Being a manic writer, I often write poetry when I was experiencing strong emotions. In particular, I can pour out my heart in poetry, especially when I am sad or miserable. The other end of the spectrum would be elation or joy and sometimes, the littlest things make me so happy that I can’t help but write about them. The hardest time for me to write is when I am grieving. Not just an ordinary passing, but a grieving so deep that it tears at the roots of my soul. A grieving so painful that it chokes me to even think of anything else. It’s only when I finally get over the deepest of that despair that I am able to write anything as personal as a poem. Everything else is mechanical.
I know the first time I grieved so much that I could not write was when my brother next to me died. He was two months shy of 21. Worse yet, he died three months before my wedding, my first marriage. I don’t know if that had any effect on me, but I know everything was a blur and I barely even remember anything that happened at that wedding. Most lately, I could not even write a piece for the Weekly last Friday the 13th, when,upon waking up and glancing at what sort of email I had to deal with that day, I learned the woman who had been my history teacher in senior high, my vice principal then principal when I was teaching in high school, my dean when I started teaching college, my coordinator for a team book project, my friend, personal adviser, confessor, surrogate mother, mentor, job-provider, client, and so much more had died. I was paralyzed with grief, literally. I could not think of anything else, could not eat. When I published a post about my despondency on FB, a friend suggested watching TV–and I did, for all of Friday and Saturday I binged on TV shows and did not eat and still, of course, did not feel better. Words rushed through my head and more than once, I was drawn to write but each time I pulled up my laptop, waves of grief washed the words away. It took me the whole weekend to just get over it–and I slept all day Sunday, waking up in the early evening, and had my first meal in two days. Thank goodness for books and TV and friends who pull you out of it. I know I don’t have exclusive rights to grieving for her, after all, she had 3 children of her own, and, being what she was, she had touched so many lives before me and after me. I would like to believe she was greatly loved by everyone whose lives she had touched because that was just the kind of woman she was–selfless, nurturing, caring, encouraging. She went out of her way to help people and she was strong, understanding, supportive, and very intuitive. I know many times she would guess what was on my mind or in my heart and I needed to explain very little for her to comprehend. While I would like to believe I was special, I know she could just make everyone feel special, as if they were her children, as if they were the only ones who mattered to her at the moment.
I have finally come to a point when I can grieve without it drowning me because from this moment on, I will be celebrating everything she was, not just to me but to the hundreds of other girls who have turned women and will live on with a bit of her soul in our hearts. I don’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will promise that I will step up my game because she knew I could always do more; I will revive the determination and drive that I used to have; I will rebuild my confidence in myself because she always believed in me and I will not let her down.
This is for you, Dr. Mary Ann Mallilin Covarrubias. I know you’re cheering somewhere up in the ether as I write this.