Mommy, and Me

I’ve been writing somewhat sarcastic and dare I say, humourous posts lately.

But today, I’m putting that on hold to talk about something serious.

The loss of my mother.

Not her best picture, chemo is a bitch for beauty shots

A good friend of mine lost his “mum” yesterday. I realized I’ve never written much about losing my own “mum”.  So I’m directing today’s post to him, but it certainly pertains to anyones who’s lost a loved one (yes, animals count).

First, I offer my condolences. People say “I understand” but truth is that everyone has different relationship with their mothers so everyone has to cope in their own way.

When I was thirteen, on the 28nd of December, my mother, Leora, lost her battle with cancer and a piece of me died that day too. I can only hope this post will offer some insight and if it helps even one person, I will be grateful.

I was unsure what sort of structure could explain how losing my mom felt, so I thought I’d write some of the things said to me during that time and what actually went down in my head.

What they told me:

“Your mom is in a better place”

What really went on: I HATE when people say that! Sure I’m Jewish and we don’t exactly believe in hell or heaven, but my theory on the afterlife has nothing to doing with my Jewish heritage. The fact is, I don’t care where my mom is! She’s not here and thats what matters. I know that sounds selfish, but I think we all need to be a little selfish when it comes to the ones we love. I have a theory people say that statement when they honestly have no clue what to say. A word of advice: silence is golden. Sometimes, its best just to listen, hug, or send a note saying you care. Unless that “better place” is the a chocolate factory, my mom is not in a better place.

 

“Maybe it was for the best”

Whoever says that has usually never had something traumatic happen to them (and I don’t count getting shitted on by a bird “traumatic”). Not everything is for the “best” and that’s ok. This is part of life. Life can suck. A lot! There are wonderful things about life and shitty ones. Its unpredictable and there is never a “best”. Was the holocaust for the “best” or 9/11???

 

“You must be so sad!”

I actually barely cried at my mom’s funeral. Don’t get me wrong, I was a ball of anxiety. But it had nothing to do with my mother. I was anxious about the guests, about going back to school, about my upcoming constitution test (hey, it was 8th grade), about the possibility of something happening to my dad. But I was numb to the pain of actually losing a mother. It doesn’t hit you until maybe a year after. When I began to realize, “wow, she’s really gone….forever”. I think I mourned my mother more these past few years than I did when it initially happened.

“You must really miss her”

I was a little tough teen being all, “yea, I can function without a mom.” But as a budding adult, I miss her dearly.

Wow, I’m actually crying writing this when I hardly ever cry about my mom….whoa….pick yourself up Eden!

There are so many things I want to talk to her about: getting older, figuring out what to do with me life, finding a significant other (which I’m pretty bad at), hell even giving me advice on how to remove upper lip hair (I know, thats nasty, but all ladies have them). Maybe this is why I get along well with older, wiser women. I just kind of want every woman out there to adopt me (with the exception of Angelina Jolie, she can have an African kid).

 

“Not having a mother must be such a burden”

Well, yes and no. As I mentioned, my mom was fighting for 13 years. Her death was awful, but it gave me some sense of relief. You know how they say, “whats the worst that could happen”? Well, the “worst” happened to her. So in a way, a weight was lifted. But yes, it totally sucked having no one to explain to me how to insert a tampon.

 

Personally, I’m not afraid of death. I’m more terrified of living a horrible life being sick or having to be in chemo and radiation treatments while being bald and boob-less. But if there is anything my mom’s death taught me it’s that its truly quality over quantity. And I’m just glad my mom had top notch quality. Now, I’m just trying to make the grade.

At my "Bat Mitzvah", she dies two months later...I promise she was beautiful, cancer is never pretty. Ill dig up good pictures of her for a flashback friday.

So if you are one of those readers who just skims to the bottom and answers the question in the comment section, please don’t so that today. I have no question today, just feel free to write what flows (I’ll totally except profanity since I learned that from my mom. She would be so proud).

