Some days it’s easy to ignore the realities life throws in your direction. Other days, reality hits you so hard it’s difficult to breathe.
As I was lying in bed last night, I thought about what it would be like to lose my dad. He’s always been there, calm and ready to listen. My mom and I talked on the phone yesterday. He seems to be doing better, almost as if nothing happened. But something did happen. We just don’t know what or how much damage it may have caused. Maybe it was nothing and we’re making it out to be more than what it really is. But what if we’re not?
She talked about finding his life insurance papers and needing to start making funeral arrangements. Sounds grossly morbid, but when my grandmother died, she had most of it already planned (burial plot, casket, funeral home, etc) which made the process for my mom and my uncles a little easier to bear. So I suppose that’s what she’s doing as well. It may help in the process of mentally dealing with the impending loss.
I was born to parents who didn’t want me so my adopted mom and dad took me in when I was just a baby. They’re all I’ve ever known. My dad started a new family after the death of his first wife. He supported my mom in the decision to adopt two children and start over late in life, even after having four children of his own. My mom always said he was so supportive. He would get up early in the morning to get me out of bed and walk me around their apartment and tell me all the stories about the photos hanging on their walls so that my mom could sleep just a little bit longer.
The age difference between my mom and dad has become more pronounced over the last several years, but even more so now. He looks like an old, sickly man instead of the strong man he used to be. It’s terrifying to imagine what losing him will be like. Maybe we’re all getting ahead of ourselves. Maybe he’ll be fine for a long time still. Who knows? With all the advances of modern medicine, people still die of terrible things while taking dozens of pills until they finally just give up. Sounds deeply depressing, but it’s true.
I talked to him on the phone last night, and he didn’t even mention that anything had happened. Denial maybe? Or he just doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s scary thinking about the future. I desperately want him to call my cell phone and leave a message. After last week’s Postsecret update, so many people have voicemails from lost ones so that they can remember them and hear their voices. The cell phone carriers also work with people to get those messages saved so they will have them forever. I want that.
Thinking about the past, there aren’t that many photos of us together. We weren’t much about taking photos when we got older. Regret surrounds me. All the what-ifs and should-haves. I get the sinking feeling that the sand is slowly coming to an end in the hourglass.
It brings me back to the death of my grandma a few years back. It was the only death I had been keenly aware of and I was present for the last few hours of her life. I remember it vividly. We knew she was sick and wasn’t getting better. She took a turn for the worse when I was getting ready to visit my college of choice for undergrad. It was a Spring day in April 2004. Spring was coming and the forsythia was blooming. I remember thinking how beautiful it was and how she would have loved to see them in full bloom. We got back late that night, and I went to visit her in the nursing home. It was like I entered an alternate universe seeing someone I didn’t know gasping for breath. It was horrifying.
I’m scared. I’m not ready for this. Not yet. I really didn’t think it’d be so soon.
June 7, 2020 at 1:00am, an hour before my shift at work, I got a phone call no one wants. It was my dad: I answered. “Mom died” he said tearfully.
I felt my stomach drop. Impossible. How could she be gone? I was stunned. I immediately stood up, gathered up my work stuff (knowing that I wouldn’t need them that morning) to meet dad at the hospital.
Mom had been in the hospital for a UTI for the past week. Her condition had been stable but she was pretty out of it. Because of the virus we were unable to see her in the hospital or at all because she lived in a nursing home. We had done window visits, and dad talked to her on the phone, but it wasn’t the same. I attempted to Facetime with her (earlier that week) but she was pretty out of it My mom had MS, so her health was always on a roller coaster. I kept thinking how we managed 3 years since the last hospital incident when things were close then. I thought we had more time.
The drive to the hospital (also my employer) was a blur, I was trying to reach family members to let them know what happened. All I knew is that her oxygen levels had dropped. “There had to be more”, I thought. I made it to work hurrying into the office to deposit my keys, tell my coworker where I was going, and grab a mask. I met dad out in the ER and we hugged. Going up to the floor where mom was seemed so unreal, like a dream, a really horrible bad dream. I felt nauseous and almost like I was back in time to when my sister died 7 years ago and we went to see her, then almost 20 years ago when my grandfather died. I was not ready for this.
When we approached her room the nurse was so kind, just explaining what happened (the same thing my dad had said), and the nurse added that mom kept saying “Go away” to her. That gave me indication that she knew it was her time, she was tired, and my sister was waiting for her.
I wrote you a letter in purple pen. I was high again. Relapsed the day before after having 6 months clean, and I knew that you knew I was high the last time I saw you at the Care Center. I felt so guilty because I felt like I was crawling out of my skin to get out of that room.
