I’ve blogged about it before, and I’m sure I’ll blog about it again one day, but I never stop being amazed at how the stories I love find ways of saying exactly what I need to hear when I need it most.
This time, that story was last night’s new episode of Jane the Virgin, a show I’ve fallen head over heels in love with for its insane ability to make me snort with laughter and cry with sadness and/or joy all in a single episode. While much of the episode last night was fun and campy and about the main characters maaaaajor new crush on someone, it was also about her being vulnerable as a writer, and letting the world see the sides of her which while most painful to face, are the things that shaped her most into the person she is. I felt like I was watching my life via Gina Rodriguez.
But the part that struck me most was a conversation that Jane had with her Abuela, Alba. As Jane was trying to accept the fact that she needs to face the pain she was feeling over a lost loved one, her grandmother said:
You’re in a long term relationship with grief. But it has to evolve, and it’s okay to keep letting go. You have to.
It should be noted that while I watched this episode last night, today happens to be my mother’s birthday—my mother who passed away almost eight years ago.
Her birthday is always a hard day for me to face. Its a day when I should be celebrating her, yet I have to do it knowing I can’t see her. That I don’t get to hug her or bake her a cake or write her a card that would probably make her cry. (A skill I learned from her I should add—giving meaningful cards was kinda our thing. No wonder I ended up a writer.)
My mom was everything to me. Growing up (and even now) I’ve been surrounded by friends who have estranged relationships with their moms or who just aren’t that close with them, while I find myself treasuring beyond measure the eighteen years I had mine. For while we fought, and while I could be a bratty teenager, and while neither of us was ever perfect, my mom was always there for me. Rather than punish me for not being the best, she always encouraged that I try my best. She supported my passions, believing that I could accomplish my many head-in-the-cloud dreams, even when I couldn’t.
But to that quote, hearing it was such a cathartic reminder, that while I miss my mom every. single. day… letting go is part of moving on. Grief is an every day, never goes away kind of experience, in which some days are better than others. Some days you can get through talking about them without crying, some days you can’t. But that line reminded me that no matter what kind of day I’m having—it’s going to be okay.
Here’s to you mom. Happy birthday.
(Ps, it’s really fitting that today also happens to be World Penguin Day, as penguins were her favorite animal on the planet.)