 

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51 thoughts on “Mommy, and Me

  1. I can’t claim to understand how it is to lose your mother, but I do understand how it is to lose a loved one. I totally remember all these things at the funeral and I distinctly remember wanting to punch these people in the face. Yep, always had those anger issues. The only thing that actually made sense was “it never ceases to hurt, you never stop missing them, you just learn how to live with their absence”.

  2. You can’t *quite* ditch the humour eh… 😉

    I can imagine this was tough to write though. I have no direct experience of loss, but I do have some tough times behind me, and some of the stuff you write here lays bare the more honest and gnarly aspects of human suffering. Selfishness, irritation, pride, relief when it’s over… None of us have to celebrate those responses, but I’m sure that putting them out there has helped your friend, and others, feel less lonely right now. And less ashamed too.

    Will you punch me if I say I hope you managed to have a good cry after writing this? 🙂

      • A friend of mine posted this Doug Stanhope quote on fb today, and your reply made me think of it. I thought you might like:

        “There is no such thing as laughing at something you shouldn’t. You should laugh everywhere you can find even the slightest glimmer of humour. Life is a series of heartache, tragedy and injustice, punctuated by a few cocktails and that one trip to Reno. The more you can laugh at the ugliest parts, the better off you are.”

        You’re doin’ your mom proud 😉

  3. My uncle passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2005. We were really close and I took time off to be his caregiver during the last months of his life. People often discuss how you are suppose to grieve, and how time heals all wounds, or how things happen for a reason. None of it feels relevant. All I remember feeling was pain. Pure pain. A pain I still carry with me. And there’s really nothing anyone can say to me to make me feel better, because the only way I’d feel better is if I had him back in my life.

  4. Awww, thank you so much for sharing your story about your mom. I don’t want to only contribute to the, “you must feel like this” people, but I’m just guessing that writing everything out like that really helped. It’s okay to cry girlie (I know, you already know that!) but I thought I’d let you know anyway that I’m really proud to read your blog..and this post inparticular!

  5. I’m thankful that I’ve yet to lose a parent, but all my grandparents are gone, and 3 of them I lost to cancer. The hardest was losing my mom’s dad, since he was the grandparent I was closest to, and who had managed to stick around the longest. I know I’ve mentioned that he died Christmas Day 2008, which is one of many reasons I’m not overly fond of the Christmas season any more. I still have overwhelmingly sad moments where I find myself thinking of him and missing him, and it hurts. I’m glad he’s not suffering any more, I’m glad he didn’t linger, but I there’s a huge Pop-sized hole in my heart that aches, and I wish I could spend just one more afternoon with him.

    Can I say I want to punch you for making me cry this morning? 😉

  6. Eden, your mother was beautiful! This was a wonderful post. I am terrified of losing my parents, and am constantly checking up on them for whatever reason. I also despise when people say “it’s for the best” etc. I find that when something traumatic happens, it is so hard to separate yourself (as in your identity) from it; it’s all you’ve ever know, and it is confusing and hard to know how to continue when ‘the world’ keeps on going as normal, but everything in a sense has changed/ but not changed. It definitely shifts your paradigm. I struggle with this quite a bit- trying to figure out how to carry on “normally”, and wondering if I’m supposed to be/feel different etc. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but I believe a lot of people will benefit from this post. I find that the worst moments are the times when I don’t know HOW I should feel, or when the feeling of loss suddenly hits me (trying to understand what that means for me/for my life) and not knowing how to feel or do.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I think it’s great that you wrote this post. Very few people will go through life without losing someone close to them, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this. As you touched on, I don’t think there are any “right words” to say in these situations. It is what is, an awful thing, but it’s not something that can be accurately expressed through language.

    Love to you.

    On a lighter note (I actually feel weird commenting about this now, but I don’t think you’ll mind)….I googled the super taster test and did you know you can buy a kit that tells you if you are indeed a “super taster”? Only $4.95! Although I would guess I am not a “supertaster” since they tend to dislike COFFEE, spinach, soy products, and brussel sprouts. Thank goodness!