Not because I didn’t want to see you, but there was nothing to do in there with your hospital bed; you could barely get out of and the TV was constantly running. We talked about how you needed to find a new place to live and how I could live with you again and help you out, writing all these ideas and plans.
A few days later, I helped pack up your apartment, trying to save everything because I knew how much you loved all your knick-knacks and junk. You and I were always the sentimental ones. After going through and packing it all up, putting it into storage, just until you were out of the Care Center.
I should have come to see you. I was literally just down the street. Wouldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes to see you. But I was coming down.
All I could think was lets’s get this done so I can go pick up. I didn’t even stop by or call you that day.
I went to the park after getting my fix and started writing you a letter. Telling you how sorry I was that I wasn’t the best kid, and didn’t always appreciate you, and that I know you did your best with what you could; that I loved you.
The next day I was at work and get a call from grandma.
She tells me that you had a heart attack, and you were gone.
What you may or may not read below is something that you should be warned about. While not particularly graphic, the post contains strong themes such as child loss, stillbirth, baby loss, and suicide. If you feel that you cannot handle any of those triggers, please click here to be taken away to a world of glittery whimsy. Don’t feel as though you should read this if you’re not ready or if you’re never ready. Part of being healthy is being able to stop yourself if you’re uncomfortable with the following post.
I need you to know that this is a first for our site and that I left it alone for a long time because I didn’t want to do more harm than good. Finally, it dawned on me that this anonymous poster (who I simply cannot locate – I tried) gave us her deepest feelings and fears. Even if I am uncomfortable (and I am), these are her sacred words, and they deserve to see the light of day. You’re very welcome to reach out to me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This site has a motto, a simple one: we are none of us alone, we are all connected.
We take stories here – all of them – and this is no different.
These are her sacred words that she wanted me to share with you.
I feel guilty and out of line when i speak about her on any other day except for her birthday… this year I could not even speak to anyone about her.
I don’t even understand what I must feel and what the normal grieving process is. Some nights even feel worse than the nights I lost her.
I had this idea that i would be over it by now or that I would not think about her so much.
I thought time would make it all better…..
tonight is one of the worse nights I’ve had. I just started missing her more than ever and then I felt like my heart is shattered all over again.
i can barely breathe from the crying, I feel the pain in my throat. My heart feels like it is being ripped out right now.
The image of her little lifeless body in front of me is stuck inside my head. She just looked like she was sleeping.
I just needed her her to breathe.
I just needed her to breathe.
Why did she die???
Why did she have to die?
I can’t explain this pain.
I don’t think anyone will understand what I feel right now. If I ever had to talk to anyone about this pain, what would they think? I just can’t talk to anyone! I will just be a burden or they will think I am seeking attention; that is mostly the case when i bring her name up to my ex-husband. I didn’t mean to blame him for not being able to save her, all the build up hurt just got the best of me. The grief turned into hate, hate towards people that do not deserve it, it made me push them away.
i just feel like screaming now!
Sometimes I wonder if I will feel better if I could talk about her, sometimes I wonder if it will ever get better….
Will I ever get closure?
i do not think i will male it through this pain…
i smile the whole day so no one even notices how broken I am. Once I am alone, I break down.
It is like a black hole that just gets bigger…
The pain consumes more of me each day.
Suicide is no longer just a thought, it is a pat of my plan, it is a matter of fact.
I am not scared anymore to go
I am so sorry for what i leave behind; the people I love that I leave behind. They don’t deserve it, my kids, my family, and my friends don’t deserve it… they have done nothing wrong.
i Just cannot go on , i have died inside a long time ago. Who i am now is just a body that is on repeat and that is not life. Feeling so numb and hurting this much is unbearable.
I hope the ones i leave behind will try and understand. On the brighter side at least my ex-husband will be happy.
I just want to go home, I want to be in heaven , I want to rest with my baby Olive.
I don’t belong here anymore.
After her loss, I tried my best to be happy, but I’ve never been happy again since she has died. I mastered the art of pretending to be happy at least , but I just can’t feel it. Funny how i even have the nickname “Smiley”… lol
If there was a person i’d have been able to open up about her, it would have been her father, but because of the ways in which i brought her up in our fights, he doesn’t want to hear anything about her.
I guess I cant blame him; it is my own fault … I never had a guideline or a manual on how to deal with the mixed emotions and thoughts her death caused.
I kept quiet about so many feelings that I should have shared and I lashed out about so many thoughts I should have kept to myself.
