If The Dead Could Speak, What Would They Say?

Today’s post will not be light and airy, full of dry humor, or throwing balls to the wall and taking pleasure in seeing where they may stick. If this is what you’re looking for today, you won’t find it here. I’m sorry. I woke up in what you could say was a ‘mood’, and upon sitting down at the computer to read my horoscopes I happened upon the date and realized why. Today is May 18th. Today twenty-three years ago my mother passed away.

I don’t share the details of her passing with everyone. I find the emotions associated with it very painful. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to repress and forget, and even experienced therapists have had difficulty getting me to open up. I can get through my lousy childhood, teen angst years, an emotionally distant father, and abusive, shitty marriages all right, but this topic usually comes with a roadblock; my inner, defense-mechanism that kicks in to save me from pain. I don’t deal with pain, remember? I’m a warrior, and warriors can’t afford to have that luxury. Losing my best friend of thirty years to suicide back in 2008 has forced me onto a two and a half year journey to face my fears, sadness, guilt, inner demons, and my mother’s death is one of them. Why is it so painful? Because she had never really lived.

My mother in her youth was incredibly beautiful. She had an ear for music at an early age, picked up several instruments easily, and had a wonderful voice. This, coupled with the fact that she was so personable, had a flair for the dramatic, and feared nothing and no one, left little doubt that she was destined for great things, and nothing would be impossible to attain…but it was. The one thing she hadn’t counted on, the one thing she wasn’t strong enough to fight, was the love she found she had for my father after they met and he started persistently courting her. Within five weeks they were married, and he ushered her away back to Iowa where his family was, and away from the dreams she had of a possible singing career. There in that cramped small town he took her to where I would be raised, away from the mystique of Seattle where she had been trying to make a go of it, worlds away from the sunny state of Florida where she’d grown up, she tried to adapt to her new life with my father surrounded by his family, and began to have a family of her own. Five children like stair steps—which were my siblings—then nine years later at the age of thirty-seven, me. The closest I would ever come to seeing her eyes light up was when she played music. Aside from that, the totality of the twenty-five years I had her in my life, my mother’s eyes seemed lifeless. When we were alone, and there was no one there to distract her, they always appeared to be staring off into space as she sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee all day. No, I don’t believe it was heart disease or cancer that took her at the age of 63, but rather a broken heart. My mother wanted, needed more, and knowing she was never going to get it just willed herself to die.

I’m scared. I have trouble admitting this, because I try to always stay so strong in the face of adversity, but the similarities between my mother and I are starting to terrify me. She lived her life through others; worried far too much about everyone else, and too little about herself. She’d been blessed with a gift, was incredibly talented, but was forced to ignore it to do that which was expected of her. By the time I came along my mother was a mere shell of the person that she could’ve been. That she should’ve been. She spent her days in a housecoat sipping coffee, watching soaps, and waiting for neighbors to drop by to entertain her, or she entertain them. I seldom saw her dress, unless it was to go get her hair done, or do lunch with the neighbor and pay bills twice a month. The longer this went on the farther removed from herself and life in general she became. I honestly think when the problems with her heart started and then the emphysema took hold of her it came as a welcome relief. Her life coming to an end was just that much closer to stopping the pain.

The last couple years of my mother’s life she had waned away. She did nothing to help herself fight what was ailing her. She should’ve been trying to quit smoking, but refused. She no longer had an appetite for food although she needed it to keep her strength up, and instead began to live off candy, pastries, and every kind of sweets imaginable. We tried to intervene, but it was hard when the neighbors were sneaking it in to her. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. She was finding comfort in the only thing that made her feel better. The weaker my mother got, the less she was able to move around. The end result was her living life from the quiet of her room and bed. The doctor advised we get her up and move her around a little, and we tried, but it was always met with resistance. I found myself playing little games trying to coax her from her room with the piano as bait. I’d tell her that I wanted to hear this song or that, and my oldest son then three, would chime in that he wanted to hear it too. It would draw her from her bed, but only temporarily. Then the lights would go out in her eyes once again, and she’d ask to be taken back. The last year of her life she lived with me for a time, and at the very end my sister. I wish this on no one. Watching someone you love will themselves to death is painful, and leaves scars you can’t imagine in their wake. All I could think of after she passed was that it could’ve been avoided had they diagnosed her with what was really wrong. My mother was depressed. My mother grieved herself over the life she was destined for and was never able to have.

