I became aware of death at a very young age. When I was 5 years old, my mother committed suicide. The devastation of that experience changed my life in ways I can’t explain. I went from being a joyful 5-year-old to one who was traumatized, lonely and afraid.
Death changes you in ways you can’t even imagine. When I was young, I would pray that people wouldn’t ask me why I didn’t have a mom. Even worse, I prayed they wouldn’t ask me how she died. The word “suicide” scared me. I didn’t know how people were going to react, and I most certainly didn’t want to explain it to them.
This event was so traumatic for me that I started building a wall around my heart to protect myself. I would pretend that I was fine with the entire situation. I would comfort people when I saw the shock in their eyes after I told them that my mother shot herself shortly after she sent us off to church. Then I would proceed to tell them that I was fine and since it happened a long time ago, there was no need to comfort me.
The truth was, I wasn’t fine. I had so much fear and anxiety, that I lived with on a daily basis that it haunted me.
Thus began my journey of certainty. I would try as hard as I could to keep everything in my life a constant prediction. I wanted everything to stay the same with no surprises. Spontaneous? No way! Adventurous? Absolutely not! Can you blame me? The first time I experienced change, it took away the most important person in my life, so why would I ever risk having something like that happen to me again?
As you can imagine, life disappointed me often. Every day I would plan in my mind what to say or do to survive. As a result, I was frustrated the majority of the time because again, life didn’t turn out the way I had planned. I just wanted someone to take care of me and love me for who I was. Obviously, I wasn’t enough because I couldn’t even keep my own mother alive, at least that is the story I told myself for many many years.
As I grew older, I fell in love, got married and had a family of my own. I remember so clearly the day we brought our oldest child home from the hospital. I was snuggling our daughter, Makenzie, on the couch and had this feeling of love for her that I had never felt before. At that moment, I had a full realization of how sick my mother must have been when she decided to kill herself. No mother, who was mentally well, would ever deliberately choose to leave her child in that way.
That was one of the most profound moments of my life. A new identity snuck in through a window of my heart that day and a door opened to let out an old belief. “Could I really be worth something instead of nothing?” A new conversation was born within myself. I’ve always had a belief in God but was so closed off to the world that I couldn’t feel him. Finally I was able to know and feel that he had always been with me giving me his constant love and protection.
Though I experienced trauma at such a young age, as an adult, I now look back over my life and see countless people and events that helped me on my journey. A wonderful stepmother, relatives, teachers, friends and their parents, all came together to help me in their own special way. I believe in God and I believe in angels who guide and protect us daily. I believe that those who have died are still with us and inspiring us from beyond. I hope you see these gifts in your life as well and it brings comfort to you, as it has mine.
You are loved,