My mother died last night.

I don't know how to feel or what I feel. I am sad, but not just because of her passing. I am sad for a wasted lifetime of anger, resentment, and hatred.

She'd been in and out of the hospital over the past few years and was getting on, but you know, when it actually happens, it's always a shock. It doesn't matter how much time you have to mull things over, knowing this is bound to happen sooner rather than later. It's still unbelievable when it finally does happen.

This last time, she had been in the hospital for about two weeks, but had been doing quite well. They were just waiting for a bed to open up for her at a longer-term care facility so that she could further recuperate before returning home. She was in the hospital for multiple spinal fractures. Thank you, osteoporosis. Nothing at all related to her eventual demise.

Last Sunday, she was walking the halls in the hospital. Monday, she didn't feel so great. Tuesday came and she began vomiting, and tests showed she had an infection. The infection quickly spread to her blood, and she couldn't fight it.

What's confusing about this situation is that, before last night, I hadn't seen my mother in probably seven years. And now she's gone, and I don't know what to do with my feelings, or should I say, perhaps my lack thereof.

I went to see her at the hospital last night, because I felt it was the right thing to do. But I felt out of place standing there next to her, staring at her, waiting for her chest to rise, and seeing nothing but stillness. I wasn't there for her for a very long time, so what was I doing here now? I felt like a voyeur.

Our relationship was a difficult and strenuous one from the very beginning, and I tried to make it work many times over the years. However, once I had my children, and she began treating my daughter the same way I had been treated by her, I decided I couldn't allow our relationship to continue. I couldn't do it for myself, but I did it for Em. That tells you something about my level of self-esteem, I guess. But, you know, it's not easy saying good-bye to your mother, regardless of how she treats you, regardless of how awful she makes you feel, regardless of the knowledge that she did not love me. There is always some sort of hope, I guess, hope that maybe she will have a change of heart, that she will suddenly be the mother she was supposed to be.

This separation didn't happen without a lot of talking and hoping on my part, but my mother never seemed to be able to make a change in how she dealt with her only daughter and granddaughter. I'll never really know why. Something must have happened to her at some point in her younger years, but when we'd ask her questions about her life as a young girl during World War II, she didn't remember much.

It took me a long time to feel 'fine' about it, but I always missed her, and wished things could have been different. Because, after everything that had happened between us, she was still my mother, and that invisible and sometimes very thin thread is what kept us connected.

I missed not having the mother so many other people talk about having: the kind who smiles when you enter the room, the kind who calls you up just to say "hi", the kind who loves you unconditionally. I didn't want a lot. I just wanted some recognition that I was worthy. But, for whatever reason, she couldn't give me that. And I had to accept it, so I did, as well as I could.

My mother was not those mothers, and I learned to deal with it. And as a result, I had to say good-bye to her because that was the only way I was going to be able to get on with my life and keep on enjoying my life, because really, that's all I had. She had already ripped my soul apart through many years of abuse, and I was having a hard enough time rebuilding it. My physical and emotional distance from her was entirely an act of self-preservation. There is no longer any blame involved. It just is.

When I stood there watching her last night as she lay there, immobile, peaceful at last, I wanted to say "I'm sorry" to her. I am sorry, but not for having done anything wrong. I am simply sorry that things couldn't have been different between us, that somehow we couldn't have managed to transgress the chasm that we had created, just accept one another as we were, and just be. I am sorry she couldn't love me for who I am. I am sorry I could not love her.

And now she is gone forever, and my grieving begins all over again.

And I am numb.


Blonde Goddess said…
Mary, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't begin to understand what you're going through right now.

My thoughts are with you...
A. K. said…
So sad that you have to go through all those. Everything happens for a reason..
There is a great and blinding sorrow in the pain of estrangement and death. My condolences to you and your family.
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I have the same relationship with my mother, and I don't know what will happen in the future.

What I have finally figured out is we cannot let our parents define who we are and how we live. At least to the extent where it affects our happiness and well being. As well as those around us.

You are not alone.....
If you ever want to talk, feel free to send me an email. I so totally get you here.
Soxy Deb said…
My heart is breaking for you. I know a little something about a broken mother-daughter relationship.
I hope you can find some peace with your moms death.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Megryansmom said…
Mary, our mothers are very similar. I'm sorry for your sadness. I understand your heartache.
wow, I am really really sorry. Sending you lots of hugs. I've lost both my parents, one who I was close to and one who I had a strained relationship with, so I can relate to some of what you wrote. Sending lots of thoughts and prayers.
Shana said…
I am sorry, Mary!
CaJoh said…
So sad to hear of your loss. My wife lost her mother a few years back and I know that she will always miss her.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Martha H. said…
I am so sorry for your loss.

