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Nathan L

Lost my sweet momma - First post

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Nathan L

Hello everyone. I'm deeply saddened by all of the stories I've read on this website. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in any capacity. But as we all know, all too well, suicide is the worst way to lose someone. Carry on dear brothers and sisters. I know it is so tiresome and demoralizing, always wondering when a wave is going to take you down. Always carrying this burden that is so hard to express. But our grief must be acknowledged. It is a patient thing. Always waiting for us. So I encourage you to live your life, but acknowledge the grief. Don't try to push it back at all times. I can't presume to give too much advice, as I am still right there in the battle with all of you, so long after my mom's passing. 

I lost my Mom over 5 years ago to suicide- September 4, 2012. I was 22 and finishing my last semester of college at the time. Approx. 3 hr drive from my hometown in south Georgia. My sweet mom struggled with mental illness her whole life. My dad is a wonderful man and did the best he could have done with an impossible task of taking care of her. She struggled with anxiety and severe anorexia and depression. She was 5'2" and probably weighed 80 lbs for most of her life. Skin and bones. She felt the compulsive need to exercise everyday. Walking miles upon miles. Usually 20-30 miles everyday around local neighborhoods. She hated herself and her body. Somehow despite all logic and reality she saw herself as fat and ugly when she was too skinny and beautiful.

I knew my mom was different and growing up with her was difficult as a child and young man. It was frustrating and heart breaking to me. I just wanted my mom to be normal and to be fully present. I understand her so much better now that I'm older. I so wish I could talk to her again. She loved me so much. My parents were married in 1988 and after a couple miscarriages, I was born. My mom called me her miracle. I was her and my dads only child. I don't think it would be possible for a mom to love her son more. Or my dad for that matter.  I tried so hard growing up to be the perfect son. I loved my mom so much. But it was hard, anything that stressed her out was met with anger and overreaction. No matter how much love and effort my dad and I poured into her life, she was like a black hole, sucking it all up and only becoming bigger and stronger. I hate mental illness so much. It is the worst thing to watch someone you love more than anything struggle against something you can't see or fully understand. Despite the efforts of my family and all the people that loved her, my mom just got worse and worse with time. Instead of being her sweet, caring, funny self for 15% of the time, it would be 10% and lower and lower. Over her lifetime she went to a few therapy centers. She had therapists on and off for a lot of her life. Nothing could bring about lasting change. Nothing could overcome her self-hatred. 

It is a truly sad situation. Her younger brother committed suicide in 2007, after living a double life of partying and having a second relationship/family to his main wife and children was exposed. This was very hard for my mom. I remember her getting the call and her reaction. Just awful. Her identical twin sister committed suicide in 2010 or 2011. She struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, had gone thru a divorce, and was not a very good mom to her two children. It felt like and inevitability that Mom would die after that. Thankfully mom did not struggle with drugs or alcohol, but her mental battles were just as severe. I don't think any of my moms brothers and sisters got the love and attention they needed growing up. Things were never good enough for my grandparents. I am not mad at them these days, my grandparents were young and ignorant. Trying to make themselves look good by having perfect children. They have suffered enough losing 3/5 kids and now in 2014 a week after my wedding, my cousin committed suicide. So 3 kids and a grandchild. The youngest of two kids of my aunt. I think he could not forgive himself for being distant from his mom at the time of her suicide. I don't know. It's a truly sad family to be a part of. I'm really only in touch with the older sister of my cousin who died in 2014. It is hard for everyone to be in touch as there is only sadness to dwell on for that side  of the family. 

So on that fateful day when I received a phone call with my dad crying and yelling, I knew. I knew before I answered. So strange to me, but I knew when I got a call during class, before I called him back and had that horrible conversation walking thru my college campus like a zombie, saying it's ok it's ok til the words didn't even mean anything. My mom shot herself in my childhood home and my dad found her after work. I had not talked to my mom for a couple weeks. I had left her a couple voicemails but she never returned my calls. That was unlike her although we did not talk everyday in college and could go a week or so without speaking if she was having a hard time. It is still hard for me to not remember a final conversation with her. I packed my things and drove home the day I found out. Spent a week at home with family and friends.

At that time I was somewhat distant from her. Somewhat disconnected from her situation and immediate mental health. It was a hard time for us, as any time we talked things would turn to how she was having a hard time and she would cry and complain to me on the phone. The older I got, the more of a counselor I was to her rather than a son. Studies kept me busy, but I think once I had moved away from home, it was hard for me to be as there for her. I can only hope that she knew how much I loved her. It still shocks me today as I realize more and more through my pain, how deeply I loved her. I would have done anything for her. I tried to be the best I could be for her at all times. Never got into any trouble growing up. Never rebelled despite the frustration in my heart. I reduced my social interaction and didn't have friends over much, came home early. Anything to make her less anxious and happier, I did. I hope she did not die feeling alone and unloved. I think she knew she was loved. She just felt like such a burden and hated herself. In some ways she was a burden, and there was some rest/peace in not seeing/hearing her struggle immediately after her death. But never never never would I have traded her or wanted to lose her, no matter how bad she became. It hurts me deeply thinking about her mental state at the end of her life.

