If only I could remember you

by Debbie

My mother and two brothers were killed by a drunk driver December 9,1956, I was 3 yrs. old. I have no memories to hold onto, I do not remember their faces, their smiles or anything about them, yet I have mourned and missed them my whole life. Losing them has left a void in my heart that has never been filled, though there are those who tried. If you have memories of a loved one who has passed, hold onto them forever, it is a precious gift.

My mother was 30 years old and was buried with my 11 month old brother in her arms. My 8 year old brother is buried along side of them. It was a tragic loss to lose three in one day and the drunk driver lived on to, yet again, take one more life behind the wheel before he died of cancer many many years later.

Abandoned by my father by choice and sent to live with his sister, where I never understood why my father sent me away, as I had two brothers living that I never had the privilege of growing up with or really getting to know very well. It's not just the death that hurts, it is also what comes after. I really lost my whole family that day.

Drinking and driving doesn't only kill the ones we bury, sometimes it kills special places inside of us that we do not know how to express, especially as a child. I blamed myself, God, the drunk driver, the world practically.

When I turned 40, I said to myself, this is enough suffering, enough mourning, enough pain and put it somewhere deep inside me and went on with life. Yes, it rears it's head from time to time and I hate myself for allowing it to surface. I shove it down into a deep dark place, scold myself for allowing it to leak out, think of something else, I tell myself, busy myself with something else, pick up the phone and talk about anything but what I am running from.

When I am out in public and I hear a child crying and calling out for mom, my eyes well up with tears, as it's like an echo deep inside my soul.

Comments for If only I could remember you

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Mar 07, 2013
You do remember...
by: Veronica

Dear Debbie, I am returning to this site after some time because I miss my Mum very much tonight. She passed in September 2012.

I do not know when your story was posted but it touches me deeply. I only want to tell you this: you may not think you remember but you do. Deep in your mind and your soul you have memories of your Mum and your little brothers. The proof is in the fact that you mourn for them, and the evidence is your everlasting love and your yearning for your mother.

We do not need pictures or images to remind us but, if you wish to remember with your senses, try to do so when your mind is completely still. A good time is that moment in bed when you are on the brink of sleep but not quite asleep yet. Concentrate on the love you are feeling (and only the love, not the pain and the sadness) and I am certain that the sound of your Mum's voice and the images of her will come. It may take some practice but it is a worthwhile exercise. In the meantime, try to find a way to relax. I am considering learning about meditation myself, but I have not got there yet.

I wish you peace.

Feb 25, 2013
If only I could remember you
by: Doreen U.K.

Debbie I was so happy to read your reply and know that you are NOT GIVING UP!!! Don't be too hard on yourself by saying that you don't know how to grieve and let go, and that you are angry with yourself for letting your feelings leak out. This is not true. This leaking is happening automatically. It happened to me which is why I couldn't go on in life without HELP. I feel that this is God's way of allowing this to happen otherwise we wouldn't be able to HEAL. God did it for me. I see His mark on my life and Healing. I have great faith in God's Healing in your life. God would not let you stay this way. He is rescueing you now. Also NONE of us knows how to grieve and let go of our emotional baggage. Worse if it is repressed and compacted. I needed a trained psychologist/counsellor work at a deep level as I couldn't reach anything within me to do the work. I felt as if everything repressed in me was set in concrete. I feel so different now. It is nothing short of a miracle. You will feel the same way and get your life back in a new way like you have never known. You may THEN be able to reach out to your brother who is hurting and allow him to make the decision to get help for himself. Don't attempt to help him in a way that only a professional can do otherwise you will harm yourself. You will learn all about BOUNDARIES. and Why we become damaged in life if our boundaries are violated. We do ourselves an injury. I know you will be successful and happy in life. You owe it to yourself, and GOD KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT. The Bible says. "When mother and father forsake you." I will take you up. This is God's way of working with you. You will become a WHOLE, FREE, INTEGRATED person as you were meant to be. Life damages us. But God Heals. Doesn't matter how and when. I started this process in my 40's. I haven't looked back. Neither will you. It is such a Liberating and Free-ing experience. Just find the right psychologist/counsellor for you. If one doesn't work try try again. You will know when you have found the right person as you will be feeling better and the Healing will have started in you. Best wishes.

Feb 23, 2013
Dear Debbie,
by: Pat

I let Jennie(founder of this site)know I wanted to be able to communicate with you further and asked if she could get your permission to send me your direct email address. She wrote back and said she does not have access to email addresses. If you also wish to email directly, she said that you should contact her through the "contact us" link at the left of this page. She will give you my email address or you can give her yours. I do hope we can communicate further. Pat

Feb 22, 2013
Dear Debbie,
by: Pat

Thank you for posting again. I am so sorry that your efforts to find help have only led to more pain and disappointment. It is so awful that some professionals don't know how to be sensitive. I think your best bet would be the church you mentioned or a counselor with a hospice agency. They are trained to work with dying patients and the bereaved family members. They have to be sensitive for this kind of work. I am a hospice volunteer. I also did some graduate work with a hospice agency, when I was in school. I attended a grief support group run by hospice social workers, in the course of my own grief. They are really good people. The support groups also afford you the opportunity to be with others who are going through the same thing. They all understand. The fact that your grief stems over a period of decades does not matter. If grief is not dealt with, it "raises its ugly head" over and over. It can also lead to serious depression. There are many books about grief that might help too. I am currently reading Zig Ziglar's book, "Confessions of a Grieving Christian." It is very good. Check with your local library for help in finding good books. Another helpful tool is to write about your feelings. Just looking at the words on the paper is like meeting the reflections of your soul. If you are really truthful with yourself, it is very helpful. Check out the following links on this site: coping strategies, grief guidebook, grief relief program. There are good resources here.

