Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Whoa. That title hit me right in the gut. It's been quite a roller coaster ride these past few months moving through the loss of my mother. So how can I be in such a peaceful place at the same time? In order to figure that out we have to travel back to a time when little me was being built.
I grew up the oldest of three girls, I have twin sisters that were a year and a half younger than myself but it felt like I was much older. My life consisted of making sure they were watched over and protected when my mother wasn't around. My life was riddled with fear that my mother instilled in me: don't trust anyone, be safe at all times, don't wander too far or you could get kidnapped, don't talk to strangers, etc. Needless to say I wasn't able to be much of a child at all.
At the age of 8 or 9 I had already reached a tipping point where the pressure of taking care of my sisters was too much for me. It turned into anger and I felt like an animal pushed into a corner and I was lashing out.. I carried resentment about all the responsibility at such a young age and was given no tools to cope with my emotions. My mother worked a lot, sometimes 3 jobs just to make ends meet. She was a single mother and my father was never really around, she was also an alcoholic who drowned her sorrows and stresses in alcohol. There was no time for my feelings, her problems were always more important. There wasn't a lot of discussing how my day at school was or how I felt about things. There was however consequences for acting out, I was put in therapy around the age of 10 for my anger (eye roll) and I remember thinking it was so stupid. They would give me a doll and expect me to beat it up or something. I felt too old in my soul to sit through this kind of nonsense and my mom never made me go back. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just a normal kid with a whole hell of a lot of responsibility. Anyone would be angry with that kind of pressure at that age.
My mother and I were on the same level soul wise, she was a much younger soul and I an old soul that decided to come try this thing called being human yet AGAIN! (some of you will get that haha) Today I realize my purpose here thankfully but back then everything was still confusing and not based in reality.
Things made a turn in a darker direction as I started to get into my teens. There weren't a whole lot of rules. We were pretty much aloud to do whatever we wanted because my mother was too consumed with her own life and pain. I thought then that the freedom was awesome but deep down I also desperately wanted someone to care about me. Rarely was I at home whatever "home" meant then. There was always a lot of fighting between her and her boyfriend when I was there. Not having a mother who was capable of being emotionally available for me has created a lot of issues for me in relationships, some I still struggle with today but vigilantly work on. All of us just want to be loved for who we are but a lot of us haven't even experienced real unconditional love. Some of us don't even know what it is. It's a tricky thing to navigate when we were given a role we didn't ask for only to build walls we don't want now that we're older. I do my best to tear down the walls that no longer serve my highest self but some days are better than others.
During my teens I began to use drugs to cope with the pain, grief and trauma I experienced, some of which had nothing to do with my mother at all, and since my example of how to cope was unhealthy it felt natural to me, at least I wasn't drinking alcohol, I thought. By the time I was 21 my mother and I used drugs together regularly. At this point my sisters had moved out into their own place and I was still living with my mother in a very toxic environment. There came a day when I told her I can't live with her anymore, that I can't do this anymore and asked her to take me to get help. Let that sink in for a minute. I asked my mother to take me to get help! Yea.... This is how dysfunctional my upbringing was, how reversed the roles were, sadly.
A few years later I finally found myself in real recovery, starting out on my own without my mother around. She found a boyfriend and moved to South Carolina thankfully, had she never left I might of still continued on that dark path. Somewhere deep down I think she knew this. She did have brief periods of sobriety during this time and I'm eternally grateful for her decision to move away. It changed my whole life completely.
In retrospect everything played out the way it should have for my highest good, even her death. I know horrible to say about my own mother but it's the truth. I'm not ashamed to say this today. My mother was so self consumed she couldn't manage to get outside of her own pain to show up for others. She was terrified of vulnerability and intimacy and it wreaked havoc on her life. She was completely isolated and couldn't even leave the house some days. Sounds like hell right? I'm sure it was. Active addiction is living hell.
Meanwhile I have stepped into the world of recovery and started to process my life and how I ended up the way I had. Clear as day I can remember the feeling of my fantasy world shattering when I realized the relationship with my mother was unhealthy, codependent and toxic. She was the best mother in the world to me up until that point. She had played the victim for years and had me convinced that it was everyone else's fault but her own that she was the way she was and while her childhood trauma wasn't her fault, her healing was her responsibility. She never could really grasp that.
