March 31st, 2020. It has now been two whole years since my mother’s tragic passing. I’ve honestly had a hard time coming to terms with that realization, to the point of being sorta obsessed with the passage of time, and trying to make the most out of it given how precious and ephemeral it is. I’m coping with it in a sort of unhealthy duality.

In one hand, it all still feels like it was just yesterday; everything she had to go through the last two and a half years of her life, and the unfairness that this country’s circumstances imposed on her, making an already difficult battle even more uphill and one-sided. On the other hand, I sometimes feel like it’s been an eternity since that tragic Saturday—so much has happened in these past two years, just look at these past three months.

I do feel like I’ve let myself caught in a perpetual loop of trying to heal and self improve, but every time I try to move on I keep stumbling and the cycle begins anew, ultimately going nowhere. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about all that my mother had to go through, and all the things I could’ve and should’ve done differently—as well as all that I wasn’t able to do. The dreams that I constantly have where she’s alive are the ones that crush me once I wake up from them, those really kill me from the inside.

In addition to the ever growing uncertainly of the future, that loop is perhaps why I’ve feel so moody and anxious this past week. I knew some bouts of depression and a worsened insomnia would befall upon me around this date, which I’ve grossly underestimated, cause it’s really doing a number on me. Although I’ve managed to somewhat hold it at bay over the past days by keeping myself distracted and working on a myriad of things, as well as trying my best to help others—doing what little good I can every day.

The past year was nowhere as straightforward as I would’ve wanted it to be. I did made my mother a promise two years ago, and in a way I do feel miserable for failing to fulfill it completely throughout 2019. The legal recourse that I was working during most of 2019 has regrettably hit a bureaucratic wall, which, together with other circumstances, have killed that possibility in the short term. 

All that time and resources wasted for naught in the end, and I’m back to where I was exactly two years ago with regards to legally migrating while being able to take my brother with me—I even put work on my novel on hold for most of 2019 because I was certain that those documents would’ve been the key to a new life. There’s a toll that comes with failure, and I’m feeling it now, Mr. Krabs.

To make matters worse, now we find ourselves stuck in this country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unable to even leave the city of Caracas until the lockdowns are rescinded. While all these social quarantine measures don’t really affect a social outcast such as myself, the uncertainly and stress derived from the state of things doesn’t really give me some ease of mind—our passports expire next year and we still don’t have a visa, time’s ticking.

We can’t even go to church this time around, as my brother and I have done so every month for the past two years ever since she passed away. We aren’t even able to visit her grave for the time being, as transiting through the city has been restricted to health and food trips. I got a few candles to pray cause that’s all we can do these days.

Nonetheless I have, to the best of my limited ability (and with the help of others), provided my brother with all that I have so that he can be as safe and happy as possible; that is, I suppose, an accomplishment of its own. It is one part of the promise that I made to her (to take care of my brother now and always) one that I will continue to do so until the last day of my life.

His sporadic smiles, and the fact that he’s safe, are perhaps evidence that I’ve managed to accomplish something, even if I often feel like I’m not doing enough because I’m not strong enough.

I made the mistake of putting my own physical and mental well being on hold for the past two years because I said that it was something I could simply worry about and work on once I had succeeded in getting both my brother and myself out of this country to start a new life. In retrospective, it really wasn’t a good idea. I’m legitimately worn out and exhausted by all that’s happened in this country and in my life, things that are way beyond my control, and things that have taken a very taxing toll on my mind.

My mother deserved a better son, someone who, unlike me, should’ve gotten their life together long ago, someone who should’ve listened her in time and had studied harder, achieved more educational accolades, and thus, possessing of a professional career and role in this world. Maybe if I had done all that I would’ve had the means to save her—I don’t know, as much as I’ve tried to escape the what ifs of the past they continue to weigh down on me.

Perhaps I should stop delaying it further and seek out help so that I can finally improve and get some self-worth while at it. It’s been two years and if I want to overcome this and be able to become the son she really deserved to have, then I need to take the first step, it’s not something I’ve been able to fix on my own.

I’ve left her room as is as over the past two years, cleaning it every now and then. Heck, there are still some of her clothes in the laundry area of our apartment that I haven’t had the heart to sort out in these past two years.

My own shortcomings, the self-pity of this post, and failures aside, I will continue to give all that I have left and keep going. Hopefully, once this pandemic passes something will finally materialize and I will be at last on track to finally being able to legally migrate with my brother, not to mention that my first novel, Sword of the Nation, its on its way. Then, at last, once my brother is safe and sound outside this country, we’ll both be able to find our own place in this world. Whatever path he chooses, I’ll be sure to be there for him no matter what.

It is what I promised her, it is what I pray for every day, it is what keeps me going.

As I said last year: The good deeds I’ve done, the mistakes I’ve made in the past, my vices, my virtues, my sins, my shortcomings, my peculiarities, my regrets, my extols, all that I am—I’ll embrace it all so that I can carve a great future for my brother and myself. 

I failed to completely do that over the past twelve months, but I won’t fail again this time. I have to give all that I have and become a force of good in this world just like she was in life. But in order to do so, it is time for me to worry about myself for once in my life so that I can finally be able to do all that I promised her. I need to be stronger than ever before for my brother so he can have that better life I dream for him every day.

Maybe that’s the missing piece that’ll make everything else flow: some self-worth and focus on my well-being. One day, which I pray and hope will come soon, I’ll be able to heal and forget through the pain of all these past years, but the one thing I will never forget is the love, education, set of morals, and everything my mother gave to her two sons.

Those are the invaluable treasures she gave the two of us, those are the things that I’ll pass on to the future one day.