"Mom has a brain aneurysm.  Keep calm, and call Karla.  I'll let you know if there are changes or if they're going to do surgery tonight.  I'll be in the ER with Mom."  I called back later, having already taken a sleeping pill because I'd had a headache coming on and wanted to sleep it away.  "Mom isn't having surgery tonight, but tomorrow morning."

With these words, my world started to crash and burn around me.  To give you some perspective on the relationship my mom and I had, let me explain it simply.  In high school, when most kids were rebelling hard and hating parents, my mom was my only true friend that I could count on.  As I matured and aged, she would rely on me for many things.  As she was deaf, I was often her ears in the world, as were my siblings... although, any of them would probably tell you, I was her favorite.  

On 2/23/2014, the mother who I had known, was gone.  Although her physical body stayed until 3/14/2014, I knew she would never get out of that hospital bed.  I would never smell her neck when we hugged.  I would never hear her laugh at my boys, she would never meet my future babies, and she would never stop by my house, Dr Pepper in one hand, Taco Time in the other, just wanting to sit on my couch and play with my son.  

It hurt to go see her in the hospital.  She often wouldn't open her eyes and acknowledge I was there.  It killed me that she had opened her eyes for everyone but me. 

                                  My mothers earrings

                                  My mothers earrings

I had the special opportunity to help clean her up during one of my visits.  It's the moment I truly realized that I was helping my mom let go of this life, much as she had helped me come into my life. 

Saying goodbye to my best friend has allowed me to grow.  It has allowed me to become even closer with my husband and  to my family because I can communicate more effectively without relying heavily on my relationship with my mother. Even more it has allowed me to become closer with my Savior, even when all I can do sometimes is rant and wail that why couldn't my mom have a miracle?

During this photo shoot being vulnerable like that was scary, but I am working through my fears. Being able to show love for my mom and allow people to look at me with tears and stress and whatever emotion is leaking out of my eyes was oddly freeing. It's encouraged me to not be afraid to cry in front of people. I still hate it, but it no longer holds the stigma that I am too "sensitive"- allowing grief to change me which has been one of the best choices I have ever made.

I feel beautiful because I am beautiful and my grief shows that my heart is full of love.  I saw a quote once that said "Grief is the last expression of love that we can have for a person.  The more you love, the more you grieve."  It's the consequence of love. Love breaks your heart, like weight lifting breaks down your muscles, to allow more love into your life, to become stronger and better.