***entered in scribbit's write away contest!
This picture was taken about 3 1/2 years ago. It is my mother holding my second child when he was just a few months old. It is the most recent picture I have of her and, sadly, the last time she was ever in my home.
My mother passed away 2 years ago today. She was found by my 14 year old brother on the floor of her bedroom... with no clothes on, and in the middle of prescription medication and sleeping pills. It had been a few months since my parents' divorce. My father had been newly engaged to another woman for just 4 days. 1 week previous she'd sent all her children an incoherent "last letter" of sorts, which was our only real clue to the awful state she was in.
I still remember the phone call. "Leilani, this is Dad. Where are you? Sit down... I have some very sad news." And I knew. I knew what he was going to say before he said it. Because my mother had been in fast, downward, uncontrollable spiral since I'd last seen her 8 months previous. Still, I cried "What? What?!"
She died a lone woman. Her unknown disease had created a rift between she and every relative in her life by her last day. Our only guess at her ultimate demise is depression and a personality disorder brought on by an abusive childhood. She never got therapy or treatment for these, it is only the opinion of my own therapist. Her cause of death was determined to be an "accidental suicide". Her liver failed due to an excessive intake of prescription drug medication that was prescribed to her for migraines. She'd been refilling her prescription at several different pharmacies, and had been seeing several different doctors for the same diagnosis.
There are oftimes in life when we seek answers to questions, but do not get them right away, or in the way which we expect. For me, these questions were, "Why was I born into this family?" "Why is my mother never happy?" "Why if she loves me does she hurt me?" "Why if Heavenly Father loves me, does he not rescue me?" "Will I survive?" "Will we survive?" "Will I heal?" "Will I ever be able to forgive my mother and move on?" I did not receive an ounce of clairty as to why my mother was the way she was my entire life... only brief moments of peace and reprieve from the darkness that hung over our home. I knew my mother's childhood had been bad, but she never shared the details. I was angry because I didn't once feel like she was held responsible for the abuse she inflicted on others. I prayed and fasted and studied my scriptures and prayed some more. As an adult, I finally realized I just wasn't going to get an answer, and that my only method for survival would be to sever ties with her. And then she died her slow death, unwinding into a helpless child until she just gave up. And I still didn't get my answer, but I got closure and peace, which is just as good. Though she was not in the right state of mind when she passed away, nor had been for quite some time, her life was complete and there was some eternal purpose in the timing and circumstance of her death.
After planning her funeral, after picking out the best coffin (a purple one:)), after choosing a headstone, after writing her eulogy and lovingly dressing her in white for her burial, I knew that she was in good hands... that she was finally in a non-threatening environment where she could trust and heal properly. Would Heavenly Father have preferred that she'd been able to do that on her own on this earth life? Maybe. But I sincerely feel that her death was an act of mercy, that she had come as far as she could on is earth with what she'd been given, that along the way able people had failed her and therefore Him, and he couldn't let it go on.
I loved my mother dearly. Despite her total lack of understanding for the purpose of motherood, she served it and I loved her. I loved her and felt badly for her. She tried so deperately to give me the opportunities to pursue my dreams and have an enriching life. She wanted the opposite for me that she'd had. For her intentions, I am grateful. She sacrificed a lot for me. Although her expectations were unrealistic much of the time, and we her children sometimes paid dearly for it, I know that I would not be half the person I am today without the experiences she provided me with. And I very much like who I am and the things that I am able to do. I believe that despite her mistakes, she accomplished the most amazing feats of motherhood ... All her children are strong in their convictions. They are disciplined and accomplished and stable. She is remembered with only the best memories by all who knew her. There was a tremendous outpouring of love at her funeral service by over 150 guests. It was the most moving gathering I had ever experienced and was testimony to me that I should find the good part in my life with her and not look back.
I know with a burning that I will see her again, and that I will be in awe of her. All the best things about her will be magnified and she will have shed her insecurities and been healed of the wounds from her childhood. I don't know how I know that, I just do. It's an overwhelming feeling! I have forgiven her. While I have a hard time putting it into words, I now at least understand why things happened the way they did growing up in my house and no longer question it. All those awful years in that stifled home - the screaming, the fits of rage, the beatings, the humiliation and degradation, and the confusion were the mysterious ways in which our Heavenly Father works on us... With a combination of testing us and weakening us and making us strong again and again, we are made unmovable.