And I thought I was sad before losing her.

by Kari
(Tacoma, WA, USA)

I thought I'd be able to handle the eventual day that my mom would pass. There was no long build up to the day; mom had a stroke and two and a half weeks later she died. I thought I was prepared to handle it. That wasn't to be. It's been six years now and it hurts worse every year; it hasn't gotten easier for me yet.
My childhood was bad. Dad left. Mom had to raise all seven kids at home by herself. Since dad was retired military, mom wouldn't divorce him, this was to ensure we'd still have all the freebies it offered. Even though mom and dad bought our house when we were transferred out west, we were dirt poor. Dad was an abusive drunk who tried to kill us all on several occasions. After he left, mom took on the role of abuser. She beat me and one brother habitually even though there were two of us girls and five boys still living at home then. I tell myself it was the burden of carrying on all the responsibilities by herself that rendered her us un-tolerable. This is when I began feeling hated and disregarded. I was made fun of at school for being unclean and for wearing raggedy clothes. Because of this, I had no friends at school or in the neighborhood.
In the 1970's I was a teenager. I rebelled. Mom softened towards me and I really don't think she wanted to put forth the energy to notice what I was up to. I taught myself hygiene, how to dress 'cool', and I hung out with bad/cool kids. Well, I became pregnant by 16, and was a mama by 17. I moved out, supported myself with odd jobs and low pay and a bit of help from my baby's father. Mom finally showed some concern. What? I had to get a baby so to speak to finally receive respect from mom? Even back then those thoughts hurt.
Fast forward, I've raised four daughters. Holidays, birthdays, all occasions I included my mom. My girls loved her dearly, and mom loved them. I've always told my girls I love them, and vice-a-verse. They never have to question it. But looking back at my siblings and mom, the word was never said. Between my daughters and I we made her respond with an 'I love you', so often it would have made the former version of 'mom' cringe. She soon would say it every time we ended a conversation on the phone. Which by the way, I think is the hardest part of letting her go. Mom would call me daily, sometimes several times. Inevitably, almost everyday when I was about to sit at the dinner table with my family, mom would call me. Sadly, I once told her not to call so often because when she'd pass away one day I'd miss her calls. It makes me cry when I think of how I'd get upset with her for the bad timing. But the funny thing is that she kept on calling anyhow. God only knows how much I want those calls from mom now.
I forgot to mention how mom had apologized for the anger, harm and grief that she brought me as a child. She said if she could do it my childhood over, she would do so much more for me, and that she'd be a better mother. I believe she sincerely meant it.

Comments for And I thought I was sad before losing her.

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Feb 15, 2014
Hi Doreen
by: Kari

Hi Doreen. It always helps to post thoughts but I believe it's even more important to receive messages from others so one knows how another person copes with a similar hurt.
Thank you so much for sharing with me the pains you've suffered as well. I am so sorry for your losses. I can't tell you how bad I feel regarding the loss of your husband. And yes I truly know that longing for the special kind of hug which only a mother can share. I really appreciate that you mentioned my love for my girls. I have a deep connection of love for them. You're right,it's because I wanted so much as a child, and didn't get it. Though it seems that with the birth of each of my children I learned more and more about loving another human being. But it still leaves me wishing I had a mom or a close sibling to hug me when I'm so down.
I want you to know I sincerely thank you Doreen for caring. And my hugs of support and care I now send out to you. Please take care.

Feb 08, 2014
And I thought I was sad before losing her
by: Doreen UK

Kari You story of your life made me cry almost as it was my story.
My Mom lost her father as a child. My father lost his Mom. I do believe this impacted on us becoming a dysfunctional family. My parents never had their needs met and so tried to meet the needs of their children. but didn't in the same way you describe your needs not being met. My father was abusive. BUT. Only because he was Abused by his father. He went to school with torn clothes and had no soles on his shoes. He used cardboard. Mom made us aware of their struggles when we were growing up. All 6 siblings. 5 girls and one boy. I was the middle daughter and given the responsibilities at a young age of bringing up my siblings because Mom couldn't cope. I thus missed out on my childhood and had to become a little mom whilst still going to school and getting an education. But my parents were still full on with good care. I was mom's favourite. I had to then endure sibling rivalry even to this day and I am in my 60's. But after a miserable life and being married for several years I took myself off to counselling in my 40's and resolved a lot of my pain and losses of childhood. I knew my parents would have done better. But they could only gave what they knew. Both parents faced poverty. We also faced poverty which mom could not cope with and it eventually ended their marriage when we siblings were Adults. Mom held the fort so long and then gave up. I loved my mom but in some ways I am glad she was cruel to me at times. When she died 11yrs. ago I never had a hard time with grieving her. I did initially and then my grief of her was over. I lost my husband to cancer 21months ago and I wish I still had my mom here to comfort me, and understand my loss.
I am sorry for your pain of your hard life. But saying this. In many ways I suspect it has made you the best Mom you can be. I guess your mom would have done better. She acted out her anguish and frustration of being abandoned with 7 children. She didn't desert you all. She stayed. She tried her best but you children bore the strain of her abuse. I understand this as I have also reared 3 Adult children who probably have their own memories of the dysfunction passed on which we all struggled with and tried to put right if we could. Counselling even in late life benefited me. I related better and brought healing to my family and changed the cycle and pattern of behaviour thus changing the future. Due space I end her but thank you for telling your story I identify with and has its own healing through sharing. Best wishes in life.

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