I sit here now, my eyes burning, as I refuse to let tears flow. No good comes of it. I’ve cried enough, but there are always too few to create change; to amass a sea in which I can float away from these problems and this life that is so unsatisfying. I am becoming my mother. We share the same hands, though mine can’t make music. The same despair can be heard in my voice as was in hers, but I cannot sing. The gifts we were blessed with are different, but we both have talents unique to us. In the last year I’ve grown weary of life. I seldom get dressed, for there is nowhere to go. I no longer have an appetite for food, for nothing sounds good. Lately I’ve begun to devour sweets at an alarming rate. They comfort me. I spend my days drinking coffee and smoking cigarette after cigarette, as I sit at my computer or pace from room to room trying to make myself want to clean, cook, to do something. The ghost of my mother’s unhappiness haunts me. I don’t want to be like my mother. I don’t want to, but I feel it happening just the same.

I awoke again early this morning, at 3:16 to be exact according to my clock. I tried to shut my eyes and make sleep return easier, but couldn’t. I rolled over and stared out the window at the moon. This morning it was no longer bright, but rather looked like the eye in the sky with a cataract covering it. I thought of all the werewolf movies I watched as a child, and found this moon fitting of one of those. It almost unnerved me the way it hung there with a menacing glaze covering it. I wondered if this too could be a sign, and also the time itself. Waking up around three in the morning has been something that’s been happening with frequency. Three in the morning is when the dead walk. But then the dead are always with me, aren’t they?

My best friend took her own life because she didn’t feel she’d lived up to her potential. She could never find satisfaction in what she’d accomplished, peace of mind from the choices that she’d made, and couldn’t bear to live another day feeling her life was incomplete. She skipped through marriage after marriage, relationship after relationship, always giving too much of herself every time she allowed herself to love someone, and losing more and more of herself each time she did. She never knew how absolutely wonderful she was. My mother gave up on herself for the same reasons: love and self-sacrifice. In keeping with tradition my life is mimicking theirs. I don’t want to die never knowing who I really am. I don’t want to die never having lived up to my potential. I don’t want to die feeling my life has had no purpose. I don’t want to die having been miserable every day of it. I don’t want to die never having really lived. Yet, the question still remains…how do I not?

If the dead could speak, what would they say?

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25 Comments on “If The Dead Could Speak, What Would They Say?”

  1. […] https://pissykittyslitterbox.com/2011/05/18/if-the-dead-could-speak-what-would-they-say/ If the Dead could SPeak, by PissyKittysLitterbox, an intimate yet edgy post about dealing with those loss and past life of her mother. […]

  2. The Hook says:

    Very well done young lady. It’s helpful to bear your soul soemtimes, especially to strangers. Your vulnerability is inspiring.

    • It may seem inspiring, but I have to admit my transparency is beginning to scare the hell out of me. I’ve always been the type that’s really rough around the edges, because where I come from if you show vulnerability people will eat you up. Baring the soft, under-belly was something you just didn’t do but around a choice few. This blog has really helped me to understand myself and open up. One of the best things I’ve learned is that we are all weak and fearful underneath, and there’s no shame in admitting that we feel pain and don’t have all the answers. I’m going to be pretty smart when I grow up! 😉

  3. Spectra says:

    Yeah, I made the right choice, thanks for reminding me. I do lack the structure however, that living with other people provides. Daily structure. But then again, I don’t have the stress people give each other.

    I feel for your mom, I really do. It’s so sad to surrender like she did, being so gifted. I mean, there are so many ways to use our talents without hitting the big time…my mother sings beautifully, but she just never joined the church choir. She could have given herself that ONE thing with raising all of those kids! And although she did an excellent job with what was expected of her, she too was remorseful of the other life she couldn’t live. She had movie star looks and a gorgeous voice, but had to clean diapers and wash clothes and cook and clean all day… she still gets depressed.

    I am wondering what moves you could make to give you some freedom NOW? I think the car thing is key, isn’t it? And that sounds like you may be caught up in a catch-22 situation. But no license/car realy sucks, it is the ultimate trap to have to rely on others, especially with being so far removed where you live.

