Always left behind

by Lara
(Italy)

Whenever someone asks me to tell about a time in my life when I was really happy, I immediately think about a certain picture. There is me. There is daddy. There is mommy. I am about 5, they're holding my hands, and I'm smiling.

I have no memories of that day, but I just KNOW I was happy.

And then, life begins.

My grandparents all died before I was even 5.
When I was 6, it was my dad's turn - cancer due to asbestos.

For 19 years of my life, it was just me and mum alone.

She had to raise me by herself, and had never really overcome my father's death. Nor had I, truth to be told.

It was a sort of taboo in my house, and we never really talked much about it. I knew she resented him, and I knew she always thought I was fine, because I never cried about it.

But I wasn't fine, and she wasn't fine, but we lived.

My mother wasn't one for social gatherings, nor parties, nor celebrations.

I never walked inside a restaurant with her, if not for very important events. Never went for a walk that hadn't a purpose, like grocery shopping. Almost never went on holiday.

She was my shell.
She almost suffocated me at times, and she never let me do things most of my peers did. Never a sleepover, not many parties. No going on holiday with my friends when I was a teenager.

But I never really complained, because I thought that my life was good, and perfect and that I was lucky.

And then, I was 20 or so, all the emotions I had kept bottled for 14 years nearly exploded.

I was angered, depressed, I was sad.
I missed my dad for the first time in 14 years.

And mum started to believe she had done something wrong.
In the heat of the moment I maybe blamed her for things that weren't entirely my fault, but she did the same.

My perfection started to become imperfect.

Then 5 years on and off - I went from a great student, to one who fell three years behind in university. I just wanted to do nothing, because I had no motivation to go on. I don't have many friends. Never had many to begin with.

I have no job, no university degree.

And, finally, two weeks or so ago.
August 6th, 2012.

My mum had had a few health problems, recently.
A problem with her knee, which was nothing serious, and only needed rest - then a reaction to a medicine, but again nothing much. And then a bad, bad cough, with throwing up - something we were used to, she had delicate airways.

It went on for about a week.
The doctor was supposed to come on August 6th, early in the morning, to see why she didn't want to eat, or why her cough was so bad.

During the same time, I was told again my dog needed to ungergo surgery AGAIN for cancer and so (and I will always be guilty for this), I was a little more worried about her, than about mum - mum was strong, and then doctors had seen her TWICE and said it was okay.

I checked on her every hour or so, even at night, to make sure she was alive.

I did it every night, minus that night.

She had coughed a lot, but then the cough had subsided, thanks to a few cough suppressant drops, just like the other days.

I was talking a friend about my dog, about how I worried too much - about my stupid problems.

And, in the meanwhile, she was dying.

She died in her sleep due to natural causes.
I found her at 5.30 AM - I just wanted to wake her up, and ask her about the doctor, you know, what time she would come home to visit her, and what I needed to do.

But she was already cold, and rigid, and even if I tried to revive her, it was way too late.

I kissed her hands, and cried, and screamed in the middle of the night.

My friend who was there held me back - I tried to commit suicide like 4 times in the 45 minutes we had to wait for the ambulance.

I sliced my arm open, I hopped on the railing of my balcony and tried to jump down, I started bumping my head hard against the wall.

My family reached me the following day.
They said they wanted to help me clean the house, because I had been so busy tending to mum, lately, that everything was a mess - and we had a sick dog in too, so the problems tenfolded.

The result?
My keys disappeared, a few money I had in a box disappeared, and I had to hurriedly change the lock to make sure my relatives couldn't break in.

Up to now, I still don't know how many things are really missing.

So, my family, instead of helping me, robbed me.
They blamed me for my mum's death, they didn't even give money for her funeral - I had to pay it all myself, with about 1/3 of mum's savings.

They said I had kidnapped my mum, because she used to tell them that she didn't want to go to their gatherings because of me ("She's young, she would have no one to talk to."), when she just didn't want to be around those people. I was okay with taking the blame, if it was for mum's wellbeing.
They said I didn't care, because I asked them to organize the funeral - but I was too shaken, I was on anti-anxiety medication, and I am an atheist, while mum was a fervent catholic, like them. They would surely know better about a standard catholic ritual. And then, I paid every single cent of it. And yet, according to them, I didn't care.

They said that I was not normal, beacuse I wasn't crying in front of them. They said I was "selfish and concerned about myself" because I was brought by my friends to a psychologist, due to my suicide attemps and suicidal plans. He even said I shouldn't attend the funeral, due to my conditions, but I was forced to attend, to avoid a major fight with my relatives.

Since then, I have cried maybe 10 times, for just a couple of minutes each time.
I have accepted her death, I think - I have found her, I have tried to relieve her, I was there to see her body...

And yet, I don't cry.