Anyway, it is to late late for the “should have’s” and “what if’s” and “if only i hads.”
Nothing will bring her back and nothing will change this pain. All this hurt killed me inside.
I didn’t die that long after she died; now it’s just my body that is left behind wondering around, longing to go, waiting impatiently to go.
Yes, I do think my death will be a shock to everyone in my life including my boyfriend ( which is the most amazing guy on earth). Some people don’t even know about Baby Olive, so most people that are the closest to me wont even link my death with hers.
The truth is i that just want to go. I feel so numb to their opinion about why I left – it won’t even matter. There won’t be a note it a sign before if I go, I will just go.
i guess the only reason i am still here is to finalize a few things before I go. I want my departure to be easy for those I leave behind, I want to be quickly forgotten. I don’t want anyone to hurt or feel guilty. My wish is to make it seem like an accident.
I am not even sure whyIi wrote this. If i ever had to say i am sorry, i will say sorry to her father for the anger and the blame and the hurt. I would have apologized for the person i was, I am sorry for my actions and how they affected you. I am sorry for being so controlling and crazy over you. I just never loved the way I loved my husband and I’ve never hurt like the day i lost her.
I am not good at handling those strong emotions – it just comes out wrong and I am sorry. Sorry will never fix anything and even if I had the chance to say sorry now, I know it won’t matter.
It has been 3 years.
I don’t even think you will remember. I know that you are happy now, I know you love her more than me, I know she is so much better and prettier than me, and that is good.
I will not bother to disturb anyone.
Whatever is left unsaid will forever be…
i guess writing this gave me some peace before I go, even if it will never be read or understood. Even if those i leave behind will never know that I got some peace before i go.
i feel so much better to knowIi can finally go. I feel it’s so selfish, yet I am no longer living even if i stay.
I will give my family my very best to make sure they know how much i love them and how much i appreciate them.
They are the best; that’s why i want to go without them considering suicide.
While everyone starts off with a new year, I just wish to start of with my eternal life without this pain and hurt.
i guess I am hoping to meet her there too … most nights, the thought of meeting her soon helps me to fall asleep.
I don’t know what I was supposed to feel or how, how to soothe this pain, but I do know i want to end it.
and i will.
I guess that’s just where my story ends.
my book of life has been completed and i guess not every story gets that happy ending.
It’s been a long time since you’ve asked me to comment on the book you wrote about your mom’s suicide. I think you are amazing to write about it and I’m glad that you did. I don’t enjoy bringing that chapter of life to mind, given the chaos of those years, but I’ve thought about it often. Especially when I think about what it means to be a mother and uncovering fresh layers of fucked up that we both learned from our mothers.
I know it’s not fair of me to judge them now — but it’s hard not to.
Talking about my relationship with your mom is hard for me because I admired her very much — I was flabbergasted by the way that she slipped back into drugs and addiction.
I was shocked that she abandoned you like that. I was just shocked.
I couldn’t believe your mom would die by suicide.
I still can’t.
I remember the first time I met your mom, I was playing in the front yard while she moved in across the street. She introduced herself from over the fence and told me that she had a daughter just my age, with my name: “I have a Sarah too.”
By the time you came to visit for the summer she had already arranged that we would be playmates. She even arranged a phone call between us before your visit.
When you showed up at my front door, I knew we would be lifelong friends.
My mom worked a lot and my dad was physically or mentally absent most of the time, so your home was like a second home to me.
During these years, your house felt like a Norman Rockwell to me, though now I see that it was far from it.
My mom remarried a man who was addicted to heroin, while at your house, your mom packed lunches, set up the tent in the backyard for us to “camp,” and made goody bags filled with candy. She took us to the zoo, the mall, and the flea market. She prescreened movies, took us for mint chocolate chip ice cream cones, and insisted that you wore a bike helmet. I remember going with her to an NA picnic in the park and how proud she was of her sober chips. We’d to admire the shiny metal coins she earned for racking up months and years of sobriety.
I envied the amount of time and attention that your mom spent with you when she was sober As a kid, I saw your mom as kind, fair, the type who would take the time to listen.
It was very late and your mom answered the phone and insisted that I tell her what was happening. My stepfather hadn’t started hitting my mom yet, but the yelling was really over the top. She gave me a speech about how adults sometimes argue and it can be scary for children to hear and explained that my mom and step dad would never want to do anything to scare me. She told me to go downstairs and tell them that they were scaring me and I couldn’t sleep. They told me to go back up to my room.
Many nights of fighting followed with growing intensity and I tried to call you but ended up talking to Beth.
