Dealing with the loss of a mother

11:18. That’s when I awoke to my mother’s cries. “Help me, I’m dying, I can’t breath.” There was an echo of voices screaming and yelling; my father, “please don’t die, please, oh my God!” Then my brother, racing down the stairs, and then…I heard a thud. I lie there in bed, confused, wondering if I was really awake. I jolted out of bed and ran downstairs to my sisters room. I woke her up and told her that something was wrong with mommy. We stood in the dark, both of us too frightened to move as we heard yelling upstairs and my father calling for an ambulance.

I remember my mothers slipper falling down the stairs as my father and brother carried her to their car. The ambulance never came. We stood in the dark. Both of us saying nothing.

Mom died. I was 14 years old and my life would never be the same.

After the wake, when we returned home, I saw mom’s teacup in the sink. Her robe on the kitchen chair. I sat in the kitchen and I smelled my mother’s robe. I wanted something of hers to hold onto. I smelled her. She was everywhere and nowhere. I couldn’t bear the pain and the emptiness of her being gone. I suffered for so many years with fears of death and dying. Trust and confidence. Who will leave me next. Who will ever love me. It’s sad, really, the damage the death of a parent can do to a child.

It was July 4th. At that time people were allowed to smoke in movie theaters. I was with my parents on that night watching “In-Laws”. My mother couldn’t breath from the smoke in the theater. When we left the movie, my mother was having such a bad asthma attack that she needed to go to the emergency room for an epinephrine shot. But there were no doctors on duty. It was a holiday. So a nurse gave my mother the medication. She just wasn’t sure of the dose.

Mom came home from the hospital at 10:00 p.m. We talked and laughed about the movie. Walter Matthau was one of mom’s favorite actors. I was tired and went to sleep. My mom stayed up for a little while longer and waited for my sister to get home from a party she was at. I heard her making tea in the kitchen and I fell asleep.

Each of us mourned in our own way. My brother died from a drug overdose. My sister moved away. My father never remarried after all these years. He lives alone and suffers from such severe anxiety that he just doesn’t speak to anyone anymore. And me, well, I never healed. Not fully anyway.

11:15. It’s almost time. I have 3 minutes to fall asleep. If I’m awake, something bad is going to happen. I’m sure of it.

Dealing with the loss of a mother


Joined February 2008

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