    I am glad you have a trip to Florida planned…that can be the greatest of motivations. One of the women we are going away with lost her job and her husband left her for his highschool sweetheart, quit his job and moved away and isnt sending her any money, so they foreclosed on her home. She is just waiting to be kicked out now. Another has cancer. She gets sick from all the chemo, her daughter and son are not speaking to her, and none of them came to the hospital when she had radical surgery- a histerectomy- nor did they visit at home or offer to help in anyway! The 3rd friend on this trip has a pending divorce and a boyfriend who won’t spend the night or buy her even a birthday or Christmas gift! Because, he says, she’s not divorced yet, and he is religious. Oh, he’ll f#*k her alright, but then goes home. I guess God doesn’t mind that so much, but God would get really angry if he slept over or bought her a gift.

    Yeah, girls get-a-ways are really, really important. We’ve had just as much fun planning and anticipating this for a month!I hope your trip does the same for firing up your excitement levels.

  4. Okay I am coming late to this post and am so sorry I didn’t get to reading it yesterday. I know everyone including yourself has already expressed so much here and it is great, really really moving Lou. I have so much I want to say I hardly know where to start, in fact I almost feel I can’t start but let me try. This touched me so much. When my father died at the end of last year and I finally succumbed to the grieving it seemed to almost be focussed on my mum. Every time I was with her I felt this unbelievably strong sadness and a feeling that if anything happened to her too soon I really wouldn’t cope. My mother was married for over 60 years to my dad and I know it wasn’t what we would call a happy marriage. Her life seems to me to have been one of sacrifice for almost all of it. The eldest daughter of an alcoholic she was removed from school at 14 as her father said there was no point in educating girls. When the second world war broke out she got work with the Voluntary Aid Dispatch and was stationed in Devon in England and I know it was one of the happiest times of her life albeit amongst wounded soldiers. But she was called home to help her mother who had just had a baby and her father was on the wagon again. After marrying her life became one of servitude to my father in terms of cooking meals and rearing children and later Grandchildren. I’m paraphrasing here but one of the most startling things I experienced when I went home to live with my mum briefly last year after dad died was how many times a day she called herself stupid. Every time she did anything she saw as wrong she said I’m stupid. It was very revealing about how she has been brainwashed into thinking about herself. There is so much more to this but I just wanted to let you know that I understand some of what you are feeling. Of course we can never know what life is really like for someone else especially over a lifetime but I so understand the feeling that our mothers struggled to have any kind of freedom and of course I know I am going to be posting about this soon too!!.
    Also Lou, just as a complete aside and please don’t think me cheeky but have you ever had your thyroid function tested? It is amazing how many women can become thyroid deficient particularly near to or during the menopause and we all know I am the world’s authority on the subject…! Seriously though it can lead to mood swings and carbohydrate cravings (As can the pesky menopause). Just a thought. I know from experience that hormones for me can have more of an effect on my mood than the other more commonly recognised biological factors ie serotonin and dopamine etc. believe me there is still so much to learn about brain chemistry and we really need to suss these things out for whatever suits us – we’re all different. I’m rambling now(low thyroid today :() but this is such a powerful post. Very well done to you and you have not at all written or expressed too much. It is all part of your story, who you are and who you have yet to become. Thank you so much for sharing x

    • You’re comments are never too late in coming to the party. You’re always welcome, and your visits appreciated.
      Yeah, yesterday really sucked for me. I think it’s getting worse too, because the older I get the more I remind myself of my mother, and the more concerned I get about that. I loved her…I did…but I don’t want to be that person. I’d like to think that I could learn something from her mistakes. The biggest one was that she let her life be dictated by everyone elses. My father wasn’t much better though. He started working at the Union Pacific Railroad when he was 16 on the yard. Went into the Navy for a time, then returned right back to the UP and made a career of it. 46 years he worked for them. Never had a lot of friends or much of a life beyond my mother and our home. My parents spent their whole life waiting for my fathers retirement so they could travel and enjoy themselves, but before they had the chance my mom passed away. Not long after my father retired he began to take ill, and spent the remainder of his years sucking on oxygen, getting chemo for lung cancer, and sitting confined to a chair with a catheter running out of him. Some retirement! I don’t want that to happen to me. I don’t want to get old knowing I’d never really had the chance to enjoy my life just being ‘me’, and then find it’s too late to even be able to start. This is the thing that gives me nightmares, Penny. I still have so much to left to give, but my hour glass has turned and if I don’t do it now I may not be able to.

