27 April 2006

March 3, 1954 - April 28, 2004

***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.

31 comments:

smartmama said...

lei- what a really touching piece- you have made taken a tragic and difficult thing and accepting it in all all its ugliness and creating something of strength, of conviction, of peace and of hope

Rachelle said...

Lei, what a beautiful, touching post. You are an amazing woman in spite of the bad things in your childhood. I am amazed at your strength. Hugs to you on this difficult day of remembering.

Allie said...

I am in tears. You wrote so beautifully and I am so moved. Yes, the heavenly father always has a plan and may he continue to comfort you.

Valarie said...

Lei, that is so powerful. I'm thinking of you today.

Kristen said...

Wow. What an amazing post and what a strong person you are.

I'm glad you are able to remember your mother for the positive she did for you and not dwell on the negative. And you are obviously a wonderful person as a result!

I'm glad I have had the opportunity to "meet" you. Hugs.

itybtyfrog said...

Thank you for the touching post. You are so strong! What a great achievement to receive peace from your difficult past. Some people struggle all their lives for that same peace. I hope your day is filled with happy memories of your mother.

Char said...

(((HUGS))) Lei! I often think that's why my dad was taken suddenly too....He'd come as far as he could on this Earth. I always appreciate your point of view!

Rachau said...

Lei i love how your mother has touched your life.And you have touched ours.(((Hugs)))

HolyMama! said...

you've written so beautifully. i'm amazed by your grace.

i can't help but wonder how your brother is. what an awful discovery for anyone - but for such a young kid...

Stephanie said...

I am amazed at how you have taken such a tragic experience and series of traumatic events and turned them into something sacred and positive. You are such a wonderful example of grace and dignity to all of us.

Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal experience. I am lucky to have met you too. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pattie said...

That is such a tragic story. I am sorry for your loss.

Nettie said...

You are an amazing woman, Lei. Although a significant portion of your life, your difficult childhood is over, but the character it created in you will be with you eternally: your faith, empathy, compassion, strength and courage. I feel honored to be one of those you have shared this with. Thank you, and may Heavenly Father continue to bless you and your family.

QueenMeadow said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was very beautifully written. You have an amazing outlook on life, I happy that I can learn so much by reading your blog.

lackrik said...

What a great perspective you have Lei. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in your mother's memory.

Tigersue said...

What a beautiful, touching tale of a daughters love for a mother, come what may. Thank you for sharing such feelings and knowledge.

JD said...

Wow --- what a heart breaking happy post.

sheri said...

((hugs)) I wish I could give you a big 'real life' hug right now. You amaze me. TRULY amaze me. I'm so glad to have "met" you and cherish our friendship. What a touching post. Thank you so much for sharing.

kfk said...

I don't even know what to say. That was powerful and sad and heart-wrenching, yet you are so brave and strong in the face of it. I'm glad you can find peace and closure and move beyond it.

Jane said...

I am so glad I stopped by your blog tonight. I was so moved by the things you wrote. I look up to you so much, you are so amazing! I know that as you were taken into the refiners fire,time and time again. You came out of it as pure as gold. The experiences that you endured have shaped you into a beautiful woman.

((hugs))

txmommy said...

that was really beautiful. I guess we all struggle as mothers, and as daughters. It was so lovely to read of your love for your mother and your forgiveness for her.
Peace and love are my wishes for you.
Thanks for sharing.

Carrie said...

Lei, this is why I blog - because I don't feel alone with my struggles and issues. This was a very touching post and I appreciate your honesty. It is a hard thing to write or even talk about. My mother suffers with bipolor disorder and the struggles that I have faced with her and faced as a child are so hard to put into words and to share with others. This was very courageous of you. My prayers are with you.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Praise God for giving you the strength to forgive your mom and even to celebrate her life! You must carry the best of her in you.

Gabriela said...

Lei, your post made me cry. I loved the part where you spoke of how you and your siblings have turned out and that that is a complement to your mom. That is such a good attitude to have. I really admire you for sharing this; I will think of it when I deal with similar situations in my family.

Maine Mom said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with us. I'm happy to hear that you have more of an undertanding now and more peace. I know you will see your mother again and right now she is learning and growing and becoming a happier person. I love the knowledge we have of our spirits continuing to live as our bodies await the return of our spirits to them.

Sunny said...

Lei - you are such an amazing woman, so strong and beautful. Thank you for sharing this entry with us, it touched us all.

The Constant Gardener said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with this. What a heartbreaking story, but you've made it into a story of love, hope, and perseverence.

Sabra said...

Lei-what a tribute you, your life, your family, and your testimony are to your mother. Beautiful. Thank you.

Zoe said...

Wow Leilani, I am impressed at your ability to put such emotions into words. You have come so far too. I am proud of you for healing so well and not passing those feelings on to your children. You have been through alot. You deserve to feel at peace. I love you!

emlouisa said...

I know I am late on this and I'm sorry...I've been a blog slacker lately.

Wonderful post. You are truly amazing and I can only hope to someday have the clarity that you do. I pray for it.

Morning Glory said...

This is so touching. I'm very happy you have found peace for yourself in the middle of such sadness.

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