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Lost my mom today

by Neil Bui

I lost my mom today. I came home at 8 a.m. after being out all night and my Autistic sister opened the door for me. Then I saw my mother laying on the floor. Everything else after that happened so fast that the day flew past me. The 911 call. The first officer arriving. Calling my family. Answering questions for the officers. Going to the station. Being interviewed. Seeing my father who I haven’t seen in over a year. Seeing him break down. Breaking down myself. Interview. After Interview. After Interview. Handling my sister’s uncontrollable tantrums. Assisting crime scene experts to obtain evidence from my sister. Locating a place to stay for the night.

I’m still processing what I saw this morning, so I don’t want to spend this time writing about it when I’m not ready to talk about it. Instead, I’m trying to focus on the positives and avoid having regrets. Regrets like not being home early last night when my mom left me a voicemail at 7 p.m. asking me to be home early. Regrets like not going home after dinner. Like not going home after dropping off my cousin. Like not going home after seeing my girlfriend. Like not going home sooner and not staying at Denny’s until the sun was up.

My cousins told me to be thankful that the universe kept me alive to take care of my sister. To be thankful that I was away from the danger. To be thankful that I can still do things to make my mom proud and all her sacrifices worthwhile.

I should be thankful my mom let me move out when I was 15 so I could finish high school. So I could get into a local private school for college with most of my tuition covered. So I could graduate from college and obtain my B.S. So I could find a job I enjoy and make a decent living.

I realize I should be especially thankful for the family I have through her, all the cousins and aunts and uncles that took time today to support me and comfort me on the worst day of my life. I don’t know if I could have survived today if I didn’t have people making sure my sister and I had basic necessities like food and water, felt comfortable, weren’t bothered by other family members blowing up my phone, and reminded at every low point of the day that family was there and always going to be there.

I’m never going to be able to buy my mom a house now, and every time I remind myself of that fact I begin breaking down. But I tell myself that I can still be a good son if I make sure my sister is safe and happy. My mom gave up so much for me just in hopes that I would grow up to be someone that would repay her back tenfold. But I’m not. I’m going to do whatever it takes to repay her one hundredfold. I spent so many years in school just coasting by, doing the bare minimum and still meeting expectations, but for once in my life I don’t just want to finish something like graduate school. I want to dominate. I want to make sure that I put as much effort and care into work, school, and life as my mom did for my sister and me. Today I found out exactly how much I could cry in one day, tomorrow I’m going to find out exactly what I can accomplish when I set my mind to it.

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