If You're A Motherless Daughter, This One's For You

If You're A Motherless Daughter, This One's For You

It's okay not to be okay.
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Here’s to Motherless Daughters,

Here’s to the late night cries,

Here’s to getting too attached to your friend’s mom,

Here’s to wishing you could call her for a good cry and a shitty glass of wine,

Here’s to being resilient as hell.

We all remember the worst day of our lives. Mine was the day I lost my Mother.

My mother died shortly after my 14th birthday. The memory runs through my head often, as I’m sure it does to you. At 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in 2010, my mom had just gotten home from her third shift job and was winding down to go to bed. She woke me around 9 a.m., told me an ambulance was on its way. She was having heart pains and her arm was numb. I tried to soothe the woman who had calmed me many times before, she was anxiously pacing our hallway. By 9:30, no ambulance. My Mom was getting weaker and pacing faster, I tried to get her to sit, no luck. She fainted in the hallway. I tried to wake her but nothing worked. The ambulance took forever to get to my home, but I can’t blame them. Time seemed slowed, as did my hope. The EMT’s came and tried to revive her, but she had no heartbeat. My dad arrived two minutes after the EMT’s, the look on his lovely face was an unfamiliar hopelessness. I ran into his strong arms, screaming, hoping it was all a terrible dream. The ambulance took her body, we cried and frantically ran to the car, barreling down the driveway. We met the ambulance at the hospital, no lights—we understood and we wept. We said our goodbyes at the hospital and our hearts died that day—the day my mother, my father’s soulmate, left us.

Know we are not alone in our sorrows.

My mother, being active in our church, community, and her job, had many visitors in the coming weeks. Friends, family, co-workers, a variety of acquaintances came to our home, bringing their sympathy and comfort food. Being from the south, food is a staple when a loved one dies. Eating made me feel worse. Their well-meant sympathy left me empty. “Call if you need anything!”, such an insincere promise, particularly when your “person” is gone. The empathetic ones were the ones that stayed when everyone left. They helped you eat all of the food, they cried with you, they filled you with friendship, they kept you breathing. The empathetic ones could place themselves in your shoes, you will always cherish them for that.

You lost your mom before you were ready. She left before she was ready. Perhaps it was sudden, maybe it was expected. The circumstances are irrelevant. It hurts, God, it hurts. Acknowledge it’s okay to hurt. You’re supposed to have your mother, life wasn’t fair. That one day, that terrible day, changed the course of your life forever.

This is to help you understand, there are people out there who get it, who understand your forever pain, your longing for a mother, the reason you get too attached to the older women in your life. When everyone is thrusting sympathy on you, understand it’s okay not to be okay.

Break down, scream, cry, pick yourself up, and repeat.

You will go through so many things without your mother. The happiness will usually be followed with an uncanny emptiness, longing to hear her voice. The sadness will always be amplified by her absence, and that’s okay.

Find solace that the hardest things are over. Losing your role model is the hardest thing that could ever happen. Whether that be your mother, father, best friend, mentor, it’s never easy. You’ve made it through, you will only get stronger from this day. The pain will never stop, but you will find ways to cope. You will learn to be happy with the strength and foundation she left for you.

You will relearn to be happy.

I love you, Mom.

Cover Image Credit: Nicole Ayers

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Blocking Toxic Family Members Can Be Just What You Needed

It isn't an easy choice but it can be the most rewarding.

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I haven't written for the Odyssey in quite some time due to this large issue in my life that I feel some people may also need to hear. Watching your parents go through a divorce can be difficult in itself, but what about having to remove one of your parents from your life at the same time? It's something I don't think many people could imagine doing. However, sometimes you are forced into the position between choosing what is best for your mental health or what is expected of you. For me, I realized that I needed to put myself first.

I realized that I am my own person. How I present myself and how I act and what I choose to believe in is how the world perceives me. I was faced with a parent who did not let me be who I am. The way I thought had to be in line with theirs. What I openly spoke about had to be in line with that parent's thoughts. This also, in turn, meant I had to revolve how I was perceived to the world around that parent's family. I had to abide by these societal norms and do what someone else expected of me. I realized that was ludicrous.

This parent was also abusive. They were toxic and manipulative and I could not stand idly by and just take that from them while also trying to become an independent young adult. I was forced to sit and watch one of my parents transform into someone I didn't recognize anymore. I had to watch them ignore any kind of reality checks and continue to feign innocence. I watched one of my parents mentally manipulate people I once called family into believing lies. I kept my head down and shut my mouth and kept taking the abuse. Now I'm at a point where I can confidently say that I am no longer afraid.

I was forced to cut ties with a parent that raised me, cared for me, attended school functions, fixed toys, bought me my first phone. I was forced to chuck out priceless memories for my own sanity. I could not sit idly by and allow myself to endure one more second of lies or abuse. I had to stand up for myself for once in my life and I blocked most of my family. I blocked cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents. I changed my phone number that I had since 6th grade. I gave no warning and disappeared from my family's lives. Do I have regrets? No. I would do it again if I had to because I am so much stronger than sitting there and taking it.

I will have one less parent at my college graduation, which I am fighting so hard to achieve. I will have one less parent at my wedding. My future children will have one less grandparent. I mope in these thoughts but then I have to remember the other side of things. I will not have an unsupportive parent at my graduation and instead will have those that were there every step of the way. I will lack someone who was toxic at my wedding. My future children will never have to face the same abusive, toxic situations that my parent put me through. It was a difficult decision to make but one that I know in my heart is worthwhile.

Cutting a family member out of your life is difficult enough but cutting a parent is unimaginable. However, no one deserves to go through abusive situations. It shouldn't matter who the person is; if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, they have no use being in your life. You should always be your first priority. You should never have to endure something for the sake of others. I am here to tell you that you are more than that and that cutting out a family member could actually be the best thing for you, even if it's incredibly difficult. I did it and I'm still here. It made me realize who my real family was, and there will never be enough thank you's in the world to show my mother just how much I appreciate her.

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