I'm no stranger to death, but when my daughter passed away last year with AIDS related complications, death took on a different meaning. My life spiraled out of control. A parent should never have to bury their child and when she died, not only did death enter my world, but devastation and destruction soon followed. I found myself sinking into a quagmire of darkness. A plethora of emotions exploded within my soul. Tiny shards of anger and grief ripped my heart apart.
I tried to protect my baby as all mother's want to do, but the day she turned eighteen she left home. She moved a thousand miles away and began an unsavory lifestyle. My daughter became a prostitute. At that moment, I knew I had lost her. I'd always hoped she would come back home, but she didn't until it was too late.
My daughter went from pillar to post for almost ten years. Her choices affected me to the point I stopped communicating with her. I didn't want to know what she was doing, so I shut her out of my life. My heart turned to stone. I became a monster instead of a mother.
Several years passed without an exchange of words. When I finally received a phone call from her, my world was ripped apart. The day she told me she had HIV, I begged and pleaded for her to come home but she refused. I was supposed to protect her and I failed.
I laid awake at night, my heart ached to hold my baby girl. I worried about her safety. She was still in another state and I had no way to get to her. Once again she got silent and I didn't hear from her until five months before she died. This time the news was dire. My worst fear had come true. She had AIDS and was dying.
With much pleading I finally convinced her to come back home. When I went to the bus terminal to pick her up, I hardly recognized my baby girl. She was rail-thin and gaunt. I was flabbergasted. She was a walking skeleton. I raced to my daughter and enveloped her in my arms. Tears of disbelief stung my eyes. My baby girl had come home to die.
For a short period of time, I had another chance. I could tell her I was sorry for not being there when she needed me the most. I could spend one last Mother's Day with my baby girl. After Mother's Day she deteriorated fast. I watched her struggle as the life was sucked from her soul.
I counted down 'D' Day. Weeks became days. Days became hours. Hours became minutes and minutes became seconds. My world came to a crashing halt on Memorial Day. It ended when my daughter took her last breath.
Over the next few weeks, I fell into a deep depression. I actually thought about committing suicide. Darkness overtook my soul and wouldn't let go. I shut myself off from my family. I hid inside the darkness of depression. I couldn't find my way out. It wasn't until I received my daughter's ashes that I knew it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. Over time,I learned to harness my emotions. I couldn't change what happened nor could I hide away in the darkness.
The past year has flown by and I still have dark moments when my daughter's death seems surreal. Her death saddened my heart and made me bitter. There are days when I want to crawl back into the darkness.
My daughter's death gave me a different perspective on who I am now and who I want to become. It has also taught me out of any negative there will always be a positive. Losing my daughter to AIDS has had the most positive impact on my life, changing who I am forever.
I knew if I kept going down the path of destruction, my life would have ceased to exist. I learned to turn my despair into joy and to celebrate in the daylight instead of living in the darkness.