i wonder

I take my daughters to a group called Stepping Stones. It’s a bereavement support group geared toward children from as young as 3 or 4 to older teens. We began going there a year and a half ago when their step-mother committed suicide.

To say my daughters were traumatized by this woman’s suicide would be putting it mildly. They have spent the majority of their lives afraid their father would kill himself so this really touched close to home. I don’t remember exactly how I found this group however, I am so glad I did. I would have never guessed how important it would become in our lives.

We’d actually begun talking about ‘closing’ (or not going anymore) when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and died within 8 days. We kept going. When my mom died almost 3 weeks ago, she went so fast when the end finally came and the girls are struggling with that too.

Last week at our group meeting, the counselor asked me if I’d had any after death experiences with my mom. Some others in the group were talking about them…I said “No. I can’t imagine my mother will ever get close to me again.” Of course, given the conversation and my inability to think about much of anything for any length of time that doesn’t end with “I want my mommy”, I’ve been wondering about this.

What happens when we die? Where is my mother? Why do some people have experiences with their loved ones after they die and some people do not? How did I know I needed to go see my mother the night before she died? Why didn’t anyone else know that?

One of my daughters believes in re-incarnation. Another of them believes that when someone dies a new baby is born who is like them but not like them. I guess that’s another re-incarnation view. I have no freaking clue what I believe to be honest. It’s a good thing my daughters are intelligent enough to think for themselves that’s for sure.

I have an aunt who has always told me that when we die, we’re dead. There’s nothing else after that. We’re just gone…completely and totally. The other day she was talking to another aunt of mine and something happened while they were chatting and the aunt who believes we are just gone said “Wow, she must be here right now because I haven’t done that in over 10 years.”

I haven’t talked with her since then because I’m afraid to ask the questions that are flowing through me. This aunt is high strung and bitchy on her best days and the last two and a half years haven’t held very many good days for her. I wonder if she believes my mom was there with her at that moment.

I wish I could feel my mom. I wish that in death she could be the kind of mom I dreamed of while she was alive. I choose to believe that my mom did the best she could while raising me however I don’t think I will ever believe her best was good enough. Her best did not keep me safe and that was her job in my opinion.

That said, I miss my mom. I always hoped our relationship would be different when I was an adult. Not only is she gone now…with her death, all hope of having the kind of relationship I dreamed of is gone too. I wonder where she is. I wonder why I don’t feel her. I wonder…lots of things.



12 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Traci! Just stopped to check in before tumbling into bed, and as usual, your thought-provoking post has my mind racing now…! I love that about you! I struggle with the questions, but for entirely different reasons. My dad died in ’04, and my mom didn’t. What troubles me is that in many ways I wish it were the other way around. Still. I was safe as a child, but never had a mom — at least, not as I now understand the term. Gah. What to do with all that emotion?? Hugs to you, dearie. We’ll have to connect on email and see just how far apart geographically we are. Maybe we could meet for coffee? sbhhe@juno.com


  2. “Feeling” the ‘other side’ is not impossible. You have to work at it and believe, but it is there. My whole family can “feel” it at various times. When I want to, I clear my mind and open myself up to it. I think most people can’t or don’t do it because it can scare the heck out of you. I believe in Heaven. I look toward the reunion therein. Hugs to you. Thank you for this thought provoking post. Renee


  3. My own belief is that they’re right here with us, in our hearts and minds, but also just in a different realm. I think they can see us and all that goes on. (I have a total belief in heaven, by the way.) I think we have to listen with our hearts and souls. We may not “hear” them per se, but there’s a sense of them. When you see something and think of your mom, she’s there with you. When a phrase of hers comes out of your mouth, she’s there with you. I can’t physically feel either of my parents here here with me, but so often I get the sense (not the sensation, but just an intuition) of being hugged or a hand on my shoulder or my cheek. I still grieve, I cry while typing this.

    I guess I just want to say don’t worry if you don’t feel her there with you right now. Maybe she’s busy taking care of other things on the other side? Be patient, I’m sure she’s still watching over you, though.


  4. Hard for me. My parents have been
    dead for years, many years.

    But Sarah I know she lives in
    my heart. I think she really does
    guide me someday’s. I am still
    really PISSED she didn’t make the
    cut. But that’s another story.

    I am not the most religious person.
    Hence I can’t help you in that arena.

    But know in your heart, that we all
    love you. I hope you can feel our



  5. I’ve never experienced the loss of someone close to me so I have no answers for you. I can only say that I too am sorry your mother and you never were able to bond as adults in the way you had hoped you would.




  6. It takes time, and loss is never the same from one person to another. Wishing you gentleness as you move through this all.



  7. Just cruising in to say another hello.

    I hope you can find some sort of peace, or resolution in your mind.

    Don’t make me add you to our worry
    list. 🙂 That list is really big!



  8. Traci,
    You’re a strong person. Loss is so personal, there is no “good” way to grieve. Time does help heal wounds.


  9. I think sometimes that people can really *want* to go and just take a break from earth when they die. I saw that with my grandfather.

    I also echo SassyFemme that your mother is with you whenever you think of her, or use an expression of hers, or smile “her” smile. Connection with your deceased relative does not have to, and usually does not, look like a Hollywood movie with amazing F/X.

    Enough advice–I really just want to give you a *hug*. And I’m glad you have this blog to process these thoughts, too.


  10. There’s so much I want to say to this. For now, know that I have no doubt that there is more. And I’m willing to believe for both of us if it will help right now.



  11. Dropping by to say Hi in return! Hope you’re finding peace as the days go by… Hugs to you!


  12. I know how you feel. I felt the same way for a long time after my mom commited suicide. You go from angry, to sorrowful in one swoop.

    It doesn’t ever go away, but it does get easier.


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