A Missing Link

Many of you know that my mother died when I was eight. It was suicide, or accidental overdose depending on who you talk to. Either way, she was gone.

There are things that people don’t have the right mind to think about before they do something like that. Take pills to ease their pain until there is no conscious knowledge that one has found any relief.

I grew up without a mother, and I managed and did okay, but there are still effects of that dreadful event 45 years later and I’m going to mention one now. The motherless daughter as a parent.

My daughter was raised by a mother who had no mother. Her mother never had anyone to hold her or hug her when she was feeling despair, loneliness, fear, or pain. Her mother did not have anyone to call her to inquire about her day. Her mother wiped her own tears. No one ever helped her mother with her children or household. There was no one to answer those questions that only a mother can answer. God is good, but God is not your mother.

Sometimes parenting was confusing to her mother because she had no real role model. She had grandmothers who were loving and kind, but there was a missing link. Always. Grandmothers are not the same as mothers.

Her mother went to college to learn how to care for others. Seriously. And she went on to have an excellent career in nursing, but with all of those school hours and work hours, she wondered constantly if she was giving her own daughter what she needed from a role model.

I loved my daughter, hugged her, wiped her tears, offered her encouragement and hope and always wondered if I was doing the right things by her.  She had a few years of strife even I could not cope with well. There were times when there was only bitterness between us.

So when my daughter delivered her second child at home and needed help with the household, I called a housekeeper to come in and do the work of cleaning for a day. It wasn’t much, but it was all I knew to do. I don’t believe it was enough. What she needed most was for mom to be close.

Well, today, my daughter, upon hearing about my agony in back pain, came over to get my heating pad off the top shelf in the closet. She set me up in my bed for comfort and gave me fresh fruit with yogurt for breakfast. She gave me hugs, then cooked bacon for my lunch, cut up tomatoes and lettuce. She cleaned last night’s supper dishes and loaded the dishwasher. We chatted a while.  We hugged some more. It was a much warmer time, I’m sure, than if she had hired someone to come over and attend to me. She was here for me.

She’s grown up just fine.

I’m still learning to be a motherless parent.

You see, it takes generations to overcome what a suicide will do. I see my daughter nurturing my granddaughter and feel the warmth in her nurturing me and know everything is going to be okay.

I am truly blessed. Thank you, daughter. You are appreciated.

32 thoughts on “A Missing Link

    • Thanks! I feel that I am blessed. Two hours of her time made such a difference in my world today. 🙂 I was in the bed until about an hour and a half ago. I might make it through supper. Getting some reading done.

  1. You are blessed, SK. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Take care of your back. I’ve had two back surgeries In my past and believe me, sitting is the worst. I found that walking, slowly at first was the best medicine.

    • If I sit erect I am fine, but I cannot lean back. Standing is okay, but walking is guarded in baby steps, because it grabs me unexpectedly. Bless you for getting through not one but two surgeries. I am terrified to go under the knife.

      • I know about those unexpected grabs. My solution is to lay flat on the floor with a heating pad after taking an Aleve. It definitely helps with those spasms. I feel your pain, my friend…praying for healing.

  2. Thanks for sharing what it has been like for you to grow up without your mom and under the burden of suicide. In spite of it all, you did just swell with your own daughter who seems a lovely and loving young woman. I hope your back feels better soon, Susan.

  3. I have this feeling you did better than you think, as others have already commented. The other reality is that the cycles that cross generations end one person at a time. In your family it has started with you and your daughter. That’s the best way to end these things. Whether they are abuse, depression, addiction, or whatever. We end them one child at a time. You’ve done that with your daughter. Congrats.

    • Thanks, Mark. I like to think so. I thought I was losing her once, but things turned out for the best in the end. That would have been tragic for sure.

      You know my first cousin committed suicide. So the generation was hit by it even though it was not my immediate family. She and I had grown up like sisters. I have always had a fear about my daughter or even hers. But I do know that we are on the right track now, whatever happens in the future. I think my daughter has life tools that I didn’t have…that my cousin didn’t have.

  4. Every parent, one who has had a mother and those who have not, always wonder whether or not they have done a good job raising their children. Those who have NOT had mothers while growing up often worry the most and usually try the hardest. It sounds as if you did an excellent job. Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment.

  5. Your daughter sounds like a kind and generous woman, and so do you. I suspect you’ve been a much better mother than you think. I agree with Henrietta above–everyone (well, anyone who cares), wonders if they’re doing a good job as a parent or if they could or could have done a better job. You don’t know what you would have been like if your mother had been around, but you did your best without her, and it sounds like that best was very good.

  6. YEP … you did well, especially all considering. Meanwhile, hope your back improves. …. and yes, very good writing. Loved the way you focused on “her mother” (as opposed to first person).

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