I was still in denial that Sunday morning. I sat next to my Mother and asked, ‘Are you tired of doing this Mom?’ She shook her head yes. ‘You don’t have to do it anymore.’ I then asked her to in some way come back and see me so that I knew she was OK. That Sunday evening, she passed away.
Five weeks later, my daughter was born. I’ve often heard that when a family member passes on, a new life begins. While I can’t recall much of the first few months of my daughter’s life, I do know she cried constantly and so did I. My husband’s parents offered to help us since he nor I knew anything about babies. We moved closer to my in-laws which was over and hour away from my job, family and friends. I felt isolated in my new surroundings and barely knew my in-laws. I soon found myself questioning every decision I’ve made in my life. I no longer wanted to do anything I once enjoyed. I felt I couldn’t even properly take care of my baby. A huge part of me died along with my Mother. Mom was amazing! She was the person I talked to when I couldn’t talk to anyone else. She was my best shopping partner and one of the funniest people I knew. Mom was active in the church, a poet, and an amazing cook. She was a nurse and an advocate for children. When she found out she had Leukemia, she fought it for 8 years. How could I live and raise a child without the one person I needed the most? Finally, my doctor diagnosed me with Postpartum Depression- a feeling of deep sadness, anxiety, etc., that a woman feels after giving birth to a child. (Merriam Webster). I was prescribed medication and advised to seek counseling. I attended group therapy sessions but they didn’t seem to help. Soon after, I returned to college. In the beginning, I enjoyed my courses but lost focus and decided not to continue. I met several different counselors and learned as Mom’s caregiver, I felt guilty for not being able to keep her alive. The counseling somewhat, made me feel worse. All of this happened in a span of over 3 years. One evening I reached my breaking point and I stared at the filled medicine bottles next to my bed. I never thought about physically ending my existence until that moment. It really scared me.
That moment was my “awakening” and the beginning of my acceptance. Acceptance of my Mom’s passing and there was nothing I could do to change what happened. I didn’t want to leave my daughter. I missed out of so much of her life already. The group therapy prepared me for meeting new people and learning of their struggles. In turn, that gave me the desire to volunteer in my community. I can help people, and that helps me. The counseling started my healing and the release of my guilt. Returning to college helped me realize how much I enjoyed writing again. These were not failures as I previously thought, they were part of my journey to getting better. My acceptance is what worked best for ME and my situation. I still have difficult days and will always miss my Mom but I have the power to carry on her beautiful legacy.
On August 4th, my Mom will be gone 4 years. Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about her. I like to think she is letting me know she is here and she’s OK and I that I will be OK too.