I’m Mal. I’m a deeply, compassionate soul. I truly believe in living life in the moments. Even in the darkest moments, the moments where you see the dark light. How you train your mind to respond to negativity is an immense asset to help you overcome those moments. Continuing to grind, have faith, and plug away at your issues in life will always lead you to better balance. Whatever it may be, there is no perfect person, on this planet. We all have self-doubt, demons, hurt, and pain that live inside our souls. To overcome them it’s how we express ourselves, and who we have to support us. Even if it’s just one person or one person you can relate to.
Quita and I have been best friends for upwards of 10 years. Really, at this point, she’s my family. Through everything and in the distance she has remained my friend. We have that friendship, where without words she can sense something is wrong with me. We are also those friends, that text one another about a million times a day. Okay, slight exaggeration, maybe it’s one hundred.
She thought of this idea to have a blog, where people could express themselves, and just be who they were. I loved the idea. To live your authentic self is the best gift. I especially loved the idea because she wanted it to be a place for people to share and feel safe. Although, after reading her first blog, I realized how truly vulnerable we would have to be, to connect with someone. I was so proud of her for her introduction; I figured I would go on a whim and share some of my stories. Through it, you can understand why I cherish the moments in life.
So, here is a piece of my story….
I’m six years old, playing with my cousins, each one a little older than I. They were my role models. We built a Disney tent and were in the process of building an even grander fort. The best kind of fort with pillows, and blankets, all draped over each other. As we play and the laughter cuts through the air, a distinctive knock pierces the air. To this day, the events still get cloudy, because I was literally in a haze. I’m still a part of that haze on some days. My aunts at the door, and needs me to come home. Even as a child, you’re still able to sense when something is wrong, on this day, something was very, very wrong.
We’d walk home, the rural dirt road path; luckily my cousins only lived a couple of minutes away. We would enter the front door, and my family is there. It’s eerily calming, but I can see everyone has been crying. My aunts quickly gather together and bring me to privacy. In the room in which I shared with my father, I would hear the words that still hurt. “Mallory, your dad is dead. We all love you and are here for you sweetheart.” Honestly, at only six years of age, and in that moment, I knew what it meant, but I DIDN’T REALLY know what that would mean for the rest of my life.
The next few days would pass. In Native American culture, the viewing is held in your home. My father would lie in an open casket. Spiritual leaders would lead prayers, and my family would all see him one last time. Not I, my Uncle would protect me. I remember screaming “Why won’t you let me see him, he’s my DADDY.”
Outside on the porch adjacent to the living room in which he laid; as I punched, screamed and yelled my uncle held me, and let me sob. What he didn’t want was for me to have the ever- lasting impression of my dead father in a coffin. And, I love him greatly for this. I am a deeply emotional person, and no doubt in my mind, had I saw my father one last time, it would haunt me for the rest of my life. I would carry that image, everywhere. He wanted me to remember him at his best. Our library dates, directly followed by a chocolate frosty. We’d always dip the fries in the frosty.
More time would pass, and he would need to be laid to rest. My father would be laid to rest on our reservation, the Isleta reservation. My uncle and family would carry him from the church on the reservation, to the plot where they would work with their bare hands, shovel his grave, and lower him 6 feet into the ground. It was a lot of loving work for them. We would all cry and bond at his grave. Nothing makes you stronger than a death where a person is impeccable, undoubtedly loved.
Behind the scene, as everything was happening, something else was going on. My mother was giving the fight of her life, along with my father’s family to allow me the best life. Those specifics, I am not quite ready to share. My mother would prevail. A guardian and lightem would pick me up at the post office on the reservation. We would sit in the post office; we were signing La Bumba by Los Lobos and the Gyspy Kings. That was my favorite song. Singing the song was supposed to bring me more comfort.
The police car would pull up; the guardian and lightem were in the car. I’d be hugged, kissed and loved on, and placed in the car. We’d pull off, and reality would hit for me. I’d look out the police window, crying saying goodbye to my family which I thought would be forever. Thankfully, it would not end up being the case, but then that’s exactly what it felt like.
My six-year-old heart was shattered.
I’d eventually get on a plane, and go to Maryland. The piece I remember is showing up to my parents’ door with a single suitcase in hand and said: “ Hi, I’m Mallory.” This makes me laugh, my parents knew me. Obviously, my parents already loved me. Here beyond this point are immense details to share, but that will come in time. I would live in Maryland happily with my family. I’d be blessed with a loving step father, to whom I don’t give that title. He is my FATHER. He’s the man that graciously stepped up to the plate and raised me, and deserves the respect of being called my father. Two sisters would enter the picture eight years, and six years younger than I.
They would be the light of my life. Typical sister things, I loved doing their hair, painting their nails, and taking pictures of them. Beating up anyone who I felt was bullying them. You know overly protective sister things. My mother would be there every step of the way supporting me. I’d make best friends, and live in an environment conducive to growth. It’s not like I wouldn’t have those opportunities on the reservation. But residing in Maryland, I do feel that the possibilities were more abundant there. Living on the reservation, and living in Maryland are two different worlds. It humbled me and made me love a simpler life, and a busier life; both equally pleasing to my heart as an adult.
I shared this story because I could have very well stayed in the dark light. I appreciate that my parents pushed me to prevail. This story was never one for pity. It’s just a part of my life journey. Yes, I still don’t know exactly how my father died. Yes, my father didn’t get to physically be present as I did many of my “firsts.” He didn’t walk me down the aisle when I wed, and he won’t see his grandchildren be born. I was separated from my father’s side of the family until I was 18 years old. I did at one point carry a lot of pain, anger, frustration, and fear. But it, all turned out exactly how it was meant to be.
Today, I am happily married. To a man that was patient with my heart, and understood although the chain of events happened so long ago they did affect me as an adult. He would come with me to my father’s grave, and truly embrace my story. He would be patient, while I learned to trust him and would understand why I always fear losing someone close to me. He would break down all my walls. This man would help me heal those wounds, buried from so long ago. At my wedding, an open seat would be left in memory of my father. My step father, as you know now, is my Father, would walk me down the aisle, comforting me perfectly. When I wed, my mother was the officiant of my wedding.
After being pronounced husband and wife, I turned and looked in the crowd. It’s then I knew I saw the light. Life came full circle there was biological father’s side of the family, and my family all supporting us because they loved me. Everything that happened was meant to be. I had to figure it out and chose positivity to overcome the obstacles that were brought to me. But, I am no super hero anyone can do it, just keep trying, listen to your heart, see the beauty in each day, and keep the faith.