by shannon celeste
(nashville tn)

i am 20 years old. i just lost my beautiful funny confident worldly talkative sophisticated crazy wonderful mama 2 days after christmas of 2010.i was 19, mama was 43. breast cancer was the thing that took her. 4 years of a mastectomy, chemo, health, radiation, health, cancer spreading, first to her bones, her liver, then her brain. in the final months, her writing deteriorated, her speech slowed and got confused a little, she needed help walking, getting up, bathing. i was there, for all of it i had her.
it has been a year and some days. it has been one day. in this year, i have lost everything. my mama and i lived in a beautiful home that she made for the two of us, we watched project runway and friends and all our favorite shows together, cooked yummy munchies, did each other's nails, i would tuck her in at night. before she got really sick, we'd go to parties together, see movies, have dinner. she was mama to my friends, boyfriends, she was everyone's best friend. but i was the lucky one. i was special. &&that made me special to everyone else too.
in this year, i've been arrested 3 times, first possession, then dui, then finally a few weeks ago, schedule 1 with intent to resale. &&i lost 2 cars 3 phones not to mention my home, &&am just hoping now that my college advisor will help me figure out my financial situation so that i can stay in school. but i'm not a bad girl. i'm a lost girl.
in this year, i've been homeless. i've been hungry. i've been robbed. i've stolen, from stores, for food, for necessities, sometimes for wants. i've been uninvited to our family christmas. i've been on drugs. i've stayed drunk. i've broken down. i've been raped. i've been used. i've used others. my mom would not be proud of any of this. that's not her daughter. that's not me. i've lost myself.
i have family, i have friends. i live right now with my mom's sister, her best friend, my aunt who has always been a huge part of my life, way before mama ever got sick. but my aunt has a life already. she has a 16 year old son, an 8 year old son, a husband, a house, a day-to-day that has never included me until now. now she doesn't know what to do with me. no one does. i don't.
the word that comes to mind over &&over is hopeless. but the thing is, my core, everything about me, everyone i come into contact with, i'm the eternal optimist. i have a sunny outlook on life, and my own life. but i have nothing. i'm sad. i'm angry. i'm so angry that no one else understands, that my cousin sits and gets everything he wants not to mention his mama's undying affection just like i'm used to. but i have to scrape change to buy contact solution for my eyes. that my best friend just called literally having a breakdown over a dXXXXXbag who stood her up tonight. they have no idea. they don't know what it's like to live in a NIGHTMARE.
above all these quasi-materialistic things that have so far made up my "life"- never needing to worry about money, or anything adult, because I'm a little girl, i just want my mama back. i want to cuddle up with her soft body, i want to make her coffee, i want to hear that crazy contagious laugh that made so many people fall in love with her, i need her. i need her hugs and kisses. i need my number one fan. i need the only person in my life i ever cared to please. &&i don't know what to do now. it's been a year &&some days, and the fog is just beginning to lift, or maybe it's only separating some. i don't want this life. i want my old one back, i'd do anything for it. i want normalcy, or what was normal to me. i want my mama. i'm crying &&screaming and i don't know how to ever get better.
shannon celeste daughter of connie dial

Comments for WTF

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Jan 07, 2012
by: Shannon

Elena, first off I want to tell you how sorry I am for your losses. My best friend is my sister and vice versa and she's been such a strength and wonderful distraction in my darkest hour. Losing her would create such a void in my life.
In a moment of vulnerability &&loneliness I was feeling a few nights ago, I poured my feelings out to this blog, having done just what you did when I googled "i miss my mom and i'm sad". It's amazing, in so many ways you said what everyone who loves me has been telling me, and what I have felt for a few months now. Throughout this year I have gone through stages of grief with such intensity and aggressiveness, as you can tell, that I am almost nearly past the point of return. You see this in my story, which is so amazing to me. In the days since I shared this glimpse of my short life, I have made the move to return to college full-time and have begun looking for work and settling on a place to live much closer to campus. I guess I'm just trying to say I've finally found some inner strength. People always tell me how strong I must be. I'm really not. Everyone who experiences it must move through their tragedy.
Your sentiment touches &&inspires me. Talk to your daughter. Share your concerns with her. Help her. Be the best mama you can be to her. I also need to take steps in recovering my mental &&emotional health. Writing letters sounds nice. I usually end up saying the words out loud.
Celebrate your best friend. Life doesn't get any better without them, these people we shared such a short time with are the most special of gifts, but you adjust, as you must already know.
Peace, love, &&happiness to you and your family,

Jan 05, 2012
by: Elena

Dear Shannon, I don't why I'm writing to you or if it will help in any way, but I want to write to you anyway. My best friend just died unexpectedly yesterday so I just googled 'steps for grieving' and found this website and read your blog. When one of my sisters died of AIDS I wrote letters to her when the pain of missing her was too much. I just put the letters in a drawer next to my bed. It was very helpful because I felt that somehow she was receiving my messages. I felt she had become an angel so she could remain with us or comfort and protect us. I would find white feathers in odd places and felt it was a message from her. But I believe I wouldn't have noticed them or felt comforted if I hadn't been open to it. My sister believed in the goodness of others to the point where some took advantage of her. Like your Mother, she brought joy and love to everyone.

I believe your Mother is watching out for you, even though you feel hopeless. When we're in pain it's easy to temporarily lose sight of the good in our lives. But I see in what you wrote that you are aware and grateful for the blessings in your life even though so much seems uncertain and you are having so many painful experiences.

I believe your Mother would want you to build on what she demonstrated to you through how she lived her life, through the courage with which she faced her illness, through the love that she continued giving even when she knew she was dying. She gave you the gift of life and all that she knew best.

I believe that you have all that you need to take charge of your life before it's too late and live a life that you and your Mom would be proud of. It may mean that you need to ask for help with your addiction, but you have to start somewhere and today can be the day that you consciously start to turn your life around.

I have a 24-year old daughter who is making some bad choices that are making her life harder and that may have negative impacts for years to come. She has bipolar disorder and ADHD and doesn't want to get help or treatment for it so instead she is allowing the illness to run her life. As her mother, it is breaking my heart and worries me to no end. But until she decides to get help, there's not much we can do except love her.

Your family loves you but it's up to you to take the steps to heal your life. Change your thinking and your expectations and your life will start to shift. I know you have it in you or you wouldn't have reached out. Go to an AA meeting or a similar group where you can talk with others who are taking action to improve their lives.

You are an adult now. Build on the love and nurturing that you received from your Mother and that you so beautifully gave to her. You have the advantage of youth. Have a new and greater vision for yourself, then go make it happen, one step at a time. Don't wait until it's too late. Embrace yourself and your life.


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