Dealing With My Mother's Death
(Milan, IN, US)
My Mom and Me at my College Graduation
At around 9:00AM on a Tuesday morning, my mother came to my house to pick up my daughter to spend the night with her. Everything seemed normal. She got my daughter's car seat and put it in the car, came back into the house, told me she loved me, I gave my daughter a kiss and told both of them that I loved them. I saw them walk out the door and didn't think any thoughts that there could possibly be something wrong. I laid down to take a nap for about an hour and a half.
Then I woke up to take a bath. As I stepped into the bathroom, I heard a car running outside. Curious, I moved the curtain to see who it was. I saw my mother in the driver's seat of her van in a very odd position with her mouth wide open. So many thoughts ran through my head. Did she leave and come back? Did she faint? What is going on? Something is not right! I ran out to the van to find my daughter in the backseat strapped in her car seat. When I opened the sliding door, I saw my daughter covered in sweat screaming hysterically, "Mamaw's Dead!" That's when I knew they had never left at all.
My daughter told me that she "puked, fell over, and wouldn't drive." My heart sank! I ran into the house and called 911. I checked for a pulse, but could not find one. I'm trained in CPR, but I knew there was no possible way that I could even revive her if she hasn't had a pulse for an hour and a half.
When the ambulance got there, I asked the EMT again if they could hear a pulse. When he shook his head no, I dropped to my knees and cried uncontrollably. I knew though, that I had to wipe those tears away and go back inside because I had a very scared little girl that I was worried about as well.
I had the EMT check her out to make sure that she was O.K. because the car was running the whole time (thankfully she didn't get carbon monoxide poisoning or anything like that). She was O.K. though. I asked the coroner what had happened, and he told me she had a massive heart attack.
It has been about 9 months since that day, and still to this day I can remember every single detail just like it happened yesterday.
It makes me crumble inside, and when I think that my daughter saw everything, it crushes me! We have learned to cope with it little by little though. My daughter thinks Mamaw is just sick now and is in heaven. She asks about her all the time and asks if she's better yet. She no longer cries when she talks about her though. As for me, I go about every 2-3 days without crying. I no longer cry as much when I do though. I'm learning to pick up the pieces the best I can.
I still think about her. I still cry for her. I still miss her with every ounce in me. The only thing that comforts me is that I will see her again one day.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Thank you for your moving and powerful contribution, Kelly. You are handling this situation as well as anyone could be expected to. The grieving process you describe sounds normal. It is important that you make peace with yourself about what happened. You didn't do anything wrong. It is so hard when tragedy strikes so close to home, especially in your case, to your mother and in a different way to your daughter. You are doing fine, continue to cry as you need to and look forward to smiling and laughing with your mother when you're together again.
My best to you,
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