What losing my mother at 21 has taught me

What losing my mother has taught me about life can be summed up into one word, love.

The next second is not even guaranteed, and that’s a fact. I remember the last night I spent with my mom, we were lying in bed together talking about my future, my current relationship, and about our lives in general; she was my best friend. Before we went to sleep, we held each other’s hands and sat up to pray for each other without knowing that the next day, my life was about to change forever. I remember the last time I saw her, she was waving goodbye as I took off driving. I clearly remember telling myself that I never know what life can bring and I want to have this memory of my mom waving goodbye forever, and I am so glad I did. The 4 a.m. call from the police that next morning is my worst phone conversation up to date. “Your mom is in the ICC, she just had a car accident you need to get to the hospital right away.” Brain death, I took the car 3 spins to put my mother to rest. I will forever thank God it was an instant moment. My life from that point on marked the beginning of an imaginable growth, pain, and love.

I am writing this a little after a year. To sum up my past year is tremendously difficult, I’ll be brief and share that I had moments where I wished death upon myself, I cried so much my eyes were irritated and my nose would bleed, I didn’t shower one time for a week straight, and I had way too many responsibilities to take care of since I had no family here in the Texas, that I just wanted to crawl under a rock forever. But I didn’t. Even though I missed a whole week of final exams my first semester of my last college year, I graduated. I had to plan a memorial service, empty a house and sell it, finish school, keep my job, deal with lawyers and banks, and much more. It was painful and mentally draining but I believe with all of my heart that there was a power deep within me that helped me push forward and gave me daily strength.

Too many lessons to learn from never knowing that life can be gone at any second without the slightest warning, but one of the biggest ones I can share is that love can cure anything. Without the help from friends, family, and others around me throughout all the mess, I would not have survived spiritually and probably physically. The countless free meals I got at the hospital from my mom’s friends, the help I got moving out from place to place, the faculty and staff that were understanding of my situation, and all the love and support that I received from my best friends. I believe God was present through it all because I saw him helping me through others. It is amazing what genuine love can do.

Since the beginning of our human development, we are always taught and shown how to love. Movies show us romantic fairy tales, adults tell us to behave and smile at family members during the holidays, we are taught manners, tips on how to be a good person, behavior at school, etc. We get taught how to love that we forget or fear to love GENUENLY. I realized that in contrast, hate is never taught. The problems we see around the world or the negative sides from people come from someone who felt a lack of love. Love, love is the complete opposite but we fear showing it. We believe that love has a specific method and that love needs to be careful who it is given to, that it cannot be too much or too little and we must strategize it. The “love” we have shown sometimes is not genuine. We didn’t genuinely want to help that person, we didn’t genuinely want to say hi to your boss, we didn’t genuinely want to hug our visitor’s goodbye. It is something to truly think about that could change the world. When people saw the struggle I was going though, I received so much genuine love that it was the perfect medicine, energy, and support that I needed.

If I can give everyone in the world one piece of advice is to learn to genuinely love. Appreciate every individual because we are all members of planet earth. We all have to go through the hardships and happiness of life not knowing who gets to stay a little longer or leave a little early. We all wake up, take a breath and go through the day without knowing what life can bring. Stay conscious that everyone is writing their story and finding the self, so that the next smile you give or the next person you help, you get to be a part for that person’s growth whether you chose it to be love or not. Love is needed by everyone and the more we give that to each other, the more we will see God though everyone else ultimately, love is God and God is love.


Valeria Ochoa

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