Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Not a Survivor

(I originally wrote this within the first 6 months after my daughter's death. I didn't post it then, I don't remember why.  I'm posting it now because it was a part of me...my journey.)

The truth is I'm not a survivor because I feel everyday like I'm drowning.  But you wouldn't necessarily know that by looking at me or talking to me.

I had recently come to a place, prior to my daughter's death, where I had this realization that it was important for me to just be who I truly am.  I can see how the majority of my life has been spent trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be...trying to match up to expectations I felt put on me by my parents, pastors, siblings, husband, myself.  It's how I was trained...by guilt, fear, shame...these awful taskmasters that were used by the authorities in my life -- most likely to make themselves feel better about whatever their relationship and responsibility was toward me, not because they wanted to nurture me into growing into the best possible version of myself.  And as I see this, in some ways I can't really blame these people because they were most likely behaving how they thought they were supposed to behave, thinking and doing according to the training they received...following their own set of "should's".

In any case, the fact remains, I had been in the process of shedding the should's and feeling good about that.  And then my daughter's death hit us like a great and terrible storm that hasn't ceased to this day.  There are days when it slows down.  The wind gusts aren't as strong-- they may pull back a bit but they never completely leave.  They are like a terrible abuser--you see their back as they walk into another room just to take a break and refuel.  You hear their heavy breathing and can smell their presence in the air and you know it's just a matter of time before they are back in all their glory and fury to wreak havoc and destruction on the very core of your being.  There is no escape, just moments of retreat between the battles.  And there is no rest in those moments because there is no true relief, only anticipation of the next attack and the anxiety of not knowing exactly when that will be.  But, rest assured, it will  happen. 

Fast forward, and in the after-loss of my daughter's suicide, I am not being who I truly am.  I am back to that place of being someone I think I should be...to my family, friends...strangers.  Who I truly am is a blubbering idiot, a puddle of tears, incapable of functioning because I can no longer concentrate, I can no longer focus, I am heaped with guilt, bogged down with all the things I could-have, should-have done.  How could I have helped?  What could I have said in our conversations that could have made a difference.  I look back on her childhood and see all the areas where I faltered, where I messed up, my selfish acts, my impatience, the times I let my own problems affect the way I mothered my child.  The things I didn't do that hurt her, the times I acted in anger....that's all I can see.  I can't see anything good because it's overshadowed by everything bad -- because that's what's won out.  Good did not triumph over evil.  It's obvious that I didn't do enough good to make up for the wrongs I had done during her childhood, otherwise there would be a different outcome.  Otherwise, she would still be here...smiling, laughing, looking to the future, singing, saying, "I love you, Mom!"  I hear her voice in my head and it immediately brings me to tears because her voice was so kind, gentle--acceptance flowed from it. She made people feel comforted, encouraged. She spread love and encouragement. She made people laugh; she made me laugh 'til I cried.  Her heart listened and heard people and she only always wanted them to feel better.  But she didn't have that for herself -- I was not a good enough mother to her to give that to her for herself.  I can never forgive myself.  How do I go on?  How can I be a good mother to my children that are still living?  How can I fill them when I am so empty now?  I am so lost and I can't see the path.  I'm sitting in this dark forest, confused, angry, miserable, broken, languishing, wanting...waiting...waiting for her to visit me--but she'll never come.  I want to sink into the earth and disintegrate. Maybe then what's left of me can float away and find her and tell her that I love her more than I even knew and that I'm sorry, so sorry, for not being more to her...for not being what she deserved.

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Not a Survivor

(I originally wrote this within the first 6 months after my daughter's death. I didn't post it then, I don't remember why.  I...