(In this post, I am not condoning suicide. I am sharing my experience and the reasoning behind why I believe my mother made the choice she made. If you, or a loved one, are thinking or suicide or suicidal tendencies, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255)
I had been debating with myself for some time now as to whether I wanted to open myself up on another level and talk about this subject because it is still a very difficult one for me to think about at times. But, I wanted to share this in hopes that it may help bring some encouragement or recognition to others and the struggles they go through silently. And, with Mothers day approaching, It is a time for us to be thankful to our mothers. And I am still thankful for mine.
My mother was a vivacious red-head. Full of fire, living her life in the way she chose and enjoying every minute of it. My mother was a unique soul, and she had a beautiful heart.
I remember when I was younger wanting to be like her. Wanting to have that fire within me. She had a hot temper and was a force to be reckoned with over her children and those she loved. She also had a very unique style and taste. She loved anything leopard print or neon in color, she loved trying to maintain a bronze look when she could, and the bigger the jewelry the better. I do incorporate more leopard print and a few select pieces of larger jewelry into my wardrobe now, in remembrance of her and the flame she brought into this world.
I do feel for my grandmother while she was raising my mother. Mainly because I went on to have a red-headed daughter of my own, and she is just like my mother in every way. From the style she began to show from a young age, to her fiery attitude and her vivacious, beautiful spirit that I could never bear to see tamed or lessened.
My reasoning in sharing with you the details of my mothers nature and temperance is so that you can understand how willful she was in life, in every decision she made. When she made a decision, she didn’t waver from it. She was stubborn, and I believe that is at least one trait I did get from her that I still carry with me.
My mother was about 38 when she began to get sick. She couldn’t hold any food down. She was losing weight rapidly. She was very weak and seemed to be in a lot of pain. Naturally, weeks of doctors appointments followed. A multitude of tests were carried out. We waited anxiously for the results, almost holding our breath and praying for the best. And then we got the test results back. Stage 4 liver cancer.
She went to the doctors. They talked about treatment options and what would work best for her. A liver transplant was out. She had a birth defect in her liver that would make attaching a healthy liver virtually impossible. By the time the cancer was detected it had spread to other organs in her body. So much of her liver had been affected that removing sections wouldn’t help improve the situation and would only open up the cancerous cells to oxygen, which isn’t a good thing. Chemotherapy treatments would only prolong her life by maybe a few months and she knew she would be very ill with those and would not be able to enjoy what time she had left. So, she chose the option that she felt would give her the best quality of life for the time she had left. She chose hospice care at home, with pain management.
When my mother was diagnosed, she was told that from the stage of her cancer, she may have 6 to 9 months to live. My mother, being optimistic and hopeful, began to also research alternative medicines and treatments. She came across an article on a random medical website while she was researching. Natural honey and honeycomb was being purported as being a possible way to help with cancerous cells. She began buying and keeping dozens of jars of honey and honeycomb in the house. She ate it several times a day with white rice, just about the only thing she could keep down. And, miraculously, 6 months went by. And then 9 months went by. A year went by, and then 2 years, and then 4 years. And every 3 months she would go back in and let them do further imaging to see how far the cancer had spread and how much time she had left. And during this time, still going and having her checkups, still being told the cancer was spreading and she didn’t have much time left, but she had already tripled the time the doctors gave her in the beginning. I can’t say if the honey and honeycomb were the cause of her extended time, but we were happy for it. Every day was a win for her, and for us.
Then her body began to shut down. Her kidneys all but stopped working, she didn’t have the energy to walk anymore and barely had the energy to whisper. She went to the emergency room and they hospitalized her for a few days to make sure she could be stabilized again before sending her back home. She didn’t want to die in a hospital. She wanted to be at home with my dad, her husband, the man who had diligently carried his wife to the car, into the hospital, back to the car and then back home for all of their trips and checkups. He was where she felt safe.
They released her reluctantly, telling her she was only going home to die. She knew that internally I think. But still, she came home.
We brought her home, got her settled in bed, helped her to eat and drink what she felt she had the energy for and then we tried to help her drift off to sleep so she could rest a little. Later that evening, my aunt told me to go ahead and go home to get some rest. I was 36 weeks pregnant with my son at the time. I went home, praying and hoping that she would at least make it through the night so that I could have one more day to tell her I love her. I was internally hoping and praying she would at least be able to make it long enough to see her first grandson in just a few weeks. But, that didn’t happen.
That night after everyone was asleep, she managed to find one of my father’s pistols, she softly laid back down in bed next to him, and she shot herself. It was 3am. My mother was 42 years old.
What followed was an agonizing week of questions, investigations, waiting for the autopsy to be completed and her body to be returned to us. We finally were able to lay her to rest next to her daddy, who had passed away only 2 months before her. But, I was still left with questions. And a heart that hurt so badly.
I truly believe that my mother took her own life that night because of her fiery nature and the desire to live, and ultimately die, as she chose. She was never one to live according to the rules and regulations of others. And, she wasn’t going to die by them either. A part of her was afraid of having a slow and painful death. She told me as much just a few days before. She wanted to prevent that if she could. And she didn’t like the idea of having an expiration date put on her when she had already exceeded all of the other guesses and estimations previously. She wanted to die at a time and in a place of her choosing. She felt she had already lost control of her health and her body. So, choosing her own death was her way of taking back control of herself and what she wanted.
My mothers death hit me hard. I had been preparing for her to pass away in her sleep, or at night in bed or when she laid down for a nap during the day. Not by suicide. Even though I now can see more clearly and understand better why she did what she did, it still hurts.
The way my mother had died began to affect the way I lived. I carried it with me everywhere. I was angry at first. And I didn’t understand how the world could keep moving and spinning, how people could keep living their lives, when I had just lost someone who had meant the very most to me and I felt my whole world had not only stopped but had been destroyed. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way when we lose someone we love. It can be hard to process what has happened yourself. And others are smiling and laughing, going on about their lives as if nothing has happened, because for them, nothing has happened. It’s your life that has been affected, not theirs. At that point, all you want to do is hide from the world. And I did for a while.
Years would go by. And then, while looking back on my mother, remembering her and her personality and the way she lived her life, I realized she wouldn’t want me to live a broken life because of her death. So, instead of continuing to live my life scarred by my mothers death, I chose to more forward living my life as having been blessed by my mothers presence.
My mothers personality, her fire, her drive, her vivacious character and her love for living made me realize that I wasn’t doing my mothers memory justice. Instead of living life as she had, full of love and care for myself, care for those around me and feeling as though my existence has purpose, I had been living my life in the dark. Hiding from the world and hiding from happiness.
Thinking back on my mothers life made me change the way I am now living my life. I realized I had to start showing myself some Self-Care and Self-Love because that is how my mother lived her life. She did love herself, she did care for herself, and she tried to pass that on to me. I was too young and immature to understand the concept of Self-Love and Self-Care. But now, I see that it is an important part of living a healthy and balanced life. You are giving yourself the care you need, not destroying your own positive energy by negative self-talk or self-doubt, and recharging your own internal battery so that you can give to your family, give to your friends and your spiritual family. You have to have something in order to have anything to give. And what I have to give is positive energy and Love! So, that is what I try to maintain a constant supply of! 🙂
Thank you and I hope all of you have enjoyed reading. I appreciate all of my followers and subscribers so very much!! I seriously thank all of you and I appreciate each of you so much!!
Remember, you are special, you are worthy of love and affection. Don’t ever give up on yourself!! Keep trying daily and you’ll achieve great things!!
God bless, everyone!!