  8. You’re so right about how sometimes, the best thing to do is to say nothing – just hug someone and let them know you’re there. So here is a virtual hug – thank you for sharing this story!

  9. I really love that picture of you and your mom. You both look so happy together. Thank you for sharing about your mom. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through and won’t even pretend to really understand. I think you’re an incredible person and I have a feeling you get a lot of that from your mom.

  10. My grandfather was like a dad to me, and when he died I was in highschool. For some reason no matter how torn up I was inside, I never wanted to be the one to break down in front of everone. I just didn’t want to talk about it at all, even when people tried to. Greiving is a process, and sometimes I still have nights where I’ll cry a little just thinking about him. And maybe that will never go away completely. See, I have this fear that I’ll forget him more and more as I get older and one day I won’t be able to remember what he even looks like without looking at a picture or what his voice was like without seeing a home video he was in.

    I hate to be the one to say “your mom is in a better place”, but that is truley what I believe. And it always comforts me to think of my grandfather in some personal “heaven” of his liking. Like in a grassy pasture tending to animals, like he did in the prime of his life.

    Oh, and I like to use the Remington One touch trimmer for pesky upperlip hair! Lol! But I’m sure you’ve figured out how to take care of that by now 😉

  11. I think it’s very hard to find the right words to speak to somebody who has had such a loss. Maybe there aren’t any “right” words at all in a situation like that. Still, taking the risk of putting another hollow phrase, I dare to say that I believe the ones we’ve loved and lost live on in our hearts.

    Thank you for this beautiful and honest post, Eden!

  12. Well as you know, I lost my dad at 9, so I can somewhat relate…at least to losing a parent at a young age anyway. My heart goes out to you. I can’t help but we feel some sort of connection because of that, however weird that may seem. Anyway, my advise to your friend would be to TALK about what happened and his mom OFTEN and also not to hold his emotions in and just let it all out.

    I held my emotions in and I still pay for that to this day. I know I was only 9, but my mom thought it was best not to talk about it or bring it up so that I didn’t think about it and get sad. Well, unfortunately, that was the worst thing she could have done. I wanted to talk about it a lot and had so many questions, but didn’t because SHE didn’t. So here I am 22 years later asking her questions and still hesitant to ask. Sucks really.

    And my mom totally fell apart when he died, so I felt like I needed to step up and be the big girl and show I was ‘in control’ so I didn’t cry. Someone had to be, right? It was a scary f*cking time for me. I didn’t cry at the funeral or in front of people. Only to myself. That screwed me over too because now to this very day, I still hold it in. It’s just not healthy.

    She was young, so she didn’t really know what to do I guess, so I don’t blame her. I at least learned from it though, so I would know what NOT to do.

    Anyway, your mom was really pretty. I, too, cherish all the photos I have of and with my dad. I dont remember much about him, I blocked most of it out somehow which is unfortunatel, so it’s nice sometimes to go back and look at them.

    • yes, i remember when you posted about your dad. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for your mom. I still hold emotions about it my moms death. I am afraid to admit to people that I fear I’ll be repeat of my mom and die young and leave behind kids. Hmm…maybe your mom and my dad should date?

  13. Wow, this is such a beautiful post. I lost my closest grandma to cancer years ago, and it’s still unbelievably sad, and I definitely grieve more now that I’m older too. The pictures of you and your mom are SO sweet – thanks so much for sharing your story.

  14. What a beautiful post about your mom. You and her look so much alike and despite her chemo pictures she is still lovely.

    Before I lost a close loved one, I really struggled with knowing what to say when someone’s loved one passed on. Just about a month an a half ago, my Gammy died and my grandpa followed a few weeks ago. It was heartbreaking to lose my sweet and kind grandparents (my brother and I were their only grandchildren) but more to watch my mother deal with her own grief. That’s when I realized, there is no magic little phrase that can comfort you when you’ve lost someone.