      • Mmnn. I guess we need to remember that as much as we are like them we are never really our own mothers (thank god). We have had different experiences for better or for worse so don’t feel you are necessarily destined to end up exactly like she was. And the fact that you are questioning all of this and expressing how you feel is GOOD! You will work it out Lou, you are an intelligent and very humorous writer who has a gift in your ability to connect with people. And cats obviously – how are they?! And who knows – the best may be yet to come. We may not have ‘peaked’ yet!! Keep writing girl 🙂

      • Oh, I never answered your questions about my 10 little kitties. They are doing wonderful. I tried moving all of them together in the big kennel, but Lucretia kept trying to move them, so I finally just relented and put her back in the kitchen. Her kittens have their eyes wide open now and are fattening up really nicely (goodness, it sounds like I’m planning to cook them or something, doesn’t it?), and the smaller ones are doing well, but still blind as a bat. Here in a few more weeks when they’re a little bigger and the weather has warmed up nicely, Grandma is going to take them all outside to hang on the grass. I can’t wait to see the Chihuahua try and play with them. Gotta hold onto those little ‘feel-good’ moments when they come around.

  5. Spectra says:

    Sorry I didn’t check in yesterday – I’ve had these preparations for a “fun” weekend which are, of course, causing deep stress. And the rain. So much rain…

    They didn’t diagnose depression years ago as they do now, and now they hand out antidepressants to women like it’s vitamin C. Because so many women need the seratonin boost. Women, in general, carry pain so deep, so much lack of true satisfaction. Women throughout history have been expected to do nothing but be sex-cushions for men, milk dispensors for babies and the dull routine of housework and child management was supposed to be the only thing a ‘good’ woman sought to secure her future in heaven.

    Well that’s just bullshit.

    But now, today, women really can strive for self-satisfaction. How you achieve that, well, there’s the challenge. You have to define what is satisfying and structure a plan to achieve it, celebrate each accomplishment on the path to your/our goals. And it helps to share the journey and little milestones with anyone who cares.

    I didn’t crave chocolate or sweets until I got hit with perimenopause. Then I became a typical ‘girl’. I am intolerant of most drugs, so the way they make antidepressants, they just poison me. But when I learn a friend is taking them, I am glad for them that they can find some relief. A friend of mine for some reason keeps skipping her pills, gets terribly bland, dour, miserable, gloomy, within a day of stopping. I can usually tell. But when she takes them she feels normal and then notices everyone else is messed up. And swears she is the only one she knows who is normal. But she’s not. She’s just like everyone else. But meds work for her. They keep her out of the shadows.

    I guess what I’m saying is, there is the biological side to depression, and the psychological. You can maybe fix the biological with meds, but people still need to have a plan for satisfaction. And enjoy the process of becoming satisfied, not just wait for the “BIG THING” to happen which will then be satisfying. Fame may never occur. The million dollars may never land in our laps. What then?

    ‘What then’ is now.

    I have my problems and mysteries and woes. But one thing I have gotten down, is finding ways to create satisfaction. To appreciate. I was doing dishes yesterday (my number one phobia) and as I cleaned my bamboo cutting board, remembered how much I like it. I like my knives. I like my blender. I like my tiny crock pot, my small oven. I went outside and looked at my new garden bed, the costs of creating it have left me broke this month. But the seedlings are emerging and I feel a sense of quiet excitement about their fruition. I know I use these feelings to block out doom and a certain real helplessness about other things, but these are the things I can love, appreciate, and feel a sense of satisfaction around. I find resentments that resurface again and again are the same old thing, so its just chemical angst. Excercise really helps blow that out, but like most people our age, I just am not that motivated. But when I have practiced good physical health, of course, it frees you up so much, gives you an immediate sense of power and control over your circumstances, because you have taken control over your self. Plus, there’s all of those endorphins filling up your head with a sense of well-being. (I should take my own advice and get on my workout bench…but bleh. I feel sluggish)

    Oh, here I have gone and rattled on and on…

    Thank you for sharing all of this. If it’s inside of you, it is worth sharing. And you’re right – we find each other this way. It is conversation.

