I Miss My Mother

Mary Patric


When I was a child, I really adored my mother. My father had died when I was 11. My mother was the center of my life. But she struggled with alcoholism, depression, and personality disorder, so she didn't notice me too much. She wasn't a happy person and I wasn't a wanted child.

Slowly I began not to like her too much. She made bad choices. A lot of times I even hated her. But still I worried for her, and called her. I always wished so much I could make her happy.

By the time I was 29, she had been diagnosed with cancer. She hid it from everyone and refused to go to the doctor. It was a struggle to force her out of the house to go. Even as the denial melted away she still refused to settle her affairs. She also begged me to not let her die at home. I lived 2 hours away and there was no one to help. I can't make excuses but at the same time I couldn't take care of her. The cancer had metastasized everywhere and she needed constant care. She had multiple surgeries including the removal of 1 eye. Seeing her that way and being helpless to fix it for her was unspeakable.

When I went to visit her, she would ignore me. I know it was because she was consumed by pain but that doesn't make it less painful to me. She never said goodbye to me.

My brother, who was in his late 40's at the time, hated her so much that he refused to come while she was dying or for her funeral. Still, when I say that I miss her, he feels really betrayed that I could even care for her because of all she had done to us.

After she died, I had to put her dog to sleep. And I was overwhelmed by the home that she had left behind. She hadn't left the house in years and refused to clean it. If I ever mentioned it or offered to help, it was none of my business. Suddenly this was all my business. So one of her friends whom I did not know well offered to 'clean' the house for me and I accepted. When I returned to collect all my momentoes, they were gone. The woman had literally cleared the entire house of everything. Pictures, etters, my childhood things, my mother's diaries. Things that had always been important to my mother, like her own mother's amethyst colored rosary was gone. I was so devastated.

I still dream of being with my mother, going to her house, and calling her. Sometimes when I see something interesting, I still want to call her on the phone. And now I have finally met my soulmate and married him and I wish so much she could be here. She would love him.

No matter what ever happened I still love her and miss her. I wish I could make her happy. Despite how irrational it is, I wish I could have kept her from the pain. And I feel like I let her down for that. I realize how codependent this is but it doesn't change a thing about how I feel. Even realized that REAL feelings aren't changed by logic, only controlled by it.

I wish I could sit with her for an hour and ask all the questions I never did. And I envy my friends who still have parents. Sometimes I drive places singing "I miss my mother, I miss my mother, I miss my mother". And those words come to me when I'm thinking of other things.


You can email Linda: [email protected]
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date of post 08-23-99


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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW