Following your dreams, Grief

My Memoir – Fix You

Fix You – Cold Play

Well, here it is! The first 3 pages of my book. I wrote a memoir and it is finally completed. This will be the first time I have actually shared any of it publicly, baby steps…I am currently seeking a publisher. For more info: Fix You

I believe this book was something I was supposed to write. I look forward to hearing any of your feedback. Prior to this memoir I had not written anything, but through my writings I was able to come to terms with the loss of my mother and in turn “fix” myself. We are all in some way fixing ourselves. My hopes for this book would be for you to take away some of the lessons I have learned through my own loss, gaining a bigger perspective on life. Sometimes by looking back you can change your steps forward…


How do we come to terms with the decisions we’ve made in our lives, decisions in our career, friendships, and relationships? I’m the kind of person who is always searching for answers. But what if the answers aren’t there when you need them? When we’re “in it,” in that specific moment, weird place, your present, you are “in it.”

I have found that you must first leave that chapter in life in order to make sense of it. I get frustrated sometimes because there are no answers yet, but I’ve learned to be patient, and experience the wild turns, surprises, and everyday emotions, until one day something clicks, and you see why it happened all along; the unraveling of your life.

My mother died from cancer. To this day, I still rub my shins if I get a bruise for fear it may turn into a cancerous tumor; it’s always in the back of my mind. Am I destined to become my mother? It’s my deepest fear. She was deserted by her husband, and defeated by her worst enemy, cancer. Her last words “I was an idiot,” left more questions than answers. Every ache, bruise, and pain I feel, I now associate with death.

I could die tomorrow, this I know. So my instinct is to run. I run, and I run, to try and escape these thoughts, but I realize there’s nowhere to go. There are songs that have guided me through the most difficult times; “Fix You” by Coldplay is one of them. It represents a crucial turning point in my life, the act of fixing. How do you fix someone who is broken inside or better yet, how do you fix yourself?  When I started writing this book I thought the story was about my mother dying, but what I realize now is that it’s about the girl she left behind.

My mother’s story was never told. She never had the chance. Pictures and stories are all we have left, unveiling themselves like little wrapped gifts from a forgotten time. I watched a black and white video of my mother’s wedding the other day. She came running out of the church with a big smile on her face. A glimpse into her life…a photo of her engagement party, her happiness before it all faded. I know I will never fully understand my mother, but I still have to try. This story is my chance. I write it not only for me, but for my mother as well.

Chapter 1 – Denial

I wake from a deep restful sleep, stretching both arms out in front of me. The
crisp autumn air has finally settled in. It’s the season I looked forward to
most every year as a little girl growing up in northern New Jersey. How I loved
the pumpkin picking, the bumpy hayrides, and the taste of homemade apple butter sold at the local fall festivals. I have fond memories of playing in the large
pile of leaves in the front yard of my home wearing the old, hooded navy blue
sweatshirt that was handed down to me. I remember the smell of the morning dew enveloping each leaf as I grab a massive armful, tossing them around playfully. My two older brothers and I would take turns throwing ourselves into the fluffy, neat pile my father had just raked. We’d carelessly scatter them
around, giggling without a care in the world.

It’s 2002, on the first cool day of the year in Virginia. The brisk air seeps in through the windows. The once summery green leaves are mixed with golden yellows, ochre browns, cherry reds, and burnt orange, my favorite colors. I’d slept like a baby feeling amazingly refreshed as I lay in bed, a warm smile on my face. That’s when I then notice that the alarm didn’t go off.  I glance at the time, it’s 10:30 am, and then I try to remember what day it is. Is it a workday? I take another look at the clockDid I oversleep? I mentally retrace my steps from the night before, of setting my alarm and collapsing onto my bed. I think back on the evening I spent at the Weidermier’s the night before having dinner with my boyfriend David and his parents, Ronnie and Grace. David wore the baby blue polo I bought him that matched his eyes. The sleeves hugged his muscles when he bent his arms. He’d just gotten home from work and his father handed him a beer.

“Son, did you get any new accounts for us today?”

David’s thick dark hair is neatly parted to the side. He stands tall and confident. “I think I closed the deal on one of them. I have to follow-up again tomorrow.”

“Good job son.” Ronnie says, patting him on the back.

David nods, then walks with his father out onto the porch while his mother and I make small talk in the kitchen. She’s preparing one of her delicious and healthy meals. Her kitchen is welcoming like her smile. The red walls are a rich statement against the deep mahogany cabinets. I can see my reflection in the sleek black island cook top.

I’ve sat here many nights sipping a glass of red wine, watching her prepare dinner. Her tidy kitchen is blessed with ivory Corian countertops, while the southern decor of rooster ceramics and spider plants dance along the windowsill. She loves her plants and trees in their clay pots, strategically placed around her home. As I drink, she waters each of them while maintaining our conversation. The house sits on a lake and is custom designed with private balconies and an outdoor deck that overlooks the pool and the gracious landscaping. Grace spends endless hours planting her homegrown gardens with bird feeders and flowers that emulate the warm colors of her home.

The weekends usually consist of David’s father taking us on their pontoon boat for a late night cruise. The front headlights guiding us through the fog reflect the mist that sits just above the water. Under the parasol of trees, the sounds of frogs and crickets become the background to our laughter. An after dinner cocktail rests in everyone’s hand as Ronnie amuses us with stories of David’s childhood. I proudly look over at him, at my hand lying casually across his shoulder.

Their house is the home I never had growing up, the one I always wanted. I marvel as I watch Grace selflessly prepare a meal for her family after working a full day and then running to the gym. She is the perfect housewife; a sweet, gracious homemaker who somehow manages to maintain her petite, toned physique and her perfectly styled blonde hair. Grace has that special ability to make you feel special, and to cater to your every need while staying calm and put together. She took an immediate liking to me when David first brought me home. I liked Grace right away. I felt privileged to be a guest in her warm and inviting home.

I look back at the clock again, 10:45. It’s slowly beginning to set in; I’m late for work. I’m supposed to be at work at 9:00. I don’t know why I’m not jumping out of bed, running to the bathroom, and throwing on some clothes. Instead I break into laughter. I look down at the sheets and notice my cell phone. It’s turned off. I never turn off my cell phone. Then I pause, taking notice to the silence in my apartment, the hazy light from the sun peaking through the blinds. All of a sudden, I begin to connect the dots looking back at my alarm clock. An ironic sequence of events allowed me to completely and utterly sleep in. My gut, my intuition speaks loudly putting it all together for me: the pain and suffering, I don’t feel it anymore. This can only mean one thing, my mother is gone.

For any questions please email me:

Thank you,

Amy Passantino


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