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Unmasking My Emotions

Friday, October 28, 2016

I've been contemplating how, what and where to share. A week and a half ago my mom died. I knew the call would eventually come and I doubt if anyone is 100% ready, unless their loved one had a lengthy illness or a serious accident.

My brother treated everything as a business transaction . I felt his emotions yet he did his best to hide them.

I officiated the graveside service. Over the years, I've mastered the "acting mode" when officiating funerals to help me stay in control of my emotions.

I never grieved the loss of my stepdad at age 16. I was actually relieved and the only memory of his funeral was my best friend and I laughed through the entire service and I'm fairly certain my brother didn't show.

I never grieved the loss of my biological dad who passed 19 years ago, but then again, I didn't really know him, nor did I learn of his death until 2-3 years ago.

Now, when it comes to my mom...she had mental illness caused, I thought due to a nervous breakdown at age 17. I've recently learned of other contributors to her state of mind, as well as being a victim of domestic abuse.

I admit to a vast roller coaster of emotions concerning her years of hospitalization /institutionalization and general feelings of abandonment. In fact, the past 36 years she's been in one facility or another.

In 2009, I was awakened to the fact that my mom was a victim and not the cause behind my confusion. She couldn't help it and in fact, she had built a cocoon of safety to where she couldn't be hurt again.

Of course within her cocoon, she could no longer make music. A beautiful musician who kept her music locked inside. Rare glimpses of my mom, few words, unable to communicate by phone and 15 hour drives that could produce a five minute visit or on one wonderful visit, 2 hours of clarity...learning her favorite food of pizza, enjoying smiles, laughter, answers until she would retreat again.

I felt like I lost my mom years ago, yet every couple of years when I could make the drive, it was the hope of just one more day of clarity that would make the trip worth it. Most trips were disappointing, except the initial look of recognition.

The final trip was made too late. My nontravel year. The call came in her final stages of life. I'm relieved that my mom's mind and body have been set free and the music can be unlocked.

I will miss going to "see" mom. I still haven't been able to grieve that she's gone. There have been no tears. Maybe I've worn the mask for too many years?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have so many thoughts here, and from personal experience myself.

    I have grieved so many times over the past 40+ years - my mom is still living, but the issues are still there. I've grieved what I've thought that I missed, I've grieved what I didn't truly begin to understand until the past five years, etc. It seems I've spent decades grieving. It wasn't until someone accused me of being passive - I'm not, but it began a thought process that has been and continues to be freeing - that I realized that all in my life have done the best they could, and that includes me....

    Be gentle with yourself. You have excellent advice from the others; I am going to take some of it for myself.
    1732 days ago
    Parental relationships can be so very complicated. My mother and I had a love/hate thing going most of my life, and most of the year I was 12 we were locked in a bitter battle of control (as only two strong willed female Sagittarians can), and then she had The Stroke 2 weeks before I turned 13, and our roles reversed. In many ways the person who came home from the hospital wasn't the mother I remembered, which, in retrospect, is probably why she and my dad stayed together the rest of her life (they were separated for a year before The Stroke) and in many ways was probably a good thing. But to my teenaged self, how dare did this stranger attempt to tell me what to do?! I was a very angry teenager, but we eventually worked out a relationship we could both live with. When I got married and had kids, I learned that if I called her once a week and told her about what was going on, she felt included and didn't drive me crazy nagging me with things all the time. To this day, I really miss being able to call her with updates on the kids (and oh how she would have doted on the grandbaby). However difficult or contentious the relationship may be, there is a fundamental loss when your mother dies. It gets easier, but the hole is kind of always there. Hang in there! emoticon
    1733 days ago
  • EISSA7
    You have been dealing with not having your Mom in your life for many, many years so it is understandable that you have remained stoic with her passing. As you continue to process your memories, cling to the ones that you treasure as have been strong through a lifetime of her mental illness, it is okay to grieve what you have lost. Sympathy to you and your family.
    1733 days ago
    I'm sorry for your loss. As other people say, the tears will come. Mental illness is hard on the entire family. My Mom died 1.5 yrs ago, but the Mom I kmew growing up was lost to mental illness 15 yrs b4 that. Prayers 2 u & yr family.
    1734 days ago
    I'm so sorry. I've lost my mom, too. The tears will come, sometimes at the oddest, and most importune moments. It'll take time to permit yourself the freedom to feel.
    1734 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    I'm so sorry for your loss. It's difficult under the circumstances..t will eventually hit you and the floodgates open. Maybe not her actual death but the loss of her over the years.
    1734 days ago
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