Beth eventually called my mom and told her that she was concerned about me – I was in big trouble. I was forbidden to speak about “private family business.” It worked: I didn’t speak of the violence again until after his death.
The violence escalated and my stepfather began beating my mom and my brother when he was angry. We moved on several occasions to get away from him.
The emotional abuse from my stepfather became our new normal and we began spending school nights on random people’s sofas, hiding our car down the street.
I spent as much time as possible at friend’s houses and took up babysitting to get out of the house on weekends.
Beth was the only person who knew what was happening; I’d assumed that she would be the person to help me out of that situation. I’m no longer sure she understood how bad things had gotten. She provided me a safe place to go whenever I needed one and a reminder that there are kind people in the world. She told me that I should become one of them. She affirmed that there were a lot of fucked-up things in the world and they would probably never make sense.
Honestly, I don’t know how I would have turned out without Beth as a moral reference point during those years.
Beth became addicted to codeine cough syrup and her behavior changed: she didn’t take us on outings she slept all day everyday. One occasion when she woke up, I remember her running down the hallway singing “boo boop be boo.” This is when I learned that there was something wrong. I was pretty sure that people with bronchitis didn’t do that kind of thing normally.
I knew things were coming unhinged for you, but was too young to appreciate the full weight of what was happening.
I lived in Beth’s house twice, once for a short time when I ran away after my stepfather died and for the school term after that.
By the time I officially lived with Beth she was pretty far gone in her addiction. She slept or was gone most of the time.
It seemed that you were on your own, too.
I still cared what Beth thought of me. She seemed one of the few people who didn’t see me as a lost cause and so I didn’t see myself that way when I was around her.
On Fridays, Beth would take us to the grocery store. She taught us how to grocery shop and some very basic cooking skills.
Things went sour when my mom suspected Beth was using the money she gave her for things other than my upkeep. You and Beth were at odds more often than not. I decided it was best to move back home. Home was a sort of hell, but it was my own hell and I knew how to navigate it.
I didn’t see much of Beth after that.
I’d spend weekends at her apartment while she agreed to leave us totally unattended. The last time I saw her, she’d picked me up from my house to bring me back to your house for the weekend. I remember her being warm and chatting with me for the ride, though I can’t remember what about.
I remember her smiling and I remember that she mentioned that you were unhappy with her these days.
The next time I saw her she was in a coma.
Atrophied hands, hair cut short, dead to the world.
No warm smile, no more sun-kissed freckles, no more frizzy bun atop her head.
She was gone to the world and she couldn’t recover. That’s the last I saw her.
I couldn’t talk about her death with you. It didn’t seem like you wanted to and then you were gone I knew that she let you down and ultimately abandoned you with her suicide. You have every right to be angry with her; hell I was angry on your behalf.
I was just shocked and sad. I think I felt abandoned too.
The next few years were hard for us; the one person I saw as a safe adult had succumbed to drugs and took her own life. It didn’t add up.
Suicide was cruel and yet I remembered her as such a kind person.
There was nothing I could say that would lessen the pain for you so I said nothing.
You remind me of her because you look so much like her now. If you want to talk about what happened, I’d let you start.
What is there to say now, after all of these years?
That was fucked up. There is some fucked up bad shit in the world and it will never make sense, but there is some wonderful stuff too. I think that, despite it all, we both turned out to be people who contribute more to the good than to the uglyl.
I hold you close in my heart, my sister and my dear friend.
Sunday will mark five years since my sister died. I had a hard time losing my sister to bone cancer. She fought for over three years with bone cancer that caused her daily pain and stress.
Her life ended when she’d had too many surgeries and her body couldn’t keep up. Losing my sister is the hardest thing I’ve experienced.
I don’t feel bad for her now, because she’s free from all of that. But I do miss her; more than I miss my grandparents who have passed away. Her death was a trauma for me, as her 27-year-old soul was ripped away from my family and we were left with a forever empty chair at the table.
Now, I have a daily regimen of seven medications that keep me here on this earth from antidepressants to mood stabilizers and sleep aids. I fight suicidal thoughts and feelings near-constantly during this time of the year.
I have two girls; the younger one is my lifeline. I was pregnant with her when my sister died and I live in fear that she will die and leave me just like my younger sister left my mom.
My faulty logic says that little sisters die; I am so afraid that I will lose her. Her presence is one of the biggest comforts to me, which makes me love her more than her sister.
There, I said it: I love one kid more than the other.
What can I say? What else is there to do but keep pushing on, trying to move past a pain that is so old and yet so fresh.