"My mom died last night."
These five words changed everything.
I was on the receiving end of the words my boyfriend uttered, and was foolishly waiting for him to take them back, like it was some sort of bad dream I entered.
It seemed like time slowed down dramatically; things seemed to just float, as I tried my best to process the five words before I formulated my own response.
As I raced home from work, my mind kept going back to the night of New Year's Eve, when we rang in 2015 together at a bar with our friends.
I thought of how carefree and happy we were sipping champagne, dancing to club hits and rejoicing, eager to begin a new year. Five different words defined that night for us, and we continued to repeat them as we danced our way into 2015.
“Cheers to a new year!”
I remember my boyfriend and I thinking 2015 would be our year; we were excited for all the positive changes and happiness that would surely come our way.
Our excitement was cut short, however, with the news of my boyfriend’s mother's unexpected passing, which happened only a month later.
Devastation, heartbreak and horror set in to a magnitude I never knew possible. Suddenly, everything changed.
The next few days were a whirlwind. I used to feel lucky that I (up until this point) was unfamiliar with what it felt like to lose a loved one, but as the intense feeling of sorrow consumed our daily lives, I continued to wish I had been more prepared.
Not only was I completely devastated by the events, but I also found myself growing angry.
His mother was in her early 50s, and the passing was so unexpected, it just didn’t seem fair.
My boyfriend is so compassionate and kind and has a heart of gold, and it wasn’t right that the person he cared about most in this world was suddenly taken from him, forcing him to adjust to a new life without her.
Though nobody is ever really ready for the death of a loved one, I can’t help but wish that at 25, he had more time to spend with her.
In just a split-second, five words changed our entire world. But, it didn’t end there.
“My mom had a stroke.”
Five more words came with such force that I wasn’t sure if it was real life or if I was still dreaming.
The only difference with these five words was I was the one uttering them, unable to wrap my head around a new, unexpected event that was to change my life.
I felt like I was at an amusement park on the bumper cars, with bumps and shoves coming from all angles, jolting me violently from side to side.
It seemed that the universe couldn’t decide which path I was meant to be on, so it continuously shook my surroundings until I landed on the path of life best suited for me.
This new path, however, was one I desperately didn't want to be on, and I kept praying that somehow, the nightmare of a ride would stop and allow me to get off so I could run as far away from it as possible.
Ten words and two weeks was all it took. My boyfriend’s mom passed away; my own mom suffered a stroke, and we were all adjusting to the “new normal” we had no choice but to embrace.
It was difficult, however, to wrap our heads around the notion that this was how we began our 2015.
We were not happy, rejoiceful and eager for what was to come our way, but overwhelmed, scared and fearful of what would happen when our ability to tread this water of devastation ran out.
I found solace in the fact that my mother’s stroke was minor and her recovery began shortly after the initial diagnosis.
It was still unbearable at times, as we were still reeling from the aftermath of my boyfriend's loss. Though this sounds terrible, at times, I felt guilty for updating him on my mom’s positive progress.
He would be over the moon with excitement and relieved each time he heard she was getting even better, but I know it destroyed him at the same time.
I know he would give anything to have his mother back with him, even if that meant she was in a hospital on a road to recovery.
Unexpected crying was a new normal to which I had to adjust. I'd feel this huge lump in my throat and a knot in my heart each time I thought of my boyfriend, his mom and mine, all at the same time.
I know my boyfriend had his time for tears, too, and it seemed like the two of us would skirt around each other, taking private time to be emotional, while being strong for one another face-to-face.
We each wanted to be the supportive other-half for each other in the relationship.
Though we had endured so much heartache and strife within the first few months of 2015, we were adamant on making the best of our situations.
One way we managed to do this was forcing ourselves to smile and laugh at some point during each day, no matter how difficult doing so seemed to be.
We laughed at little things. We laughed at big things. We laughed at dumb things, serious things and everything in between.
We found ways to make each other smile each day and ways to brighten the mood by constantly remaining positive.
Though this was quite difficult in the beginning, it has become easier with time, as we continue to pick up the pieces and move forward.
We began our relationship by finding common ground on a similar sense of humor and it still proves to be a beneficial asset for us.
We have also come to realize that as great as it is to laugh, it's also okay to cry. And, it's okay to be pissed off, bitter and sad. But, we only let each other feel these types of emotions for a short while before we think of something optimistic.
We are thankful for each other, family, friends and all the other great things that have remained a constant in our world.
Going into the New Year, we looked forward to great changes in our lives and never could have predicted we would be faced with so much heartache.
Though we still have our days when negativity creeps in around us, we continue to remain confident and hopeful that we will be able to come out of this with an even stronger relationship than we had before.
Despite not having the greatest start, we remain eager for positive turnarounds as the year progresses and we are confident that together, we will be able to face whatever obstacles come our way.
It's been said that everyone loves rooting for an underdog, and as long we as have each other, we are confident we will be able to make 2015 one fantastic comeback story.