Mother’s Day is coming up. For the past 11 years, this is a date I dread. Everyone goes about loving and cherishing their mother. And here I am, with no mother, a person that has no reason to celebrate the day. So celebrate I do not, as I try to suppress the tears the media and society can easily bring to me that day.
My mother passed away when I was 15, a mere two and a half weeks before my 16th birthday. She was never sick. Just died in her sleep. We went to bed the night before and woke up to screams by my brother shouting that he thought mom was dead. There we all were, staring at her lifeless body in our pajamas as we prayed for it not to be true. A sister started CPR on her as others got calling 911. I remember watching the paramedics come running into her room and taking over CPR as they tried to revive her. 10 years later, I learned from the funeral director (while planning my father’s funeral) that they all knew she was dead at the house, but they took her in anyways because “there was a young child there.” Who was that young child? It was me. So, into the ER she went and the doctors declared her dead upon arrival. A heart attack being the culprit they blamed.
Needless to say, this was an extremely traumatic event in my childhood. I still suffer from flashbacks of that morning. And dreams….the dreams get horrible. I have sat in many therapy sessions with my therapist asking me to describe my childhood and mother. My response? It’s always, “I don’t know….I can’t remember.” And, sadly, this is the truth. I don’t remember much of my childhood and teenage years. The college years being the ones I can recall the best. I have suppressed so many memories of my mother because they made me sad and hurt. I don’t remember her. I can’t picture her face or hear her voice. The memories of her and I are slowly fading. She feels so, so, so distant from me. As if she was ever really even a part of my life….when in reality, she is the one who gave me life.
I have been reading the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. I am on the fifth book in the series, entitled To Sir Philip, With Love. The Bridgerton siblings lost their father unexpectedly. The oldest was 18 and the youngest was still in her mother’s womb. The series does well of discussing the trauma each of these siblings endured with the grief of their father’s death. Each sibling reacts in a different way and their father’s death is a turning point for each of them. I so very much relate to each of these siblings, having lost my mother at a young age. The series does well at describing just how much the death of a parent at a young age effects you for the rest of your life.
In this book, Eloise is the main character. She is the middle child and was 7 when her father died. She was also the only person to be an eye witness to her father’s death. She describes in the book how worthless she felt at 7 because she couldn’t bring him back to life. Two passages where she discusses the impact this had on her really struck me. I have included the pictures of them below.
I can’t even begin to say how much I feel like Eloise here. I have ALWAYS been jealous of my older siblings who have had 20+ years with my mother, while I had only 15. I so, so, so much wish she would be able to see the woman I have become. I am constantly asking myself, “Would she be proud of me?” This question has driven me to try my hardest in life. As everything I do, I want to do to make her proud. In college, both undergraduate and graduate, I pushed myself to get a 4.0 GPA because my mother and I made a deal with I was 12. I was to graduate high school with honors. To be the only child of her’s that achieved this status and shared with her her passion, academics. Well, sadly dear readers, I did not achieve that. Her death effected me so much that I did not do well the following year after she died. I floundered. I remember feeling like I disappointed her the day I graduated high school. So, I made up for it in college. I over did it to make her proud. To fulfill her last wish she imparted on me.
“I’m not certain it’s something you ever do get over. Completely, that is. But no, I don’t think about him every day, if that’s what you want to know.”
No…the loss of a parent at a young age (or any age) is not something you ever get over. There will always, ALWAYS be tears and wishes that they were here with us. I have not thought about my mother as much as I used to. I remember endless teenage days and nights where I was sobbing and shaking as I wished for her to come back. I remember my sister (the one that moved home to make sure I survived) always crawling into bed with me and holding me as I sobbed. I truly have no idea how I survived it, but I did. Now, I only think about my mother every now and then. My therapist has worked with me to help “unsuppress” happy memories of her. To no longer get sad and disstressed when I am forced to talk about her. After a year, we have made some great progress in that area. He has restored several happy memories of my mother and I couldn’t be more grateful.
The loss of a parent at a young age is incredibly difficult. I was not offered counseling for the two years of high school I endured after my mother’s death. Everyone looked the other way and no one offered help. So, I suppressed it all. Moved on with the world like they wanted me to. It came back to bite me in the ass when my father died last year. I am still battling the depression. For MONTHS after father died I was angry, bitter, and resentful. I didn’t sleep. The nightmares were worse. Everything about my mother’s death came back. I was forced to finally deal with her death. I decided I needed major help so that I wouldn’t go and kill myself. A year later, I am still in weekly therapy sessions. Time does not heal the wound. The wound will always be there. All time does is allow me to cope and find strategies to help the wound be manageable.
So, to all motherless children out there on this Mother’s Day: I am here with you. I know EXACTLY how you feel and how hard this day is. I know how much you LOATHE this day. But, like all other Mother’s Days, we will get through. We will survive.