Today’s topic is a little heavy but I thought it was a good time to share because this past Monday a co-worker of mine lost her 27 year old son. I can’t even imagine what losing a child feels like but I know what losing a mother as a child feels like which is what I’ll be talking about today. I always feel slightly uncomfortable sharing the fact that my mother passed away with people, mostly because of the way they react when they find out the answer to their question of what happened to my mother.
I lived with my mother for 7 years before I woke up one morning and couldn’t wake her up. As I child I had no idea what was happening besides the fact that I couldn’t wake my mom up and that she was gone. Later I would learn that she died of heart failure due to her alcoholism. She was 42 at the time. The only emotion I can remember from from that point is sadness. Just a huge abyss of it. I also remember feeling guilty a few months later when I caught myself being happy without my mother.
I never experienced denial – how much can you deny something after you were the first one to discover the death and it was a few hours before anyone else did?
Isolation is one of the stages of grief but I didn’t really have a chance to isolate myself – I was whisked away to places unknown surrounded by people I didn’t know. But this is something that definitely occurs now when I experience loss – I shut down emotionally and want to be alone.
Later I experienced anger. I still sometimes do. I was angry at her for being an alcoholic. For letting herself die. I was angry at myself for not knowing what was happening with her and helping her. I was angry at all of the adults who were in my mothers life who didn’t help her. Now I’m not saying that any of this anger was valid – especially not the anger towards my mother but it was still there and sometimes it still is.
I guess my anger also mingled with what’s called bargaining – if I had been aware that something was wrong then this wouldn’t have happened. If she had gone to the doctor then she could have been saved.
I’m not really sure when I reached the point of acceptance…and sometimes it all kind of feels surreal and I sometimes have to ask myself “who the heck does this actually happen to? Or how the heck does this actually happen?”
Her death has made me bitter and given me fear. I know that a funeral happened but I was not allowed to attend. I have no idea where she is buried or if there is even a headstone to mark her grave. I am bitter towards everyone who has not gone through what I have. I am bitter towards those who had the ability to say goodbye to their loved ones. I am bitter towards those who had loved ones around them when tragedy struck. I am bitter towards those who received words of sympathy or cards. I only ever received one card – one that my adoptive mother wrote when I found out about the fact that people did that after someone died.
I am petrified of the day when I lose my adoptive parents. Because while having a second set of parents is the biggest blessing in my life, that also means I have to go through this again.
It has been 15 years since my mother passed away and while the pain of that loss has grown smaller and more manageable I don’t think it will ever fade entirely. But if you’re going through something right now I want you to know that it’s not always going to be this bad, and there is some light, however weak at the end of the tunnel.