    • Spectra…I just miss ya when you’re not around! 😉
      Yeah, I had quite the shitty day yesterday. I guess it wasn’t nothing that ice cream the old man brought me home last night didn’t ease, and this morning’s poptarts definitely improved my mood. Isn’t that sad? I’ve turned to junk food for comfort. Is there no end to my madness? I liked it better when I appeared to be a raging alcoholic.
      You hit the nail right on the head when you talked about the roles women were expected to take. That’s what was wrong with my mother. Now, most women I think were able to accept what was expected of them, because what else were they going to do? It was almost a given to finish school, get married, have babies, and spend the rest of your life taking care of someone. Had my mother not known she was special, had gifts that could take her places, and had a taste of it before marrying, she might’ve been able to settle too.. Unfortunately, my mom knew she created magic with her music, and that it could take her places. That she was never able to fulfill this was almost a travesty of justice to her. It robbed her of her joy. I just don’t want to be like she was and say, “You know, I could’ve done this or that.”
      I have no illusions of grandeur where my future is concerned. Winning the lottery or writing the great American novel is a longshot, and I’m more than aware of that. It’s not these things I need to make me happy. I just want to enjoy my life. I want to be able to get in my car and go see my children, family members, friends. I want to know if I feel like going shopping or out to lunch I can afford it. I’ve been married three times, and am now working on getting my third child out of the house. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve taken care of everyone and anyone. I just want some of the good stuff left for me. I just feel trapped. I’m not living up to what I consider my potential, because I’m not able to enjoy life. Enjoying life is my ‘goal’, not frivolous things like fame and fortune. I know, my standards aren’t set real high, are they? Hey, apparently they’re still too high for me!
      And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the simple things in life that bring you pleasure. You know I sometimes daydream about my own little place and what it would look like. No husbands, no children, just me and a clutter-free house. No one expecting, needing, me to cook or clean. To tend to their every want and need. You made the right choice in being by yourself. Don’t ever question that no matter what anyone may tell you. Because you are you can do things like just pick up and go away for the weekend with friends. I envy that.

  6. Oooh yes. Pain. Shared pain. And a little anger too.

    My mother threw herself away and dived into the bottle. She had been an incredible woman, someone I aspired to become. Then she became someone I am deathly afraid I will turn into.

    And anytime I recognise bits of her in my mirror I get a bit panicky. And bad tempered because that is how I deal with fear. Interestingly I wrote about my issues with my mother on my blog a little while ago (Emotionally wobbly in a Recalcitrant Body) and was surprised at how many people knew where I was coming from. I suspect you will be too.

    Good luck, and look after yourself. Think of the airline thing: If oxygen is needed use the mask on yourself FIRST because you can’t help anyone else if you are dying.

    Sorry, a loooong comment. But it all felt like it needed saying.

    • Comments can never be too long. It’s called conversation. 🙂
      It still just amazes me how so many of the women that I’ve met strictly through chatting about anything and everything else end up having so much in common with me when we let down our guard and began to speak with depth. It’s almost like we recognize that ‘something’ within the other and are attracted to the similarities. Hmm…I wonder if that makes us all sickie-magnets? Sorry, ha..ha.. that’s what I refer to myself as. “If you have a problem, then by God I’ll be the solution. And if I can’t be the solution, then by God I’ll find it for you.” ((sigh)) I’m just so tired of taking care of everyone but myself.
      Your mom was a drinker, huh? Yeah, I have experience with those too. I even tipped the bottle myself for a while, but the escape wasn’t nearly as nice as the one I’ve found in chocolate. God, isn’t that sad? People think that drugs, alcohol, or any number of addictions are the problem, but they’re not. These addictions are the persons way of coping with the ‘real’ problems, whatever they may be. I suspect if you took away the alcohol your mom would be just like mine, depressed as hell and empty inside. You say you’re worried too. Have you figured out how not to relive the sins of the mother? I’m still battling it.
      I’m going to have to read that post of yours and compare notes. There is a better life waiting for us isn’t there? I mean, this can’t possibly be all there is, right? Go ahead and lie to me if you need to.

      • There is a better life just around the corner. And in it, I will know how to say no, and will be able to eat chocolate without it showing. And people will clean up after themselves, and, and, and. You did say I could lie. But we can always hope and dream and for me both of those are essential.

      • Oh I still hope. I do a ton of dreaming. I’m still waiting for the results. I hope you find yours too.

  7. Pandora Patty says:

    Maybe it’s your way of working toward what you’ve known you were meant to do all these years? You know you have it in you — now you just need to move on it, girl!
    Remember, we all have to have our moments. As long as someone we care about is there to share them with, we’ll never be alone.

