Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Orphaned

This week Write On Edge asked us to write a memoir piece beginning with the words, “I miss my childhood”.


I miss my childhood because I wasn’t an orphan back then. It still stings to hear others talking about family holidays with their parents. I guess that sounds selfish but while I am trying to make new traditions that feel awkward and forced, others are enjoying the same traditions they’ve always had.

My mom carried on with most of our basic traditions after my dad passed away even though it was difficult for all of us. She was the backbone, the one who held us together. We continued to have Christmas Eve together with my brother’s family, all of us at her home. Even with the empty chair at the table we continued on with celebrations.

 Momma died, still hate to use that word, six years ago on December 5th. Christmas was a bomb needless to say. No tree, no decorations and few gifts. We made it through but it was the worst Christmas I have ever experienced.

I became an orphan at 41. Sounds strange I suppose but that’s what I was. That’s what I am. That’s what I will always be. I’ve come to grips with it and in no way begrudge anyone else the blessing of parents. Sometimes I’m envious that I don’t have what others have. I get angry when women talk about their mothers using bitter, sarcastic even hateful words. My thought is, “You’ll regret saying that one day.”

I’ve fallen short with my own family while setting new traditions. In trying to plan new things it usually doesn’t pan out the way I want it to. Maybe my heart isn’t in it. I know what some of you are thinking, “Get it together woman. You’ve got a family of your own to think about.” Yes I know that. I’ve told myself that for years.

Depression is a hard thing to kick even when you know you have others counting on you. In fact knowing that makes it even more overwhelming. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries of deaths are all hard days and I still struggle. The anniversary of my dad’s death was yesterday. Someone asked me, “It was 12 years ago shouldn’t you be over it by now?” I replied, “Well since you haven’t lost your dad I guess you don’t know what it’s like but I still remember what happened to him on this day every year.”

I’m not writing this to get sympathy or pity but it’s therapeutic and healing to get out into words what I hold in my heart. Many thanks to Write On Edge for pushing me to write about the hard things, the buried things when I otherwise probably wouldn’t.



15 comments:

Tomekha said...

:( *hugs* Death is always always hard to deal with and get over - I still cannot fathom it, having someone here with you and having them just be a memory the next, I can't wrap my head around it. ...and depression, you just don't get over like that. I'm glad you could write to release some of the hurt. *hugs* again, my prayers are with you.

Julie Moore said...

Tomekha thanks so much. Hugs right back sounds like you need them too.

Amy LaBonte said...

People who haven't gone through it can never understand or feel the pain. When my father got sick, a friend was visiting. She was more concerned about her shopping bags than the news that my father had one month to live. I'll never forget that.

debbirobertson said...

One thing I miss about your new site, is the "like" button. :)

I appreciate you posting this as it helps us get to know you more. I'm sorry to say that your mom passed away on my bday. My heart is with you. And you are right, those of us that still have our parents...we need to be thankful always. I know I am! Love ya!

Jennifer Barricklow said...

My dad's been gone 24 years, and there are still moments that rise up and blindside me with grief so fresh it feels as though he only passed yesterday. My mother still speaks on occasion of the loss of her own mother 45 years ago. Be gentle with yourself; it DOES get better, but it takes time, more for some than for others. Same with depression. Been there, done that more times than I care to admit, and I know how easy it is to feel guilty, on top of it all. Be gentle with yourself. Healing happens, even when we don't feel it. Thank you for having the courage to write about your struggle and share it with us.

Julie Moore said...

Amy is still amzes me how insensitve people can be.So sorry that hapened to you.

Debbi thanks for your love.

Jennifer thank you so much for the huge encouragement and understanding.

May said...

I don't think the loss of a parent is something that one "gets over". My dad died when my youngest was 3 mo old. That young man will be 17 in a few weeks and I still miss my dad every day.
It does help to write down the feelings and experiences. Helps me to make some sense of them.
I imagine that Christmas is particularly hard with your mom dying so close to it. Is there another family member who could step up take a larger role in the planning and execution of the holiday? Maybe being a part of it rather than in charge would help ease you back into a happier celebration.

Julie Moore said...

Such a good idea May. I have a daughter but she really wants it to be me other than than her i have a sister-in-law. Maybe that's the answer. It all falls on me right now and it is very overwhelming. thanks for your kind words.

Lance said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

My mom was an only child. She lost her mom in November of 2005, and her dad in June 2006. So I lost my grandparents, obviously. My mom says the same thing, she became an orphan. It's heartbreaking. Thanks for showing me part of your heart.

Thanks for the blog comment. I'm glad you enjoy Helene. I needed the nice words tonight.

Cheryl said...

My father died four years ago. I wasn't aware there was a time limit on how long you miss a parent - to say you should be "over it" is, well, ignorant.

I'm sorry the holidays are so difficult for you..

Emily @ My Pajama Days said...

I can't imagine ever being "over it". Life is fuller and richer with the people we love in it, and when they are gone, it seems so much smaller. It is good to talk about all our feelings, not just the comfortable ones. The uncomfortable ones are the ones that show our true character too, don't you think? At least the way we handle them, that it, and you are handling them with grace. Hugs to you.

Galit Breen said...

You wrote with so much passion and hear here. I just want you to know that I read your words and heard you and that I'm so, so very sorry for your loss.

Julie Moore said...

Thank you Lance , Cherly and Emily for your understanding and sympathy. That's why I love this community.

Galit thank you for hearing me and seeing my heart. I truly believe you do.

Susan said...

I just read your comment to me on my blog and you thanked me for my sensitive comment on this post. Since I couldn't remember making one (which doesn't mean anything), I popped on over and took a look. I think you might have read Emily's and got me stuck in your head!

Anyway, I echo what Ems said. I still grieve for all the people in my life who have left me: my parents, my grandparents, my sister, to name a few. When each of my parents died, I used to take long hot showers because I could cry and cry and cry with no one bothering me, and it seemed the water would wash all that sorrow down the drain for a little while. I was a very clean person in those days! I repeated it when Karen died. Two things I've learned over the years: Loving that much hurts, and grief wears you out. I feel for you, Julie. I'm carrying you in my heart.

Julie Moore said...

Susan you're right and Em's comment was so comforting. I was thinking about your comment on my post about blogging. Sorry. However you are so very encouraging to me so many times.