs, alcohol, and constantly fighting parents. Most days in my old house I didn’t even have gas, which means we had to go to nana’s house to take showers and do laundry. My mom died when I was 15 years old. My dad left shortly after that. I have gone to four different counselors since then. I go to two counselors now. I take medicine to calm myself down. I live with my nana, who is 78 years old. I need to be a parent figure for my 13 year old sister. I am breathing, I am okay. No matter what, I’ll rise above.

The author's comments:

No one is alone. Every single person is going through something, some people just have more issues than others. Everyone has their thing and it's okay to not be okay. But, it'll be okay eventually.

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