My mom died almost 9 years ago and this morning, I am finally grieving the loss of my best friend ever. For 40 years we were always close, even if we lived in different states. I never had to worry about a thing because I knew my mom would be there. Now she’s gone and I’m feeling the pain.
Now, let’s not elevate this relationship as better than it was. My mom was tragically traumatized as a child and she was wounded. She knew she was wounded and, she would admit she didn’t want to process the trauma. Her “treatment” was Prozac and cheap wine and she was OK with that plan. I was never my mom’s daughter, always her best friend. I was her confidant, roommate and drinking buddy from age 13 and on. Before that, I was her constant companion and mini-me. In both roles, I was in over my head and it wasn’t healthy. She always called me her “perfect child” and told me that no one loved me like she did. No one wanted me and adored me like she did. I believed her always and felt the weight of her needing me, and I needing her.
My mom left my life suddenly. It was a Wednesday night and we were having dinner just like every other night, her, me and my daughter. My mom had retired early to be my daughter’s primary caregiver, I worked and we all lived happily. After dinner that night I went up stairs for about 10 minutes and when I came back down, an aneurysm in her brain left her alive but non-responsive. She went into a coma the next day and passed away 5 days later.
At the time, the shock was so thick I could barely move. My only concern was for my daughter and making sure she navigated well. She was 7 years old and my mom was truly like another parent for her. I made sure all of her teachers knew what happened and made sure that she was seeing the school counselor.
I made sure for myself that I drank enough alcohol to keep the feelings at bay. I had been drinking since I was 13, I was 40 at the time so I was a pro. In one moment I went from having a live-in nanny and house manager to no one. My mom managed everything so I was lost without her. Alcohol became so much more important, and it was what kept me from processing.
Fast forward several years and I found myself 3 years sober, in a much healthier state and in a class to get my trauma counseling certification. It was there that the facade started cracking and I had to face the anger over my life with my mom. I didn’t get to have a normal or even pleasant childhood. I got to be part of an alcoholic and violent step family, moving every couple of years and too much emotional weight for a kid. In my classes and therapy groups, I had to start facing that everything wasn’t alright and that I did have trauma to process. So I started a slow journey, weeding through the muck and mire of being my mother’s daughter.
Fast forward almost 3 years from that and we come to this morning. I’m 48 now and finally crying over the death of my best friend, my mom. In the almost 9 years since she’s been gone, I have never shed a tear of sadness. I’ve rarely ever thought that I even missed her. In the past couple weeks God has led me to processing the anger out so that what’s left is the pain and heartache. It’s good to be here, but it hurts.
My mom was beautiful and funny. She had a smile that could light a city and a laugh that could incite a riot. She was the life of every party I ever saw her at. Her name was Barbara and she was truly the Queen B. She loved me more than any other person she ever loved and I never doubted that for one split second of my life. She was always available, day or night, even when we didn’t live together. She was what my life was built on and while that is too much for any one human, that was how she wanted it.
I miss my mom. Truly, for the first time ever, I miss my mom. I’m so thankful she’s in heaven and not in anymore pain. I’m so thankful that God is bringing healing to my life and helping me process it all. He is an amazingly good God and I love Him more than I loved my mom.
Processing grief is hard and, God is faithful to heal our broken hearts.