"I promised I would never leave you..."

On August 8, 1994, I turned 13.  I shared that birthday with my then-best friend of 2 years C (whose birthday was August 5).  I asked my mom...

On August 8, 1994, I turned 13.  I shared that birthday with my then-best friend of 2 years C (whose birthday was August 5).  I asked my mom to put both of our names on the cake, and my mom got two nearly-identical amethyst geodes with silver horse figurines on top of them for each of us.

Less than a month later (around Sept. 5), mom would get sick in the middle of the night (vomiting, headache, disorentation).  A little over a week later we took her to the hospital where the doctors figured out that her "sinus infection"/"severe sinus infection" was really a cerebral aneurysm only after she had a seizure and went into a coma. 22 days after that, she would be declared brain dead. 

It's hard for one 13-year-old to comfort and understand another 13-year-old that just lost her parent.  I get that.  But it's not the time to tell the person that just lost her mother that you were no longer interested in being friends (I remember her exact words, but I don't want to repeat them here).  Maybe my mom dying cut too close (C's mom died when C was 3 months old).  Maybe she couldn't deal with it.  (It was around this time that I met Nancy--and I've been friends with her ever since).  

For a long time, I walked on eggshells around people/acquaintances/friends fearing that I would alienate them -- I didn't understand that true friends and family should be able to lean on each other when needed. It took many years to learn that there's an element of grace in both asking for help and giving help.  The bottom line is that I had a fear of abandonment:  if I told someone I needed or wanted them in my life, would they consider that too much of a burden? Would they consider me too needy?

(...Food will never leave me or consider me a burden.  Food will never consider me too needy.  Food is happy to comfort me when I'm home alone after school and miss my mom.  Food will help me miss her less...) 

I find that even as a 31 y/o, it's a delicate balance.  With friends, I often try not to ask too much of them.  If I'm dating someone, I need small reassurances that they're still there (a text saying "Hi, thinking about you" goes a very long way). I can have all the confidence in the world, but this is something that still shakes me.  I'm like a rock climber that is constantly checking to see that the rope is there. It doesn't need to catch me if I fall, I just need to know that it is there.

Also in the category of "things that unnerve me" -- I'm 31 now.  My mom had me when she was 31 and died when she was 44.  I have spent a great deal of this past year thinking along the lines of "if I were to have a kid right now, how long would I be around for him/her?"  It breaks my effing heart to think about things like that.  It's hard to live joyfully if you think you're racing against a clock.

I'm going to leave you with a story and a song.  After my mom's funeral (it was on a Saturday), I came back to school the next week.  Auditions for Select Choir had already taken place (while my mom was sick, but I was spending so much time at the hospital or at my grandparent's house...), but the teacher let me in without one (I'm kind of awesome).  The first song that they had rehearsed in my absence was Billy Joel's Lullabye.  Every single word of that song rang true.  Before it was even over, I ran out of the room crying...sometimes I still do.  



Goodnight my angel, time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
Then you should always know
Wherever you may go, no matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight my angel, now it's time to sleep

And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel, now it's time to dream

And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That's how you and I will be

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6 comments

  1. <3
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  2. Thank you for sharing that part of your story. I can't imagine what it must have been like as a 13 yr old to lose your mom. I am sorry you did. I can completely relate to the fact that food never leaves you. I have loved reading your blog. If you ever have a couple extra minutes, I would love to have you check out mine. I started it for accountability on my path to better health.

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  3. Every once in a while, I am reminded of how similar some of our stories are. My mother also passed away from a Brain Aneurysm. I was lucky enough to have her until I was 30. I can't hear that song without having a moment either.

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<3 Robby