I feel sad, hollow. I don't want to live this life.
I have no job, little money to go on (maybe a few months?), but I'm obviously not in the right state of mind. I can't work, nor study right now. I always loved writing, and I'm trying to work on my comic novel, the one I cared so much about, before...but right now...
I can't.

A friend of mine has been living with me and mum, for the last few years (he was closer to his job, this way), and always contributed to the expenses. He can provide for me, for the time being - my mum was a bit like his mum too, for the last 5 years.

I see nothing worth living for, right now.
My dad abandoned me. My mum abandoned me.
I keep dreaming that they tell me it's all a huge mistake, and that mum is alive and well. I hug her in my dreams, and I say the same exact things I used to tell her in real life "Please, take care of your health, mum, please, I don't want to lose you. I can do only this much, but the rest is up to you."...

And then, I wake up, and reality hits me.

I have begged her multiple times.
To take some days off from work, to take care about herself... and she always blamed me.
"If only you had your university degree, I could slow down.", or "If only you helped me more..."

And so I tried my best.
My university studies were going good again, after 3 years of almost nothing. I cleaned the housed and cooked all by myself, even if she never ate any of my food.
She didn't even want to try it.

And now I feel guilty.

If only I had checked more often on her that night, too.
If only I hadn't felt depressed for 5 years, and had completed university.
If only, if only...

My life has lost all meaning now.
And what I'm scared about, is that it will get worse day by day. I have resisted many, many losses already in my life. More than you can imagine. And this is just the final blow.

I don't want to miss her anymore than I'm already doing.
I hardly ever eat, I can't sleep more than 4 hours, and am I just... the shadow of the positive, energetic girl that I was.

I just want this to end.
Will luck ever turn my way?

I am only 25.
And I have already endured what most people will endure in a whole lifetime - my grandparents died, my father, my mother, who was only 64. My family robbing me. My best friend disappearing.

I can't just take any more pain.
I just can't.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone.

Comments for Always left behind

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Aug 24, 2012
IN TIME
by: SUSAN

You remind me somewhat of myself. my mom died 6/27/2012 and of some strange cancer that we thought was a bad cold. She lived in Detroit and I live in Ohio. she had some mental issues and pain of her own that pushed people away and so you never knew when she was telling the truth. I was with her for the last month of her life and in that month, I forgave her and loved her more than ever. I second guess many of the choices that were made in her last month of life, but the last month was only a result of many years of her choices for her own health.
death is not like in the movies, it is an ugly painful thing and it hurts only when we love.
I Tell you, the same thing I tell my self, time will heal and it does not seem like it, but it will. know and believe this, your mother loved you so, and she still does. ASK the universe to show you, to give you a sign....one day you will be a new stronger person because you will survive and be a better
version of yourself!

Aug 23, 2012
My heart goes out to you
by: Rosa

Dearest Lara, My heart truly goes out to you. If I myself had not lost a loved one, I honestly wouldn't know what to say to you but unfortunately I did lose my son and in a very tragic way. I too, just wanted to die and go with my son, I too, had so many regrets, I too had many, "what ifs" but thank God I began therapy and it has been such a blessing to me. When I first started therapy, my heart and soul agonized and days I felt like I could not go on and I used to ask my therapist when i would stop hurting. She said it could take up to two years with the therapy I was getting but in reality that it could be longer or less, that there was no way of telling but that I was doing good by going to therapy. It has now been 1 year, 2 months and 23 days since my son died and I have survived the agony. I still have days when out of the blue the agonizing feeling comes over me and I cry bitterly but thank God that horrible feeling no longer stays with me as it did at the beginning. I feel it is so important to get help from others, especially from people who have also lost someone because they understand you. When we lose a loved one, we automatically become an isolated group of people, who others don't want to be around with because they don't want to be sad and even though they want to help, they don't know what to say or what to do so they prefer to stay away and avoid us. But when you speak with someone who is also going through what you are going through then they understand and you will realize that you are not alone, that there are others who share the same feelings that you are going through. To have someone die is the ultimate sadness that anyone can experience but it can be conquered. You will never ever stop missing your loved one that is gone, you will never ever forget your loved one either but you will, with help, learn to deal with the sadness and the agony. I can guarantee that you will never be the same person you were before your loved one died but you can live on and one day be happy again. .

Aug 23, 2012
Always left behind
by: Doreen U.K.