    • I hope you’re right. I’d hate to think I have all these shitty life-experiences under my belt and have no way to use them. Why do I get the feeling if I ever do get that novel out it’s going to be about my crappy life, and I’ll have to live it over and over again?
      Eh, I’m feeling a little better. I just needed to cram some ice cream down my throat and have a Pepsi. Isn’t that sad? I almost miss the days when alcohol was my escape. At least ‘it’ wasn’t giving me a muffin top!

  8. Pandora Patty says:

    Beautifully put, and so close to home…I’ve succumbed to the tears, Lulu. I miss her even after all this time.
    I had a mom who suffered some of the worst imaginable things a woman can endure in her life from the time she was a small child, but she tried to move on. It always came back to haunt her, to the point where all she could see was she never had any control over HER life. All people could see was that she was someone’s daughter, then someone’s wife and mother. When it became too much for her to bear, she went into a self-destruct mode. We selfishly wondered how her illness would affect our lives, not her. Then everything came out, and we had to try to understand that she did everything she was capable of while trying to fight all these demons that kept knocking at the door. I’m one of the lucky ones who made peace with the effects it had on both of us, but some were not so fortunate. (OK, this is getting hard for me here, but I want you to know that it’s still very difficult for me when I want to pick up the phone and call her and know that I can’t.) My mom didn’t have big dreams or want to be someone who stood out in a crowd, but that didn’t make her any less special. She tried so hard to be perfect in every way, and always felt like she failed. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s why I fight so hard every time I see you sinking. I don’t want to lose you, too. You are a beautiful person (yes, inside and out, because I know the second one worries you more than the first!). Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the person you are doesn’t know shit about you. I see you for the person you are, not who they want you to be. I think you are caring, unselfish in SO many ways, and, yes, wondering about if you should finish what you started, throw caution and fear to the wind, and see what lands face up. You’ve pasted your heart up on the wall with this one. Love you, Lulu.

    • Hey. Finally crawled my ass off the couch. Just a bad, bad, day. Doug came home and brought me ice cream and pop tarts. Yeah, just what I need, huh? (Sorry, a bad attempt at humor.) I know he means well, and he does understand this after losing his mom to breast cancer. At least that’s one thing we can commiserate over together, and I don’t have to talk to him about ‘why’ I’m feeling this way.
      God, I don’t know what’s happening to me. Is this just me having to get worse before I get better or something? Most days I can slap a smile on my face and just get through it, but I guess today just hit a little too close to home. I don’t want to become like my mom, Patty. I know you more than anyone understand that. I guess I’m just getting tired of doing a half-ass job of battling this depression. I wonder sometimes if this is why my mother and Beth ended up giving up. Life is just too fucking hard to deal with sometimes.
      Hey, thanks for being here for me. I know I can be a handful at times. Don’t worry, I’m just having a day. I gotta have pity-parties once in a while for myself, cause if I don’t no one will. Tomorrow should be better. It always is. I’m sure I’ll be back to my same pissy self.
      I’m starting to notice that I’m beginning to use this blog for a very personal diary. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but for some reason when I write I don’t think much about it one way or another. It’s only afterwards that I question whether I’ve shared too much. Who knows, maybe it’ll help someone else.
      Okay hon, I’m going to check some emails while Doug is gone fishing and the kid is out of the house. I love ya, I love ya, I love ya! Thanks for being my God-send and buddy. I wouldn’t make it through the tough times without you.

  9. Oh, shit. I only barely restrained tears as I read this, so deeply do I relate to the things you wrote about your mom. Part of the hardest part of mourning my mom has been the part where I’ve mourned how little she really got to live her dreams. I’m so grateful that I’m fulfilling one of her most significant dreams by living a life unhampered by the kinds of pain and sacrifice she was forced to endure . . . but part of me wishes nevertheless she could have known even once the tenderness of a man who actually loved her. Or seen her other grandkids, or seen the one she did she make it to preschool. I wish she could have finished her university degree and used some of her creativity and passion to help others see the joys of empathy. I wish she could have found her way out of the worst impacts of schizophrenia toward a stable life filled with the love of her kids and grandkids, instead of succumbing to cancer just as things were starting to look hopeful.

    There’s so, so much I wish she could have experienced for herself.

    I wish I could take away this pain from either of us. I guess the only thing we can do with it is to let it inspire us to live the kinds of lives the people who someday mourn us will . . . celebrate, instead of hurting over all the things they wish could have been better.

