Como Coco or Como Coco Racío…. Sweet or Bitter Sweet moments in my life. I’ve had my fair share, however, the one that stands out the most, is when my mother died on my birthday. Yes, you heard me right, my mother died on my birthday. Just think about it, let that emotion sink in, so can you imagine for those that have had or have a caring and loving mother. Envision your mother dying on your birthday? Well, it sucks, just putting it mildly.
I know what you are probably thinking. That is just tragic that your mother passed away on your birthday. That you will always remember for the rest of your life, your mother died on your birthday. You will never be able to celebrate your birthday again.
After, wallowing in my grief with a double whammy. I would start to think that, I’m not the only one that has experienced something tragic. “It could be worse.” Those thoughts “It could be worse.” somehow would ease the discomfort and lessen the pain for me. Sometimes “It could be worse” would help me lift up my spirits or I better yet, I would think. I should count my blessings because I could be living in the worst circumstances.
Yes, I do realize people have had and are experiencing far worst in their life. The notion of someone else having it worst then me… would help me get out of my funk. However, it happened just the other day someone said, “It could be worse” after hurricane Florence just recently swept through our area in N.C. I thought of those words “I could be worse” and had an Aha moment… that is what people say to placate their emotions. I thought how messed up is it, to think that way. You ask, Why?. Saying “It could be worse” is messed up thinking because I shamed myself into thinking that I shouldn’t feel sad about my mother’s passing and that I should get over it, and be strong.
I would then begin to think how my daughters will never get to experience my mother’s love, and the feeling of sorrow would wash over me again. I then would proceed to spiral downward into the deep rabbit hole of depression. I would think my mother is in a better place now, she is no longer suffering in pain. I would ebb and flow and experience a roller coaster of emotions.
The thoughts of how dare I or I shouldn’t celebrate my birthday. I would shame myself into not feeling the pain of my loss. Losing my mother and the loss of not being able to celebrate my birth. It was one of my bitter-sweet moment. However, I’ve had the choice, to choose to feel the pain and let it ride its wave or I can hold on to the pain and shame myself through life.
I can attest to you, you do come out on the other side a stronger person. However, don’t shame yourself out of your emotions. Don’t say “It could be worse.” or I shouldn’t feel this way because essentially you’re shaming yourself. You have to allow yourself to go through all the stages of grief. Which are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Not necessarily in that order.
How you experience your grief, is unique to you. You have to allow yourself to go through every emotion before the healing of grief can begin.
I thought initially, I’d never be able to celebrate my birthday because my mother died on my birthday. Well, it’s been several years since my mother has crossed over to the other side. I can honestly say I can celebrate my birthday and relish and honor my mother for giving me life. I can say if my mother’s friends were to come up to me and ask me how I was doing I can say with a resounding “Como Coco”… the last words that my mother said, that shocked my spirit and embedded in my soul.
“Como Coco” Two simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying that you’re strong and robust. If the juice of the coconut is sweet inside that means life is sweet because, if it isn’t you would say “Como Coco Racio,” which means the coconut juice is sour inside.
I would say with a resounding “Como Coco”
You can read on page 204-205 of my book Como Coco: The Journey to find out more why I titled my book Como Coco or you can get a sneak peek into my book on Amazon with the link below.