Lara this is my second post to you since space is not enough. Just like you I lived a sheltered life and restricted from going out and enjoying life. I had to work and work and work from a young age. But because I loved my Mum I did it without complaining. I WAS UNHAPPY. Just like you. I didn't want to go to dances, and parties, and so when I got married I was the same. Somewhere I STOPPED LIVING. I didn't want to spoil my husband and children's lives so that is why I WENT INTO PSYCHOTHERAPY/COUNSELLING. I wanted to do a good job of looking after my family. Your Mum and Dad just like mine were a product of their own upbringing. They pass down to us only what they know. If we have the chance with more education to change ourselves and our world then let us do it. Counselling will change your thinking and outlook and you will see things differently and perhaps even shed some of what was passed onto you by how your parents grew up. In a positive way. Concentrate on YOU! How you are going to get better! What you are going to do for yourself to make your life better and you WELL. At the moment you are facing RAW GRIEF. Your feelings ARE FROZEN. That is why you can't cry. When you THAW OUT you will then feel the grief more. It will be painfull but this is the only way forward. You may think to yourself. I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE PAIN. But this will be the worst you will get before things get better and HEALING takes place in you. At the moment YOUR WORLD HAS BEEN BLOWN UP. Everything is in fragments. I was like this. I needed a Psychotherapist to help me put the broken pieces back together. IT WAS HELL. PURE PAIN. But worth the journey to GET BETTER. My world changed. YOUR WORLD CAN CHANGE ALSO. You are badly fractured. You need a lot of Love and Care. I hope that God will put LOVING AND CARING people into your life to help you just like OINTMENT ON YOUR WOUNDS. If you want you can email me doreenelkington@aol.com You can pour your heart out to me and I will give you that OINTMENT you need for your wounds.

Aug 23, 2012
Always left behind
by: Doreen U.K.

Lara, I read your story as if some of it belonged to me which is why I want to say that although you may feel alone with life and how it has dealt you a cruel blow. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!. Your story is unique to you and I would not attempt to steal any part of it. I am sorry for your loss of your father, mother, and other members of your family. You are so young to have endured so much pain. I at times feel I WAS BORN TO SUFFER. But in my suffering it has shaped me and made me a better person. Our trials and tribulations in life can either make us bitter or better. I made up my mind. My suffering would make me a better person.
Lara My husband worked with Asbestos in his 20's due to this he developed MESOTHELIOMA. (Lung cancer caused by working with asbestos.) My husband Steve's cancer was inoperable, incurable, and aggressive. A deadly type of cancer that left him suffering for the whole time since diagnosis. 3yrs.39days. It takes 40-60yrs. to develop. Steve's cancer was spot on for 40yrs. Steve died 14 weeks ago. I am left heartbroken. All alone. Robbed of a husband who wanted to live and retire and ejoy his life. Instead he went from 47yrs. hard work to cancer to death.
Like you I had a troubled childhood and I spent most of my young life wanting to die. but I also had a strong Faith and Belief in God that has sustained me to this day. I also tried suicide many times. But God saved me many times. It was as if God did not want me to die. So I guess I do have a purpose to still be alive. Lara I saw a psychotherapist and it was painfull but with all the hard work in therapy. I GOT MY LIFE BACK. YOU WILL TOO. You do need to see a counsellor to help you with all your bottled up feelings and pain. This is what I did. I felt that everything in me was set in concrete and I couldn't resolve what I couldn't reach deep down. but counsellors are trained to go down at a deep level and bring all the pain to the surface and then in time it evaporates. I started to feel better. Do this for yourself and get your life back. Don't worry about what people think about you. YOU ARE A VERY INTELLIGENT ARTICULATE YOUNG WOMAN. Build on this. You have reached rock bottom and you can only GO UP NOW. I suffered depression for over 40yrs. If I can do it so can you. DON'T GIVE UP!. Don't worry about whether you let your Mum down and whether your Mum and Dad abandoned you. It feels like this because you are so Grief stricken. This is life. WE let people down and they let us down. Don't let GUILT ruin your life. Your Mum and Dad are at PEACE now. Their struggles are over. You need to deal with your struggles so that YOU GET YOUR LIFE BACK. You need HAPPINESS in your life. LET that be YOUR GOAL. I would like to help you some more so either I write another post since I can only write so many words here on this site before I am cut off. you can email me for support at doreenelkington@aol.com

Aug 22, 2012
Survivor
by: Zoe

I am here as a widow, but I have learned from grief and as a mother I can tell you, your mother does not want you to stop living because she is gone. Mother and daughters can say stupid hurtful things to each other, but there is the love. Did you ever consider that your mother did not expose you to the family because she had an opinion of how they were. These people stole from you, she did not keep you away, she protected you. That was her love, and maybe she did not do it right, I am not even sure there is a right, but there is the love.
I have written to my children with my will, I have told them not to weep for me, because I am not gone, they stand as the true testiment to who and what I am, they are my legacy, they should proceed with joy in their heart, be cause every day they were a joy in mine.
Grief is hard, and you have alot to go through, I am not going to lie to you, it will be hard, but you will come out the other side, and you will, because I promise you, your mother would want you to.

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