One of the best things about my blog is that I am able to connect with other "Motherless Daughters" all around the world! I recently received an email from Rashelle, who is a truely amazing person and here is her story. Rashelle, Thank You for sharing it with us!
My name is Rashelle. I recently turned 34 and I am a Motherless Daughter.
My Mum passed away when she was 32 years young, and I was only 7 years old. We were holidaying in Mauritius, where mum & dad’s family is originally from. Mum is buried there.
Mum had a severe asthma attack and died in my father’s arms, her last words were “I’m going to die”.
The only thing I remember from the day of the funeral is that I walked up to Mum and just stared at her face. I was disappointed that no one had the decency to apply blush to her beautiful high cheekbones. I remember thinking her ears were very purple. I was curious to see her eyes and so I lifted up her eyelid. The colour was still hazel, but they were lifeless. It was such a morbid thing to do. I kissed her forehead and remembered how cold it was. It was the strangest experience.
I didn’t know it then, but my world fell apart that day, and it hit me like a tsunami in the years to come. A bitterly cold and ruthless tsunami, that seemed to keep engulfing me in its dark seas, again and again. Ever since my Mum passed away, everything became entangled and foggy.
Mums death has never been an easy topic for me to discuss. I still feel like I’m this big fat attention seeking drama queen talking about it. I can picture a bunch of women rolling their eyes and saying, “here we go again”. I can already feel their judgment, before I’ve even said a word. This thought has stopped me from talking about it for a long time.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to describe my childhood as terrible. I remember a lot of great times. I wasn’t abused and I wasn’t beaten. A loving family, on both sides in fact, surrounded me. I have an amazing Dad who did everything possible to make me happy as a child. I will say however, it was very, very difficult. The same goes for my youth and adult hood right up to age 33.
The realization I didn’t love myself only came to me after reading Hope Edelman’s, ‘Motherless Daughters’. This book played a BIG part in saving my life. No exaggeration. I had to dig very, very deep within to start changing the course of my life. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and there were times when I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and do the ‘giving up dance’. I was determined to see it through. It was the first time I could relate to something so how could I give up? It was the first time I felt understood. I’d be reading a chapter and I’d be nodding my head so furiously, I thought I was going to get whiplash. It was such a relief to know I had reasons for feeling the way I did and why I was constantly fucking up in life. I felt ashamed and guilty for so long. When I was reading Motherless Daughters, I could feel the heavy load of those emotions lifting.
Suddenly I realized there were reasons why I was afraid of the world ending when I was 10. Reasons why I felt out of place after my Dad’s new wife had my baby brother. Why I thought my step mother could never love me. Why I didn’t do too well in school and teachers always made a point of how I had all this potential but never used it. Reasons why I didn’t know what to do for work experience, why I had no idea what I wanted to do after finishing school. Why I’ve always applied for jobs I had no interest in and why I’ve spent most of my life angry every single day and believed it was a part of my personality. Reasons why I cut myself on and off for 23 years and why I felt like I never belonged anywhere. Why I didn’t want to get married or be a mother. Reasons why I was binge drinking for over a decade and then graduated to alcoholism. Why I developed a tough, rude, ‘I don’t give a fuck, fuck you’ exterior. Why I thought it was fun to drop acid and go to work the next day. Reasons why I felt lost (even when I thought I was happy) and why dread was always in the back of my mind. Why I remained in a verbally and sexually abusive relationship. Why I slept around even though I was totally uncomfortable with intimacy. Reasons why I believed I didn’t know what I wanted and that what I wanted didn’t exist. I can keep going.
It’s almost as if I wasn’t allowed to be angry or hurt about Mum dying. I was under the impression I was supposed to be grateful because, as people told me; Mum lives on in my heart. Mum is my Guardian Angel and looks down on me from heaven. Yeah, they’re beautiful thoughts but for a long time it did absolutely NOTHING! This didn’t bring me any comfort. I tried very hard to visualize my Mum wrapping her angel wings around me but in all honesty I felt nothing. I had buried the event so deep in my skeleton closet and forgot about it for so long that it had taken on a different form. All I remember thinking for a long time was how this person gave birth to me and I hardly knew her. We looked very much alike, we both had a bad temper, we both love to laugh and we’re honest. That’s it. How could I miss this person I hardly knew? Yes, she was my Mother and I thought about her face in that coffin every day but what was there to miss? I had long ago forgotten most of our memories together. I had forgotten what her voice sounded like.
Hope’s book had triggered something deep inside and so I set myself to work peeling off the layers. I will be honest and say I did run into some feelings prior to reading her book. Some of those feelings I will share with you.
Deeply buried feelings began to surface a few years ago. I think I was 30 when my dad told me this story. When mum had just died, they had tried to revive her at the hospital but they couldn’t keep Mum’s body there at the time. I have no idea why, but my Dad and a few of my male cousins had to bring her body back home with them, in a taxi. By then rigor mortis had set in and they had to physically bend her joints to fit her in the car. I remember feeling shattered for my Dad and cousins. My 31st Birthday fell on Mother’s Day and I remember feeling anxious because mum had died at age 32. I remember crying at work a few days before, and felt cringe worthy for telling my manager how I felt at the time. I wondered why I had those feelings. I wondered why I was crying for my Mum when it happened so long ago. For my 32nd birthday I had a big party, I wanted to celebrate this age with friends and family because I was alive and healthy. So I brought in my 32nd year high on cocaine. In fact, alcohol and sometimes drugs were a big part of the celebrations every year since I was 21. What I’m saying is, my feelings were all over the place, all the time. Everything seemed out of place, disconnected. It wasn’t until I read Motherless Daughters, I was able to set everything straight and get to the bottom of it. I was determined to heal. It was also around the same time I became sober.
I always knew I loved my Mum, but I didn’t know how deeply I loved her until I realized the person I needed a hug and a kiss from the most wasn’t here to give me one. I wanted to hear her voice. I wanted to have a laugh with her. I wanted us to have a screaming match. I wanted us to go shopping together. I was aching to be back at our beautiful home, with my Mum and my Dad. The three of us together.
It took a while to get it, but I was really pissed off with Mum, I hadn’t forgiven her for leaving. Until now. I know there are layers still, but I am not in a rush to peel them off just yet. It’s not because I’m afraid, but because I feel like I’ve dealt with the hardest part; my heart. Yes, it sounds sappy but it’s the truth. Now it is time to focus on other stuff. To truly start having respect for, and living life. I’m ready. Before I read Motherless Daughters, I thought I was damaged goods and my chances at true happiness had expired. This book reignited my purpose deep within and helped me to realign myself and at least try to become whole again.
I used to say my Mum’s passing was a sad event. Then I thought of it is an event that defines who I am. This answer is always changing and right now I’m not so sure. I know for me there’s no closure, for me it always changes shape. For me closure doesn’t come into the equation. She is still on my mind all the time. Some days for longer moments, some days for short moments.
I wanted to share my story with you, because I needed to reconnect with you now. If you haven’t read Motherless Daughters yet, please read it! I recommend it because it gave me direction and the courage to face my demons. I can’t stress how important this is for your well-being.
I would love to connect with all you girls and women out there who have lost their Mum, anywhere and everywhere. I think about it all the time, I think about sharing our experiences and how awesome it would be to communicate and interact with you because you understand. We share an experience that only we, as Motherless Daughters, can comprehend.