I wish I could meet you and give you a big hug. I am going to ask Jennie (the founder of this site) if I could get your regular email address. She will have to ask your permission for this. Don't give up. There is still help out there. Pat

Feb 22, 2013
If only I could remember you
by: Doreen U.K.

Debbie I attempted to address your post and my computer failed so will start again.
I am so sad reading your account of your life and how sad it turned out. You must have felt very rejected and alone and felt unwanted, perhaps feeling all alone with no one to actually listen to you and give you a voice and expression. By this time you would have repressed so much of your feelings and emotions that you have damaged yourself coping the only way you knew how to.
I did this as a child. I stuffed my feelings down so far I became repressed and withdrawn and couldn't function. I was so numb I couldn't feel. I got married and had 3 children. I became so depressed I wanted to end my life. I found the perfect psychologist/counsellor who was a Christian and he put me back together. For the first time in my life I felt Whole. FREE. Happy. Like nothing I ever felt. My counsellor gave me back my life. I was able to resolve my past and my losses. When you stuff your feelings and emotions down inside they keep pressing for resolution. I urge you to find a good Christian psychologist/counsellor. Put in the work no matter how painful. I felt as if my soul was bleeding. I went back again and again for years. This was the best investment I made in my life to get counselling. I became a more integrated person and my daily interaction helped my family also. I would like you to know that you can grieve but you need the support of a counsellor in order to hold your pain whilst you work out all your losses. Don't suffer anymore. May God surround you with his Love and compassion and open the door for you to now be helped. God is the father of all Father's and He is the one you need to run to. He will receive you. Ask God to put the right people in your life to support you. HE WILL. He did it for me. He will do it for you. Please keep in touch. doreenelkington@aol.com

Feb 21, 2013
Thank you
by: Debbie

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate all of the input. I am a Christian, and have reached out for help on four different occasions, none turned out so well. Trust was lost somewhere along the way. I tried a psychologist who couldn't remember me from one session to the next and 3 people with 3 different churches. One wanted me to sit on his lap (ugh!) one cried and didn't know what to say and the other talked so far over my head, I didn't always understand what she was saying (I was a lot younger then.)

My aunt that raised me has passed away along with my oldest brother and my father committed suicide. My brother's death hit the whole family hard, it was unexpected and he was out of the country working when he passed. I knew my brothers when I was growing up, but only saw them maybe once a year, if that often. My only remaining brother is more messed up than I am and refuses to discuss it with me only to say he missed my mother more than me and I had it a lot easier than he did.

You have encouraged me to try once again and I will. I Did a lot of self reflection today after reading your messages and I am definitely going to reach out again for help. There is a local church that I have been wanting to visit and see if perhaps it can be MY church. I have a pastor, but he is in Florida and I am in Georgia, makes it a little hard to communicate.

I do not know how to grieve and let go of pain. Many times I thought I let it go, but it smacks me down yet again, so there is definitely something I am not doing right. Lot's of reflection and tears today, but better now and wanted to thank you for taking your time to talk to me and for caring. I appreciate that more than you could know and your encouragement is what I needed to reach out again for some real help and figure this out. Not giving up!! May God bless you for your kind and caring words! Debbie

Feb 21, 2013
Heartbreaking story
by: Anonymous

Your story breaks my heart and I pray for you. I pray that if you know Jesus, you will turn this pain over to Him and let Him help you. I pray if you dont know Jesus, that you will come to know Him today. Without Him, life is so much harder. With Him, you can find the peace that surpasses all understanding that the Bible talks about. I am praying for you and so sorry for your tragic loss.

Feb 21, 2013
Dear Debbie,
by: Pat

My heart aches to read your story. How sad your life has been. It's pretty obvious that you never had a chance to grieve your losses. The way you grew up did not allow for that. You were simply trying to survive. And, now, years later, grief is rearing its ugly head. Your losses were not just your mother and brothers, but having been pushed away from your father and living brothers also led to more feelings of loss. You are so right when you said that you lost your entire family. You need to stop surpressing your grief and get some professional help before you get into a serious problem. It will help you, tremendously, to go ahead and deal with the grief. Talk it out, cry it out, and scream it out. Once you get it all out, you will be at peace with it and able to move on in a way that makes the rest of your life much more meaningful. Another thing that might help is to try to find your living brothers. I think having contact with them would allow you to feel a little more family connection. The aunt, who raised you, must have some idea of how to contact your father and brothers. If not, you can search through a genealogy library or websites. I really have no idea, but it's just a thought that, perhaps, your father sent you to live with an aunt because he felt unprepared to raise a daughter. You have led your life by constantly pushing the past back. We do not live in a vacuum. Past issues must be dealt with. Please help yourself now and see a counselor or talk with your minister. Cost should not be an issue. Seek help through a mental health organization. Take care, dear one. I hope to hear that you have gotten help and are feeling better. Pat

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