Sounds like you and my mother have similar situations. Her mom is a bit of a beast and not a very loving and kind mother at all, especailly towards my mother.

It's so sad. Maybe she will finally be at peace with whatever demons chased her in life.

I hope that you will finally be able to find some peace with the situation, too.

My thoughts are with you.
Bobby's Dream said…

I am so sorry. I know you already had to say goodbye once and now you are having to say goodbye to a dream. I think this one may be a bit harder.

I am thinking of you!
Tenakim said…
I am so sorry for you!

I hope you begin to heal and make peace.
Steph said…
I'm so very sorry. If you ever want to talk, I'm more than willing to listen.
I know exactly how you feel. I too have mother issues.

It doesn't make it any easier thought. Be strong.
Take care and big hugs.
Anonymous said…

First of all a big {hug} to you GF.

I'm sorry for the loss of your Mother, not just because she passed on...but because emotionally she had passed on from you a long, long time ago.

Many {hugs} to you from me!
Miss Thystle said…
I'm so sorry for you loss. All of them.
~*Jobthingy*~ said…
i am sorry for your loss and confusion. *hugs*
Anonymous said…
Hugs! I hope you will be able to find a way to work through your feelings about your mother. I am sorry for your loss.
Aw Mary, I'm sorry for your loss right now as well as your loss for many years.
I'll just pray for Peace for you...I don't know what else to say.
Cathy Winsby said…
You're an awesome Mom, Mary, to be able to walk away from all of that and protect Em from what you had to endure.

Don't cry for what never was but rejoice in what is....your relationship with your daughter.

Hugs and happy thoughts.
Kathy said…
I am sorry that your mother died. I am sorry that she never was the mother you needed. I am glad you have learned to mother yourself and your daughter. There is nothing strange about standing up for your own child in a way you couldn't stand up for yourself. That's what a mother does. Or should do.
My mother died about two years ago. As strange as it sounds, our relationship is still morphing. I'd like to think she is finding a place for herself, but it may be that I am finding a place for myself and for her memory. Or maybe it's both.
Jeankfl said…
I'm so sorry you're having to process the death of two dreams.. one of your mother, and one of your hopes. You did what you had to do, as painful as it was, maybe now you can come to terms with it.. She may have loved you as much as she was able.. that just wasn't much.
Don't try to rationalize something that can't be rationalized. Be at peace with yourself, and know that you are living your life right, and being the best mom you can be. Write a letter to your mom and get out everything you ever wanted to say to her, don't hold anything back. That emotional release will help your healing process begin.

pam said…
Sending hugs your way...
raino said…
mary. i don't have anything else to say to you but that i am sorry. so very sorry for your loss. sorry that your mother was not the mom you needed or deserved. although you felt funny being next to her in the hospital, although you had such a challenging mom daughter relationship, you will still mourn her loss but maybe in a different way. take care.
Ann said…
Mary I am so sorry to hear about the death of your mother. No matter what one's relationship with their parents is, seems hard when they pass on. My sympathies to you and your family ma'am.

Lynn makes a great and wonderful point, that we cannot and mustn't let our parents define who we are and how we live. They raised us, when we are adults, they have (or should have) done their job. That is it.
"Something must have happened to her at some point in her younger years..."

Perhaps that is where you might find comfort for yourself in the time ahead. I'm so sorry.
Vic said…
So sorry for the loss of your mother - both the physical loss, and the missing of a mom over your lifetime.
My dad was much the same way. He died alone. It's hard either way.
Tina said…
oh no mary i am so sorry to hear that.

i hope you are as ok as you can be. take it easy for a while x
Anonymous said…
Too much to say but I understand, oh yes, I understand...
Eva J. Mah said…
I am so sorry for your loss. I kinda know what you're going through.

It's been 7 years since I lost my mom, and I still can't read your post all the way through for fear of the pain returning.

Eva J. Mah said…
You have an award waiting for you, when you feel up to it.
kwr221 said…
Oh, I haven't stopped by in a few days.

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's never easy, no matter the circumstance, age, or relationship.

Be good to yourself.
I'm sorry about your mom.

I'd been estranged from my mother for about ten years before she died in 2006. She wasn't a good mother and let some horrible things happen that could have been avoided ... but took no responsibility.
CurvyGurl ♥ said…
Mary, my heartfelt thoughts with you during this time of loss. I've been where you are, so know that you're not alone. The best piece of advice I've ever received is "never let anyone tell you how to grieve". Didn't understand it at the time, but fully appreciate it now. The myriad of emotions subside, but the memories and connection never fade. You and your fam are in my prayers. Hugs!

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