    My Friday post is actually about strong women. I wrote it with these kinds of questions. Do you want me to forward to you? I think it might be of some consolation, no matter how scant.

    I’m sorry, and I wish I could hug the hell out of you right now.

    • Thanks. You are truly a sweetheart. Yes, I know you understand. I seem to attract those into my lives that have gone through similar things. I don’t know if I should air as much as I do on my blog, but I guess if I…we…didn’t we wouldn’t know how to find each other would we?
      You know the saddest thing is, I have a lot of mixed emotions where my mother’s concerned. I wish I could just say life was ideal for me while I was being raised, that we were so incredibly close, and this why I’m so torn up today. But that’s not really the truth. I loved my mother very much and still do, but she was never an ideal mother–which I realize now had a lot to do with her depression–and so not only do I deal with having lost her, but fight with the guilt at still being angry with her for not really being ‘present’ the way she should’ve been. Does that make sense? I guess if I wasn’t a twisted mess I wouldn’t be me? Mental illness takes it’s toll on everyone. I just wonder now if my depression takes it’s toll on my kids too.

      • I guess if I…we…didn’t we wouldn’t know how to find each other would we?

        That’s exactly right. When I was younger, I didn’t talk about any of the things that hurt me, and they just kept eating me up and isolating me from others. Writing here–and elsewhere–is part of what helps me figure out different ways of healing, and the better part of doing it here? Is different eyes to see through, and knowing I’m . . . on a team, if that makes sense.

        Does that make sense? I guess if I wasn’t a twisted mess I wouldn’t be me?

        It does make sense. It doesn’t make you a twisted mess. It makes you a human. If you didn’t have emotional complexity and difficult thoughts to grapple with, you’d actually be a kitten. That wouldn’t be without its benefits . . . but you’d miss the rockin’ highs that come with intellect, too.

        Mental illness takes it’s toll on everyone. I just wonder now if my depression takes it’s toll on my kids too.

        It undoubtedly does. But it’s not a determinative toll. What’s determinative is the care to show your love, outside that. My mom struggled with mental illness for a long time, but what that left me–and my siblings–with was strength to endure difficult times, and the empathy to understand everyone is struggling in some way. I think my life’s turned out better for it, even if it was rough along the way.

        A whole different set of circumstances, truly, but I believe there’s a certain point where kids are no longer just kids, and where they choose which parts of their past to bear forward. You may be struggling, true, but you’re struggling in a way that shows deep compassion and concern for the well being of those around you. That’s a care that will be remembered, and will be a part of what shapes the yet-to-come.

      • My kids are much older now. My youngest is going to be 18 in less than six months. I just wonder at times how much some of my unhappiness over the years affected them. There were a lot of times when my two oldest had to come to my rescue and play the parent when it came to pulling me out of an emotional rut. Whether you like it or not, curse it or not, a lot of our parenting and interaction with others is learned behavior. I guess the only thing I have to my credit that I done completely different than my mother and father, was my kids always knew I loved them, accepted them the way they were, and they didn’t have to earn my love. THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE TO EARN MY LOVE. I never felt like I had that. Growing up I never felt I was ever going to be good enough, or smart enough to meet my father’s expectations…which were exceedingly high. And to be honest, I always knew my mother loved me, but she really never took an interest in me till I got pretty in my teens and others took an interest in me. It was like she needed validation from others that her daughter was okay, or something. Weird, huh? I never really talk about that. It’s kind of a sore spot. Maybe this should be the topic of today’s blog; unconditional love.

  10. I feel prideful to have read this today. One thing stands out to me the most…”because she had never really lived”. How many souls walk this earth in those same shoes. A saying which I heard once and has stuck with me is:

    “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” -Author Unknown

    Thank you for inspiring my blog today…blessings :))

    • Thank you for your kind words. I sometimes wonder if I need to put more of a filter on my thoughts and words, but then I read something like your comment and realize that perhaps I did the right thing in just letting the flag fly, so to speak. I guess I’m just hoping the more I face my fears the more courage I’m going to have to tackle the bigger issues in life. I like that saying too. It speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing that bit of wisdom with me. I’ll have to pop by your house next, and if I’m up to it bring a coffee-cake or something 😉 See that? I’m already starting to get my nutty sense of humor back. Thanks again.