Home > Family > I come from a woman who fought.

I come from a woman who fought.

Today is my mom’s birthday. Last year on this day, I was on an Amtrak train to visit a friend in Washington, DC, and I wrote a post about my mom’s suicide.  This year, I spent most of December feeling anxious on how I would feel this year on her birthday and how those feelings would manifest. December kind of sucks anyway. December 19th marks the anniversary of oh my brother’s death. In the 14 years since he died, I’ve acknowledged December 19th to varying degrees, which frequently included forcefully ignoring its significance. This December felt particularly difficult, since both staff and clients at my job lost family and friends almost weekly. Some clients were coping with anniversaries of lost loved ones of their own. But I kept my anniversary quiet at work. When I realized how closely January 6th followed December 19th, I started to worry that January 1st wouldn’t feel hopeful at all, and would simply drag all those complicated, anxious feelings that December harbors into the next year.

For most of today, January 6th felt pleasantly unremarkable. Then about 30 minutes ago, I realized how unremarkable today felt and subsequently busted out crying.  My mom died in 2006 and now in 2013, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do today. I don’t know how to acknowledge her. Of course, I recognize their is no formula for grief and loss. It’s not a linear process. There is no time line. In a lot of ways, there is no end in coping with my mom’s death.

As I try to sort through my mom’s death, I think there’s such a balance of letting go and holding on, of allowing myself to actually feel horribly upset, but to not get lost in it.   I have to let myself feel profoundly sad , but I can’t let that sadness paralyze me. At the same time, I don’t want to kid myself and keep pushing through each year as though I’m some supremely optimistic, indestructible individual who has never felt overwhelmed and helpless when I think about the fact that mom committed suicide. I have to constantly remind myself that sadness does not equate weakness.

My mom was a profoundly sad person, but I would never call her weak. I know that some people would consider my mother’s suicide weakness, but those people didn’t see her fight. My mom was such a complicated person, and I think that’s why figuring out how to deal with her death feels complicated.  But I come from a family of scappers. So now, I keep thinking about all the times my mom tried to do something different with her life, concentrating all she had to try to make herself better. I’m proud of her for that.  I’m proud to know that I come from a woman who fought.



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  1. January 6, 2013 at 18:48

    Oh Lori. You are doing really well. This is one of the hardest things in the world. I feel as if I have some emotional smarts and I am completely out of my league in dealing with my cousin’s suicide….COMPLETELY. She was my best friend for the longest time and then she became my most difficult relationship and still, I loved her SO MUCH. Happy birthday Phyllis. I pray for you each and every day twice a day. I reach out to you in my heart and I continue to struggle. You have a gorgeous daughter and I am grateful to have her in my life and on a shared journey with me. Let’s see how we feel in years to come. I love you very much Lori.

    • January 7, 2013 at 09:43

      Claire, you know I love you. And I’m glad we’re in this together. You make a great travel buddy. I miss you.

      • January 11, 2013 at 06:34

        why I did not see this til now, i don;t know. Gotta get with you on wordpress

  2. January 7, 2013 at 17:29

    Writing about your mother is certainly honoring her. Especially when it is in this way, respecting and honoring her strength and who she is from all angles. Looks like acknowledgement to me. Perhaps writing each year as you’ve been doing is your way? Love you lots, Lori. You are an inspiration. Thinking about you these months.

    • January 9, 2013 at 21:21

      Thanks, Ronak. You’re always so thoughtful, and one of the calm, quiet, strong friends who I am so lucky to have. x0x0xx0x0!

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