I used to love rollercoasters as a kid, wild ups and downs, unsuspecting turns, feelings of no control and the chance to get back in line to do it again. Not so much as an adult now, in fact I’ll never get on one again. Now that I’ve experienced grief on many levels, I don’t care for the uncertainty the grief ride leaves me feeling.
When mom died it wasn’t the first time I grieved her loss. This first time was when she became an alcoholic and there was no option for sobriety in sight. She’d been through 3 different rehabs and walked out of them all. The grief of accepting that my mom would never “be” my mom again was a hard acceptance to swallow. I tried the NC (no contact) method, but she would call me at work, page me constantly, show up at my house unannounced and made it impossible. I searched for counseling and worked through that loss, but I still had hope that a miracle would happen. Accepting that I couldn’t save her was really hard, since I’m the caretaker in the family and it’s my best co-dependent trait, I felt like a failure.
As her alcoholism got worse, so did her narcissism. She was a destructive force that triangulated through all aspects of my life and I never felt free. I honestly had moments where I wished she’d just die. Ignorantly assuming once she was gone, so would the pain she inflicted on us daily. I was honest once about this with whom I thought was a close friend and she berated me over the coals. My therapist knew I felt this way and she validated my feelings and helped me see that I wasn’t the only person in the history of the world to feel that way.
When mom died my Sis and I both had the same reaction. Immediate sadness, pain and crying…combined with a sense of relief and freedom. What a fucked up feeling! To be sad yet relieved a person has died is like cooking oil and gasoline…the two don’t mix! Highly flammable! In all honesty we both started to sing “ding dong the witch is dead” and then cried in anger that she made us feel that way. We felt guilty.
The first month was sadness and a feeling of emptiness. I think I walked around in a state of shock and couldn’t believe a person could grieve twice for the same person. Then my friend who berated me earlier for wishing for her death called me to see how I was doing, then arrogantly stated “Well you can’t take that wish back now can ya? Hope you learned something from such a hateful thing to say.” WOW! That was helpful, I’d prefer you just shit in my Cheerios next time. Then I sat back and realized…this friend was just like my mother. Interesting how we attract what we know.
Grief may have 5 stages to it, but those stages don’t go in any particular order, no time frame, unknowingly hits you at the oddest times and circle back around. Grief combined with PTSD, depression and severe anxiety is a cocktail for destruction. I went through one of the deepest depressions of my life. When I didn’t have my son with me I’d stay in bed all day binge watching Trading Spaces. Cry uncontrollably. Then go out in the evening and get sauced at the local watering hole.
I’d pick up the phone often and call her house when I knew Larry wasn’t there, just to hear her voice on the voicemail. Wear her perfume just to smell her, or her sweater to feel like she was wrapping her arms around me. It was a deep loving grief. Until the reading of the Will.
Larry was 12 years older than Joan, he almost died several times, so Joan thought he’d clearly die before her. Her Will was not outlined for me and Sis, just that Larry would decide what we could have. Going into their 8 year marriage mom had a 401k of $150k and $80k in equity from the sale of our childhood home, plus $50k from our grandmother’s estate. Larry had a monthly pension, social security, $75k in home equity and $500k in retirement funds. Let’s just say he didn’t need our mothers money…but he kept it. He wrote Sis and I a check for $10k each and told us to get her things out of his house and that was it. Bought his grown children all new cars and gambled and drank the rest away. Larry is a douche bag, plain and simple. Sad excuse of a human being that went from being our high school Principal to a greedy dirty old man with no conscience.
Our anger vacillated from him to mom minute by minute, how could she be so stupid, did she do it out of hate, how could he be so greedy, what in the hell was she thinking? Money isn’t everything, but being a single mom, living in a tiny house with no retirement plan nor college fund in place, our rightful inheritance would have been very helpful. That was 16 years ago and I still shake my head in disbelief. Ever see Mommy Dearest? She left her children NOTHING! This is why my mother’s name is Joan in this blog, she fits the role beautifully.
Through anger, disgust, hate and bitterness…you’ll still catch me wearing her perfume, her sweater or her favorite necklace. I still talk to her, sometimes I yell at her and sometimes I cry for her. I miss her dearly and I’m so relieved she’s not here fucking with me on a daily basis.
Larry died about 6 years back, heart failure caused his lungs to fill with fluid, he basically drowned…good. Some day I’ll find his grave and I WILL piss on it…mark my words.
Not very Christian of me is it? Well I’m not perfect, if I was I’d be Jesus, so all I can do is ask you to pray for me.