Anniversaries. I’m not talking about the sweet, romantic kind. I’m talking about the dreadful kind that comes every year after you lose someone. The anniversary of death.

Some people don’t understand it. Why certain days are harder than others. I’ve heard, “It’s just like any other day,”. But really, it’s not. It’s a day that time stands still. A day that has a weird feeling in the air. 

It is a day that you are forced to remember. No matter how hard you want to forget. And sometimes it’s not just the idea of someone being gone that you can’t seem to get out of your head, but rather the day, the feelings and the thoughts you had around the time they left. 

As today is the 5 year anniversary of losing my mom, these are some of the feelings I experienced. I wanted to block out the thoughts more than anything, but I couldn’t. For the day itself is a constant remembrance. A constant hint that something is missing.

And along with these reminders come the memories. Now don’t get me wrong, memories are important to keep people in your heart. But memories of GOOD times. Not memories of the horror you’ve faced, of the darkness, of the tears. For me, these are the kinds of thoughts that kept coming into my head on this day.

Because I figured this would happen if I let it, I tried not to think about it. I tried to just acknowledge a thought if it should come, and move on. But sometimes that is simply not possible. Sometimes it is not your decision what your mind lets you think about.

As I head to the cemetery on this uneasy day, I tell myself that I will not cry. And for a while, I truly believe this. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. 

The funny thing is that sometimes, the memories can hurt the most when you are at your happiest. Which sounds crazy, but it’s true. A year ago today, I was a lot sadder than I am now, and when these memories came back I was in such a state to accept them and drown myself in them. But recently, I’ve been happy…. making the horrible memories even more of a shock to the system. 

I head to the gravestone and realize just how much of a shock it actually is, to be presented with the worst moments of your life.

Any possible joy halts to a stop, by the memory of what my life has truly been. Should I let it define me? 

In an instant the memories come rushing back. The ones I’ve been pushing away for so long. When they come, I feel as if I am viewing them from the perspective of how other people saw me. I have tried my whole life to remove myself from the girl in these moments. 

The tears flood down my cheeks as I remember the first day I saw this gravestone. A ten-year-old in a black dress and black patent leather shoes. I close my eyes and feel bad for the girl crying over her mother’s grave. My heart breaks for her. In other words, it breaks for myself. 

I step away from the person I am now, and I watch these moments of a sad little girl.

They rush back. Every single horrible one. The neverending nights in the grim hospital room. The wishing. The tears. The frustration. The anger.  The false hope. The goodbye. The final goodbye.

Sitting in the grass of this peaceful cemetery, it is like my life has just flashed before my eyes. Whereas my life didn’t end that day, it certainly feels like a lifetime away. A lifetime away from who I am now, and from what my life is like now. 

And I can’t help but circle back to the question I asked in the cemetery: Should I let it define me? 

And by it, I mean the memories. You’re probably expecting me to say no. To say that I would never let my past define me. But the truth is, I would not be who I am without those moments. 

They were terrible. They were unbearable. I would never wish them upon anybody. But they did make me into who I am today. Teaching me to love harder, teaching me to be patient, teaching me that you never know what someone is going through.

So maybe define isn’t the right word. Maybe instead I say shape. 

So to my own question, I answer, yes. Yes, these moments did shape me into who I am. I will not push away my past any longer.

All these thoughts brought up by a single day. The anniversary of the day I lost my mom/angel.

5 years without her, and as you can see, she is still teaching me things.

Liv Mazz, aka The Lone Teen, is a suburban 14-year-old living with her father, brother, and Havanese puppy. She is an eighth-grader who enjoys spending time with friends in downtown Westfield NJ.

When not hanging out with her friends, you can find her dancing up a storm at her longtime dance school, running lines to audition for her next show, or singing a ballad on stage. Liv also loves to spend time with her giant Italian family by enjoying a Sunday dinner and great conversation. She cannot wait to begin sharing her story as a not-so-average teen and is super excited to be a brand new addition to The Daily Feels.

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