  15. I loved this post and the fact that you were able to cry a bit- it must have felt nice to do that.

    Everyone is so different the way that they respond, so your advice of just giving a hug is always a wise one. In a way, when someone used to say about my mom being in a better place, I agreed- being bed-ridden for half a decade with a slow and progressive disease is a shitty place, so being freed from the day-to-day torment was (in my opinion) a blessing. But do remember that I lost my mom when I was in my 40s and you lost yours at a very very critical age where you do need to know about tampons and upper lip hair. And advice about boys and direction of life. Etc etc.

    I can’t officially adopt you because Ellie won’t allow it, but I can give you one word of advice: Lasers.

    Thank you for writing this post- from me. From Derek, From Mum and Mom and Leora. (who was STUNNING even during chemo, hello!?)

    Hugs.

    • oh deb, I love all comments but yours made my dry….great now I have a wet key board! losing a mom at any age is hard. My dad’s mom is still alive and I worry what will happen when she passes away (although I have a theory she’s gonna outlive everybody). ellie is one lucky cat having wonderful parents that can teacher her about boys and upper lip hair (or whiskers, in her case).

      • Wow, your dad’s mom is alive- that’s so great. You have really made it through many hardships beautifully. Your family is very important to you, as it is to me. It’s part of who you are. I actually pullout out the stops and posted on-the-fly today in honor of Julie.

        ANd I have a feeling that Ellie would not be a willing participant in going to a Medi-spa with mummy. Eek, I miss my babies! And my buddies. ❤

  16. I just read Deb’s post and had to come here. Thank you for pouring our your heart and realness. You and your mother are breath taking. SUch beauty, in and out. Fighting cancer for 13 years? She must have been so strong because these pictures make her look full of life, which she probably was when you were around. My thoughts and prayers and with your family and with Deb/her beaux.
    LC

  17. I really really appreciate this. My uncle, mother’s brother, Nana’s son, and best friend’s father (plus so many other things) is currently dying of brain cancer. It’s a big reason why I’m moving home. I’ve had to comfort so many people since he got sick, and I agree with you saying nothing is sometimes the best option. I mean, nothing I can say can fix the situation, all I can do is listen to what the person grieving has to say. Or at least, take their mind off it.

    My uncle told me not that long ago that he’s happy with the life he’s lived. I think knowing that is the best comfort I personally can have.

  18. I honestly can’t imagine how you must have felt/are still feeling, so I am following the silence is golden approach and listening, then sending that virtual hug! By the way, i think the pictures of your mom are lovely!!

  19. What an honest and beautiful post. First, I think your mother, especially in that last picture with you, looks beautiful. You look so much like her.

    It’s nice to hear that other people hate these common pad responses to trauma, although I think most people really have no idea how to respond to grief, whether it’s their own or the grief of a friend or family member.

    My eyes welled up reading this post.

  20. I have to agree that saying nothing is usually the safest bet. I lost someone close to me, and anything that people would say to try to comfort me only made me feel worse…and honestly, it made me angry at them for not understanding, even though it obviously wasn’t their fault…
    Now when I am in that position I just don’t say anything and try to offer the other person comfort by just being there. I assume that if they want to talk about it they will, but I don’t want to start saying anything that isn’t helpful.
    By the way, I think your mom is beautiful.

  21. Your mother is stunning despite the chemo. The picture of you two at your Bat Mitzvah shows how much you resemble each other–your cheekbones and smiles are nearly identical. You are both incredibly gorgeous!

    I feel privileged to still have two parents and honestly cannot imagine trying to figure out how to use a damn tampon on my own. I grew up with a mom who lost her own mother to a bitter battle with cancer just as my mom was having kids. I wish I could remember her because she sounds like she was an amazing woman.

    I think talking about and remembering your loved one honors the relationship. You’re doing your mom proud.

  22. I never know what to say when there is a loss. What is comforting to one person is not to another, I know that from the stuff people say to me when I’m depressed. But I always feel being too scared to say nothing at all is worse, so even if I flub up at least I tried.