As I continued to do soul work on my own and working with others in recovery my perspective started to shift. During this time there were missed birthdays, hopeful fantasies of her coming down to see me, the birth of my daughter which she wasn't able to be apart of and the list goes on. It was years and years of distance, of no contact, of sleepless nights when I just needed a mother. My outlet was writing poetry, journaling, expressing myself freely about what my needs were because up until that point I wasn't even sure of who I was or what I needed. For so long I was exactly who my mother built me to be. Over time it all started to make sense but not having my mom still cut really deep. There was always this nagging pain when it came to our relationship, a heaviness in my heart. When she decided to move back down to Florida in 2017 it threw me into a panic. Just the mere decision she made to come back down here spun me out of control. She didn't even start packing up boxes yet and I felt like the ground had been ripped out from underneath my feet. My anxiety, depression and grief was through the roof! To this day I believe my soul knew a death of some sort was coming. Whether it was a spiritual death or physical death didn't matter, it was all the same to me. March 7,2019 I got the call from my sister that my mother had overdosed. The news shocked me and it didn't even seem real. Everything inside of me wanted to run to her but I knew there was nothing I could do now. I knew she wasn't doing well but I didn't expect this! It took weeks before it felt like I wasn't living in a nightmare and that feeling still comes and goes now, three months later. My mom sent me a random picture the night before her death wearing clothes I had given her and the pic she sent shook my soul. The look of despair, loss of life in her eyes and sadness I could feel through the phone, my heart sank. She had given up. The next day she was gone, forever.
One thing I can say is I have no regrets. We made some good memories during the brief time she was doing well while she was still in South Carolina. We took vacations together and enjoyed each others company. When she wasn't in active addiction she was so much fun to be with. Her laugh was one of the best sounds in the world. She was so joyful and happy when she was sober. It never made sense to me why she ever chose to go back to her old ways. Having gone through the loss of my father and many others I realize the magnitude of this loss, there will now be missed birthdays, missed visits, missed holidays, etc but now she won't be there because she physically can't be not because she is gripped by addiction. The lesser of two evils really. She is free now, she finally escaped the torture of her own mind, the prison of her own body, as she used to say. My mother managed to make it to 60 and struggled most of her life but she did her best, I know this in my heart. Her birthday was Saint Patrick's Day, how fitting right? I will celebrate her freedom on that day every year from now until I take my last breath. She loved dragons and I'm positive she is really living now.
And as for me...well I'm still navigating the death of my mother wound but for the most part I too am free. Free from the pain of having a physical presence of a mother that just couldn't' show up most of the time. Free from the bitterness of having a mother but no deeper connection that fed my spirit. Free from the burden of wishing she could be someone she couldn't.
So how am I at peace? Because I've done the work. I've laid out all the puzzle pieces, all the beliefs, all the fears, all the insecurities and only took back what was mine. I've learned to comfort my own inner child when she is hurting and give her everything she needed but didn't receive. I've managed to give my own daughter the love, safe space, attention, compassion I so desperately needed. My healing now lies with the raising of my own child. The triggers that still arise in me from my own childhood and choosing a different approach so that my daughter is held and I am healed.
My mother was a beautiful soul but the moment she put alcohol or drugs into her body something else took over, her darkness ran the show. She had an artistic mind and got lost in the shadows. She left behind music she recorded years back and I'm grateful for her natural songwriting ability. Just her voice and the guitar is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I will always have her songs, her soul shines through in each one.
This is my story and I have no shame about the tremendous amount of healing and transformation I've been through to get me to where I am today. So if you or anyone you know has a similar story just understand that all things happen for a reason and even if they bring immense amount of pain into our lives they are truly there to bring us closer to divinity. Support yourself or anyone you know that might be moving through loss. Holding space is the best thing you can do, don't try to fix anything, don't try to comfort, just listen and if you aren't capable it's okay to say so.
Losing my mother has brought me to a new level within myself, a depth I didn't even know I was capable of reaching emotionally and as long as I don't get stuck in the pain, the sun always rises again tomorrow. The death of my mother wound has given me a chance to reinvent myself in anyway I choose, free from my pain, of her pain. I am now someone who doesn't have to carry the weight of a mother wound any longer. I will always miss her and the sadness brings me to my knees some days but I'm thankful for the ability to hear my own inner voice throughout this process. If I hadn't done the soul work I'm confident the view would not look anything like it does now, full of endless possibilities of who I can become. Her death won't be in vain. My mother was magical but she chose to dim her light. I refuse to have the same ending she did and instead I will embrace the pain, the darkness, the light, the joy or whatever else comes my way with open arms. This experience has been life altering on so many levels but not without taking me deep into the trenches of my shadows first. I have to continue to be brave, vulnerable, open and honest as I stumble through this. We all do.
If you are in the midst of a storm of your own and are navigating a mother wound the best advice I can give you is to be patient, with yourself and your mother whether she is alive or not. Try to see reality for exactly what it is and make peace with it in whatever way you need to. Grief is one of the most misunderstood emotions I've experienced and I've just given myself the freedom to BE however I need to be during my healing. If I'm happy, I'm happy and if I'm sad, I'm sad and no guilt about feeling one way or the other. It's simple really. Death has a way of truly bringing you right here into the present moment whether you want to be there or not. Allow it. One day the rain will clear up, the storm will pass and the birds will sing songs of joy and freedom. Until that day we can learn to embrace the waves rolling in, learn to ride them out like a skilled surfer and learn to surrender if we fall trusting that we will surface again. We will breathe again. We will laugh again. Knowing with every fiber of our being that when we come out of this we'll be a whole new person with a whole new direction in life. We'll understand how important the little things are and not take a single moment for granted. Death truly has it's gifts too we just really have to want to see them.