After the funeral, I went back to college the next week and finished my semester. I think I may have cried one time during the week of her death. I was in complete shock without even knowing it. I didn't know what to think and couldn't understand why I could not feel emotion or receive comfort. I did not see her body, I told myself that I wanted to remember her as she was, not as lifeless. Perhaps that was wise, but I think it also allowed me to not accept that it had happened. That it was real. Two weeks after her death, I interviewed for a company who eventually offered me a job. A year after she died I proposed to my girlfriend of 5ish years and we were married in June 2014. My life was so filled with busy-ness and change, nothing to remind me of my mom. But I was unhappy in a way I didn't understand. I still felt no emotion about my mom and rarely thought about it. My wife and I moved back to my hometown right before we were married to be closer to family and because I was unhappy. 

Eventually my dad remarried and sold my childhood home around March 2016. It was at that time that I received a lot of my moms old things. Things she had made, her bible, precious things she had saved from my childhood. Photos. God, so many photos. It was at that moment in my life that grief became real to me. About 3.5 yrs after my death I learned what grief was. The walls of protection that my mind had unconsciously put up were broken. I have never cried so violently and mindlessly. It was a hard time for me and my wife. It was so odd to be deeply grieving someone who had died so long ago. All of her other loved ones and friends had already processed their feelings and been comforted. I told those I was closest to, but other than my dad no one could understand on a deep level. I was so sad to realize I could never talk to her again, walk with her again, eat her baking again, etc. All of the normal things you grieve immediately after someone dies.

Over the last 6 months I have been going to grief counseling. It is hard for me and makes me anxious every appointment. But it has uncovered many things and continues to uncover things. There are so many layers to grief. It can be disheartening, it is certainly overwhelming. I had a conversation with my dad this past week to fill in the gaps of my memory about the last bit of her life and her mental state. My dad and I are close, but that was a hard conversation. It went very well, but made me remember so much and gave me so many new things to be sad over. I wrote down everything he said so I would not forget it, but I am too scared to process how it makes me feel. I am relieved to have it written down, because it is a burden not remembering things. But I know how strongly I feel about it and have been avoiding the emotions. I have probably drank too much over the last couple of days. Sort of in a downward spiral at the moment. Not sure how to pick myself up and go back to healing again. I was doing so well and making progress with many things before this week. I feel derailed right now. I'm not suicidal, but I am always so very weary of carrying this weight. I long to die and be in heaven with my mom. I wish God would come and take me now.

Feeling this way is heart breaking to me because I am a man of faith and I love my wife so very much. God has used her to minister and heal my hurt so much since our marriage. I want to get past my grief and anxiety, so that I can be the best husband to her and the best father to our future children. While I don't understand my mom's reduced and painful life or her death, I believe in God. I have a hard time reconciling things that the Bible says when it doesn't seem to match my reality. But I have felt God comfort me in my grief. I have felt his love for me and for my mom. I would often pray growing up for peace and strength to be the best son I could be. He never answered my prayers for my mom, but he answered my prayers for myself and my dad so often. I am very conflicted these days, feeling so tired and hopeless, yet having so much that I could/should be hopeful and joyful about. So many of your situations are so much more tragic and many of you are enduring things with less support than I have. I don't know how you do it, but I take heart in it. I hope I can shed this strength-sapping, bone-breaking weariness that is always with me. I am so tired of it.

Much love and support to all of you. Thank you for your time if you managed to read all of this.

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Nathan I am so sorry for your losses and tragic events you have had to endure. You are right, losing a loved one due to suicide is ultimately the worst. It is a true nightmare and the recovery process is so different. 

I lost my Mom December 1, 2012, and I still think of it everyday and see it in my mind.  It is good you are still seeking help. 

My thoughts and prayers are with you and please stay strong. We will make it.

Sincerely, Sherry. 

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Nathan L

Hey Sherry,

Thank you for your response. I have read some of your other posts on here, and I appreciate you replying to so many people, showing support and providing encouragement. 

One of the things I struggle with the most is not feeling like I have a lot of good memories with my mom. I often feel like I have no good way to remember her or honor her memory. I've thought about getting tattoos in her honor, and maybe I will, but that's not exactly me and she probably wouldn't have liked that. Any advice on how to shift bad thoughts/memories towards good memories or current things you do in her honor? She is buried about 8 hrs away, so visiting her grave when I feel down is not possible.

The sharpness of my grief has gotten better as I've tried to deal with things, but does the feeling of wanting to just die go away? I know it's best for me to live for everyone that I love, but I so badly just want to leave this earth, so full of pain and hardships. I don't know how to obtain peace and joy. I pray, but it does not seem to be forthcoming.




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