    My cousins lost their mom to a tragedy when they were in their late teens. It’s was very hard on them. And my husband lost his mom at age 6. Moms mean so much to us, but it is possible to be an amazing strong person and move on if they leave us.

  23. you’re mother was so beautiful, well IS so beautiful and she totally still lives within you (if that makes sense at all). i love how brave you are for being able to talk about it, and i think slash i KNOW she would be so proud of what a wonderful and inspiring person you are 🙂 thank you for sharing this girl! much love to you ❤

  24. I don’t know you, but I’m sending you love sista! I lost my momma too, when I was 18. It’s been about 9 years now, but I miss her constantly. Yeah, people can definitely say some strange/insensitive things when they don’t know what to say! I found the most comfort in people just being around me when I needed them…and then leaving when I needed to be alone! Nothing can ever really take away the pain from losing your mom. Thanks for putting your heart out there, being brave and sharing this beautiful post. ❤

  25. I lost my Mom two years ago. You’re right. It sucks. Thank you for sharing on such a personal topic. The worst thing that anyone said to me was, “You knew she was sick, so it wasn’t too hard for you.” WTF???

    My Dad and stepmom died in an accident about six weeks ago. It’s so strange being parentless. It’s making me rethink whether I want to have kids of my own. My hubby’s family is all abroad, and I don’t have much family left.

  26. I’ve been sniffling and blowing my nose all day because of stupid allergies, Eden. Now I have to grab more tissues. Seriously, this post made me tear up.

    I’ve never lost a loved one like my parents or close family before, but my biggest fear is exactly this. When I was younger and there was a chance that my dad might be drafted to the Korean army, and when he got death threats from China for his missionary work, I used to cry and cry just imagining his death. So though I can’t say I exactly “get it”, I can only imagine the loss and strangeness of losing someone so close to you.

    But Eden, I’d still like to think (but I won’t say it in your face so you can’t slap me) that your mom IS in a better place, and as she looks down on you, she is smiling because she’s proud of the strong, smart, and beautiful woman you’ve become.

    Tons and tons of hugs, my dear friend. ❤

  27. Thank you so much for this post! I’m crying. I literally just had to close the window because my neighbors are coming home from work and I don’t want them to think I’m TOTALLY nuts (just a little so they don’t mess with my stuff when I’m on vacation 😉 lol)

    My husband lost his father at age 13…to cancer. I actually don’t know terribly much about him, what he was like or how it happened, because I’m afraid to ask…I always sort of assumed that if he wanted to alk about it, he would bring it up. Is that the right approach? How would *you* want your significant other to act/talk about your mother?

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know those words are so insignificant in the face of something so momentous and huge…but there it is: they’re the only words I’ve got.

    • Wow, I’m sorry I made you cry. I prefer making people laugh. But a good cry is good now and then, gets the toxins out ya know. Good lord, I’m crying just reading the comments!

  28. oh boy, where to start…I have dealt with a lot of deaths in my life, as I know many have, I am not here to compare, but just saying that since I have been exposed to so much death I feel I look at it differently than most people. Like you I am not agree of dying…more afraid of living with regret or whatever. But anyways, I truly and honestly appreciate you for sharing this. So much of it is true. My grandfather died this past year, and it just about tore my family apart. We were all fighting over what to, we all view death and dying differently. It is hard to be supportive sometimes because everyone handles it their own way.

    I hope you do not mind me saying this, but I am sorry you lost your mother at a young age. She sounds like an amazing lady, as you are too! She would be so proud of you, and everything you represent (honestly, laughter, good food)!

    …again I hope that is okay I said that.

  29. hi, eden. that was an amazingly candid but honest post. i have no experience of my own to relate to you in any way, but i’m sorry you had to go through such a thing at a young age. by the way, you and your mother both look radiant in all the pictures – you two are beautiful people! thank you so much for sharing this.

  30. First of all, AWWWW, you look exactly the same as little Eden! such a pretty face.

    Second, I will never, ever ever even close to know what it is like for you. I can’t understand in the least. All I can do is listen, and I love when you talk about your mom. I really hope you do it more often on your blog. Once a week!

