My mother always said that one day when I was a mother myself I would understand better. And with tomorrow being the anniversary of my mother’s suicide and death I have to admit for one of the very few times in my life that she was right. How I wish she could hear me say that. How I wish she hadn’t taken away our chance to share this journey.
A friend of mine and I lost one of our parents just weeks apart and she blogged the other day about the third anniversary and how hard it has been. It seems that the third anniversary is the tough one (hopefully the toughest and that old saying about time healing will now become true), and I have found myself tearful and thinking about my Mom a lot in the last couple of weeks. I have NEVER been the type to hold onto sadness, to pull out sad anniversaries. I used to become so frustrated by my mom becoming all sad and having a whole reliving of her losses on the anniversary of someone’s death. But somehow, I just can’t help myself, I do recall that this is the anniversary and I am sad and angry and accepting all at the same time, not sure those stages of mourning happen one after the other, sometimes it feels like they happen all together.
Anyway, one thing has become very apparent to me and that is that being a parent is tough. It seems to be that every day is full of decisions that seem so important. Every day I am an example to my kids, good or bad. Some days I climb into bed and I feel like, yup, today I was a pretty cool parent, I handled that tantrum right, I managed the biting situation properly, I stimulated, I encouraged, I loved in all the right ways. But just as often I climb into bed and think, I wish I hadn’t shouted when he stuck his fingers in the DVD player, I wish I had stopped to pick her up when she cried as I walked past, I wish I hadn’t been in such a hurry, or hadn’t sworn, I wish I had smiled more, made them laugh more, I wish we had danced. It’s okay, I don’t beat myself up (often), but I like to reflect on things so I can hopefully be self aware enough to become better. I know that we are simply doing the best we can as parents. I know I am doing the best I know how and trying to get better all the time. The best I can. It’s about being as good as I have the capacity to be. And I’m not super human and I am okay with that.
And so now I am a mother I understand, that my mom was simply doing the best SHE could. She tried to be the best SHE had the capacity to be. My mom had so many challenges, carried so much of her own baggage, had so many of her own scars, she was so damaged. And I’m sad to say, some of that passed on to me in the way she parented, but she really was the best SHE knew how to be. An above all she loved me with everything she had in her, honestly should I have ever expected more from her than that? I don’t know, but I was a child, it felt like I needed more. It dawned on me that my mother wasn’t the best mother, but she was the best mother she could be. My mom was damaged, my mom was riddled by mental (and physical) illness. And in the end, she simply ended it all. I know this sounds totally insane, but I also know that she ended it for me. I know that even in leaving me, she did it because she felt it was the best thing she could do for me. Even leaving me was being the best parent she knew how to be.
It is time to forgive her for not being what she didn’t know how to be and time to be so grateful for what she was and for how hard she tried to be the best. Maybe if I can forgive and make peace with what wasn’t and celebrate in what was, the sadness at her no longer being here will ease.
I am so sad that if she had just stuck around for another 13 months, she would have been one of those phone calls to say we were finally pregnant. Had she stuck around I know she would have been an awesome Granny. I know that she would have loved Pudding and Sausage to the ends of the Earth and back and I know she would have driven me insane by being there all the time, loving and playing and teaching, and did I mention loving, my precious hope babies. I know my kids faces would light up when they saw pictures of her (the way the light up when they see pictures of my sister and my step-mom). My Mom would have been one of those favourites, and I am sad my kids will never know her.
I am so sad that I can’t tell my mom that she was right, I am a mom and now I understand.