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Christmas is my children


motherof2forever

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motherof2forever
This morning, I lay in bed reading the text messages that my 33-year old son and I shared with each other over the last year of his life. Some may call that morbid, but I needed to feel close to him; I needed to "hear" his voice; I needed to remember the rhythm of our relationship; most of all, I needed to feel again how much he still needed me. My boy, Nikolaus, lived in Los Angeles and proudly worked, successfully so, in the film industry. He was fiercely independent, but lived with many demons. Although we lived 700 miles from each other, I knew he had a problem with alcohol. I tried to talk to him, and even reached out to a few of his friends about it, but he would never admit to any weaknesses. I knew I was helpless to help him, but I didn't know just how bad it was.

My life ended on May 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm. Only I didn't know that it had ended until May 20, a week later when I got a call at work from the Los Angeles coroner's office telling me that my son had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance complaining of shortness of breath, and that he died a few hours later. That moment replays in my mind torturously, over and over. When I heard the date of his death, I was horrified. I had been living my busy life, laughing, smiling, feeling that all was still predictable and secure, while my son lay dead in a morgue. The last month of his life, we were angry with one another. See, last Christmas while he and I were walking downtown, Nikolaus had a seizure in the middle of the street. It was a seizure brought on by alcohol withdrawals; he ended up in the hospital for 5 days. When he went home to LA, I feared for his life. I feared that even this violent event was not enough of a scare for him to stop drinking. When he sent me some text messages in late March that didn't make sense, I had to ask him if was drunk. He got angry with me, and I with him, and as a result we didn't talk much those last weeks of his precious life. I don't think that I'll ever quite forgive myself for that. So, this is why I didn't hear about his passing for a week. I didn't call him. What kind of a mother am I?

Christmas is going to be impossible for me. Christmas is Nikolaus. Christmas is the time of year that he and I cherished. It meant him coming to stay with us for days, and oh how I looked forward to it. I knew that I couldn't stand being home for the holidays, so instead of my daughter coming here, I planned to stay with her in Portland so that we could support each other during this nightmare. Just yesterday though, she dropped a bomb on me: She didn't want me to fly up because of the Covid scare. I am devastated, and so scared of my emotional state. Now she is angry with me because I expressed that I was hurt over her decision. I'm not unreasonable; I know that she has a right to be cautious, but I am so vulnerable right now, as is she. The last thing I need is for her to negatively judge my emotions. So, here I am, looking Christmas in the face, a once most sacred time, and giving it the finger.

In addition to all of this, my eldest sister's 47-year old son, David, was walking in the park on November 7, 2020, suffered an aneurysm and died. He was her only child, and her life. What kind of God does this? No one can tell me that there isn't some powerful, evil force playing cat and mouse with my family.

My heart literally aches. The grief has only grown worse. Will I ever experience happiness again? How can I when everything that I used to do, to think, to imagine, was fueled by my children? What life is there for me now? I find myself resenting the people who care for me because if it weren't for them, I would have ended my life months ago.
 
 
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Whenever I encounter someone who has lost a child, I think of my grandma. She had a daughter named Dorathy, who died in 1946, at only two months old. There was only one picture of the baby and my grandma kept it on the wall facing her bed, so she could see it each morning. She was 19 when she lost a child and for the remaining 61 years of her own life, she talked about how much it hurt. Your loss of Nikolaus is without a doubt the worst kind of loss knowable by humankind. I know these are the words of a stranger, but please don't doubt your qualities as a mother because you and your son weren't on regular speaking terms. You were concerned about his alcohol abuse, because you had seen how it was impacting his health. If you weren't a good mother, you wouldn't have been so upset that he was still drinking. Yes, you were angry, but the anger was coming from your maternal concern for him.

I am sorry that you won't be able to spend Christmas with your daughter. Maybe you can interact via an app? It won't be the same as actually being there, but it would give you the opportunity to see everyone and talk with them. You have lost your son and you're emotionally raw. It is going to take time to process what happened and come to terms with it. There will always be a degree of pain from the loss, but I have known people who have lost children and have seen that life can go on. Working through the grief was definitely not easy, but please don't give up. I wish you the best.

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motherof2forever

Thank you for these thoughtful words of comfort, and thank you for taking the time to write them. My son and I were on regular speaking terms until his last month of life. We had a very close and loving relationship, which is why I am having such an impossible time trying to redefine my purpose in life. He was my purpose. He was my meaning. That we weren't speaking at the end of his life, kills me. 

My daughter will open her presents on Christmas Day and will do so via Zoom. It will at least be something. 

Thank you again. I wish you all the best as well. 

 

 

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