    Last, today I was talking to a coworker — this sweet as can be woman — who started telling me about how her husband died in Iraq a few years ago. It is such a hard conversation to have….what to say? All I can say is that It must be so hard. But her response was upbeat, that he died doing what he loved….bullshit to that. Nobody wants to die, whether they are doing what they love or not.

    Here’s to your mom, here’s to my grandma, and all the beautiful Jewish women out there who have passed away too early…

  31. This is raw and honest which is beautiful in a unique way.

    I’ve been lucky as I haven’t had to face the death of a close family. I’ve had friends to die and that has been very sad and heartbreaking but as of yet I still have all my family including all four of my grandparents. I’ll also say it’s very hard, virtually impossible, for me to separate death from my faith. For me they go hand in hand and because of that I see death continuation of life. I trust that grace and a peace that surpasses understanding will be there when death touches closer to home.

  32. This post made me tear up. I have no idea how hard it must be (and must have been growing up) to have to live without your mother. You are a strong woman Eden. Your dad must be an amazing man to have helped you through such a difficult time and help you grow into the woman you are today.

  33. Eden this is such a great post and it is really nice you can share your relationship with your mom here on the ol’ blog. I have said it before but really I don’t know what I would do without my mom. I admire you for the strength you have to deal with it. I know, I know, it is not like it was a choice for you.. but the choice of how you handle the situation that life dealt is what really inspires me. And how you carry that strength on to your relationshipwith your dad and all that is going on with him. I just think you are a really awesome person and you are wise beyond your years.

  34. You wrote that silence is golden, and I tend to stick by that, so I’m not going to say much.
    I just wanted to say thank you, and that I appreciate you writing this. The closest I’ve lost have been grandparents to Parkinson’s Disease and cancer, but I’ve had friends who have lost parents, and it is hard to know what to….do…to support them or be there for them. So thank you.
    I know I’m late commenting, I just wanted to say that I read this, and I appreciate it, and I’d probably also buy you a quiet beer 🙂

  35. I have to start with cancer sucks! When my mom died and people gave me those shitty lines an old friend of mine (our mothers were best buds) would literally put an arm around me as though to hold me up but really she was keeping me from punching them. I laughed at her for this and she just said she didn’t want me to remember the funeral ending with me in cuffs!

    My mom’s been gone 3 years and it is so much harder now than it was then. I think a lot now I gotta tell mom… Or Next time I’m dragging mom with me… And then the stabbing comes.

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a mom to teach about tampons and shaving (I’d have happily offered mine to you for this but sent her with a warning she sucked at it – my legs have the scars to show it)

  36. I actually waited till I knew I had time and the emotional capacity to read this post. I didn’t want to skim something like this. I will never understand why horrible things happen good people, a thought that can bring on anxiety if I start questioning it too much. Mother-daughter relationships are so unique and ever changing. Mine has greatly changed as I’ve gotten older (for both good and bad), and I have a feeling yours will too even if she isn’t physically standing next to you. You are an amazing writer/blogger who has the ability to both pull at my heart strings and make me laugh at the same time – a trait I think your mom would be very proud of.

  37. I like the Silence is golden advice – so true Eden. I’ve never lost a close family member, and often don’t know what to say to others that have. I think a tight hug and letting them know I care is probably better than anything else I could do for them.

    Your mom looked beautiful at your Bat Mitzvah. You look like her. 🙂

    P.S. Lip hair – just shave it. I use my husband’s razor. No shame.

  38. I totally agree with you on all of your points. My father died when I was 12 years old and they worst thing people said was atleast he didnt suffer. He died suddenly at the age of 43 from a massive heart attack. I didnt really get that until I watched my grandmother suffer and die in my 30s. I think sometime people just dont know what to say. Maybe they have never really suffered a loss such as that, maybe they are just uncomfortable but when you are that young, that is not at all what you want to hear. Hugs girl.

  39. Pingback: Cheering Up « SmoothieGirlEatsToo

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