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Memories

My story is coming to an end.  There will be no long breaks and I will finish it soon.  I thank you for hanging with me if you are still reading.

When I left off, I had described transferring to a new school and looking ahead towards new goals.  I enjoyed my time at John Glenn, but when I started school back in September something changed.  I missed my “small” Catholic school even though I felt like I hadn’t quite fit in.  My classes at John Glenn were a pretty decent size and for some reason I thought about graduating with 400 people and it didn’t appeal to me.  I did miss Ladywood and I did miss the relationships I had.  So yes, I transferred back.

But my senior year was different.  I came out of my shell more and was less hesitant to push people away.  I wasn’t the me I am today, but it was more like me.  I felt, for the most part, okay.  I was learning to deal with things differently.  Well, mostly.  Yes, food was still my comfort after dealing with stressful situations.

That year was also hard on my mother.  Her mother had been ill for quite some time.  I grew up living next door to my dad’s mom, so yes I was closer to her.  I remember my mom’s mom and have good memories of her, but I really wish I knew her better and we were closer.  She was close to my mom and she did not live far away at all.  She would visit us and we would visit her.  I have memories, somewhat cloudy, but memories of my mom taking turns with her sisters to stay with my grandma.  I have no doubt she was still self-medicating herself at that point in time, but she was able to help take care of her.

I feel so guilt ridden that I cannot remember the timeline.  I cannot remember how long my grandmother was sick for. I remember when she did pass we were all at the hospital together, being there all night as a family together.  I remember feeling bad that I wish I had known her better.

If there was something to just push my mom even further into a depression it was the loss of her mother.

The loss of a mother…I cannot put that pain into words.  I know this, of course, because I have lost my mother.

Now, I have to point out that I had 27 ½ years with my mother.  Good times.  Bad times. Traumatic times. Wonderful times.  I was lucky I had that long with her, despite all of the issues and problems.

But the loss of a mother.  I have said these actual words to friends before: “It just plain sucks.”

And it just plain sucks.  There are moments in your life, when you only want YOUR mother.  There are moments in life when you want to just call YOUR mother.  There are moments in life when you want to YELL at YOUR mother.

But she isn’t there.

At eighteen years old, I knew my mom losing her mom was hard.  I did not realize how hard it was until I lost my own.  For a person who was already in such a deep depression…who had already experienced so much loss and pain, I think it was simply too much for her at times.

My senior year of high school 1996 and beyond…there are so many memories.  So many “incidents”. So many hospital visits.  So much I simply don’t remember.

One memory in particular, an overdose, which it usually was, led us to U of M.  She had overdosed.  On what, I cannot remember.  I remember anger, from her and lots of it.  Anger that she was being taken to the hospital. Anger that she was being questioned about her mental health.  Anger that she was being asked if she had tried to commit suicide.

I remember approaching her to talking to her while she was in one of the emergency beds.  She had charcoal on her face and she was just SO angry.  The look that she gave me when I walked up, I will never forget it.  I always told her the same thing—that I loved her and I was sorry and we didn’t want to lose her.  But wherever she was at that point in time, it wasn’t my mom.

This particular visit had resulted in a discussion with the doctors about possibly committing her.  Did we think that she was a threat to herself?  Yes, we did, of course we did.  She was a harm to herself.  My dad didn’t want to lose her and my brother and I did not want to lose her.  I was eighteen at the time.  Yes, I was legally an adult.  I was mature in more ways than I wanted to be and I only wanted to get her REAL help.  I signed emergency commitment papers with the thought that she would be treated at U of M.

She was not.

She was transferred to a facility that to my knowledge, is no longer in use.  I will not mention the name, but if I gave the location many people would know where it was.  I was upset because I did not feel that my dad or I had been properly told about her being transferred because at the time they did not have a full capacity psychiatric unit.  She was transferred all alone.  I cannot imagine that ride.  And I cannot imagine what she thought when they brought her in.

I came to visit her and she would not look at me. She would barely speak to me. The people surrounding us were not like my mom.  Not really.  They had deeper and bigger issues going on.  She did not belong there and as soon as I set foot in there I knew that.  But couldn’t she see, I only wanted to help her?  I only wanted to save her.  I didn’t want her to die.  But she didn’t belong there.

Did I mention this was days before my graduation party from high school?

All I can remember then, was a race against time to try and undo what I had done, with the promise that she would get real help.  I remember phone calls and begging, and meetings.  But I cannot tell you everything in detail.  I can tell you that my party was on a Saturday and my mom came home on a Friday.  The party didn’t matter, of course not.  But it all blends together for me.

What do you do, when a loved one is trying to hurt themselves?  What do you do?  While I felt that I had no choice at the time, I regretted doing it.  It may have been the thing that saved her that night, but for so long my mother looked at me with anger.  I know she realized at one point I was only trying to help her.  But despite everything my mom and I had gone through, I hated when she was angry with me.

There are so many memories.  So many hospital visits that I can remember as clear as day.  But I know there are so many that I have blocked out.  Do you tempt recovering these memories?  Or do you leave them be?  I have sat here, trying to remember certain things, forcing my brain in any way I can…and then I think, some things are really just meant to be left alone.

Do I need more memories of my mother wanting to hurt herself?  Do I need another memory of her standing before me and my cousin with a gun to her head and me PLEADING with her not to pull the trigger?  Do I need another memory of finding her completely passed out wondering if she is dead or just drunk?  Do I need another memory of her having a seizure right in front of me because she took too many pills?

No, I do not.

What I need, I have.

Me, sneaking a peek at my mother’s journal on her bedside. She wrote about how much she loved me and my brother.

My mom comforting me.  About what I cannot remember. But my head is in her lap and she is rubbing my forehead.  I feel safe.

Her laugh.  A great laugh that came completely from within.  She could not fake a laugh.  If she was laughing, you knew you were getting the real deal.

Her telling me on my graduation day from college, how proud she was of me.  It was a major accomplishment for my family.  But she is frail at only 46 years old.  She looks aged and time has taken a toll on her body.  I have no idea that I will only have three years left with her.

Her wisdom at times most needed.  She was not perfect, but sometimes when I needed JUST the right advice, she was able to give it.

Her good memories, which far outweigh the bad ones.  Or I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

There are days, like today, that I would give anything to see my mom again.  To talk to her.  To just see her. But I know that will not happen.  So I write. I share. I open up and hope that my story can help someone.

Please, I am not trying to make a commercial out of this, but if you are struggling with depression or addiction there is HELP.  Trust me, people want to help you.  Seek it and find it.  Talk to your family.  Talk to your friends.  You are not alone, I promise you that.

My mom and grandma (her mom) on her wedding day.

My mom and grandma (her mom) on her wedding day.

wedding

Me, my mom, and grandma (dad’s mom) on my wedding day.

Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    We have a lot in common. I was surprised reading your story at the similarities that jumped off the page and grabbed my attention. I just lost my mother last fall, and she was doing some of the same things. It was a nightmare. My condolences to you.

  2. Xoxo

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