Peace be with me

It is about this time every year when things start to feel different. No matter how hard I try to pretend that it’s just another day, it never is.

For most people September signals springtime and warmer weather to enjoy happy times. For me September is  laced with sorrow, a reminder that another year without my lovely mother has gone by.

I’ve stumbled through the predictable stages of grief during the past seven years. My heart remains laden with sadness and regret.  This tells me I’m yet to reach the acceptance stage.

What I miss the most is chatting with my mum. We talked about everything and would solve the problems of the world together. I always felt better after talking things over with mum.  She made everything seem clearer and helped me find solutions to my dilemmas.

As I can’t talk to her now I’ve decided to write mum a letter in the hope it helps me to admit my fears,  release my regrets and find peace in my life.

23 September 2013

My darling Mum

No one could have ever told me how much pain I would feel at losing you from my life.

It was so sudden. We spent the day together enjoying life.  That night you were lying in a hospital bed frail and broken, looking nothing like my beautiful mum.

Your accident  devastated Dad.  He rapidly diminished with fear of losing his soul mate. When prompted for a decision about maintaining life support Dad respected your instruction and sadly agreed to have it switched off.

I wanted to scream NNNOOOOOOOOO but remained silent.  I wish I’d been brave enough to say I wasn’t ready to let you go . It would have prolonged the inevitable but selfishly I needed more time. For this I am sorry.

After the medical staff  disconnected the machines I wanted to stay by your side until the end, but after a while Dad wanted you left alone.  I respected his decision and this is my biggest regret. Mum I walked away and left you alone to die.  I abandoned you. For this I am sorry.

My memory of your funeral is a blur of tears and pain. The image of your coffin occupies my mind and terrifies me in the darkest hours of the night when I lie awake.

 After you died I regularly visited your grave hoping to feel your presence. I never have.  I always feel cold emptiness invade my body. I don’t go there much anymore. For this I am sorry.

My long-term memories of you are joyful. Thank you for giving me life and always making me feel the most special person in the world.

You were the glue that held our family together and since you’ve gone our sibling relationships have disintegrated. For this I am sorry.

Lots of lovely things have happened in our lives since you’ve gone,  I wish you could have shared them with us. Even though I can’t feel your presence  I like to think you’ve been there in spirit.

The truth is I feel like you have abandoned me. I believe your spirit exists but I can’t feel it and not knowing why is the worst feeling. 

Please come to me in a dream, land on me as a butterfly or blow in my ear. I need to know you forgive me and still love me so that I can find peace and let you go.

Mum, I’m  scared that as more years pass I won’t remember when you were alive.

Your loving daughter
Jennie

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45 thoughts on “Peace be with me

  1. Hugs… Jenna.
    Your loss reminds me that my mom is slowly and now quietly coming to the end of time.
    She has a rare cognitive disorder that took from her any ability to communicate.
    It shuts down neural pathways in her brain. It left her unable to find words sometime and then all the time.
    She took it well; still is.
    Dad past three years ago.
    He had vascular disorder and it was different but similar.
    He was able to speak but lost in his thoughts.
    I cannot and could not do much but love them.
    These times have been trying and yet good as well.
    Blessings…
    ~ Eric

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  2. Jenna, I can feel your pain in this post, and in can relate to it only too well. My son’s funeral was 6 years ago yesterday, at 20. I sometimes plead with him, out loud, to just give me some small sign that he’s near. But I just hear silence. Strange things happen now and then, but I can’t be sure that they are not simply random, meaningless coincidences.

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  3. Hi Jenna. On the 30th of August it was twenty years since I saw my mother for the last time (I wrote a blog post about her on the day) and as I read through your letter to your mother it reminded me of the things that I wished I had done differently, as I watched my mother drifting away. I believe that some people choose to go when they are alone. My father and eldest sister had been keeping a bedside vigil for a couple of weeks, yet the morning she left us they weren’t there. I had been to visit her that morning and as I said goodbye to her I noticed a pulse beating in her neck. When the nurse saw me leaving the room she went in to check on her; she was gone.
    Your mother knows your anguish over losing her and she is trying to comfort you. My advise to you is to stop beating yourself up for what could have been (I too did this) and relax. It is when you accept what has been, and what is now, that your mother will be able to let you know of her presence. She cannot come through your wall of tension. I’m giving you this advise because it happened to me. Once I relaxed, my mother’s words were able to fill my mind, at the most unexpected moments, and she has helped me with so many thing since I let her into my soul. Sending you a huge hug today Jenna. All is well.

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    1. My apologies for the late reply Joanne. I thought I had answered but obviously it didn’t appear. I want to tell you how grateful I am that you took the time to share your sad story and help me with my grief. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you care about me. Love to you from Jenna

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  4. Thich Nhat Hanh, buddhist zen master, reminds us that we carry our mothers in every cell of our body. We were created from her and her presence is within us. My Mom passed away 6 years ago and even though there were times when I couldn’t feel her presence, over time I came to recognize her in my thoughts and in the wind, as one other blogger so eloquently put it. Peace be with you.

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  5. Whilst I still have my mother Jenna, I have lost brothers, my grandmother and other loved ones. They never really leave you as it only takes a thought to bring them back. Sometimes tears come with the thoughts but tears can be cleansing. Like you, I wrote a long letter to one of my brothers after his death (he would have had his birthday on the 23rd September). It helped me as I hope that the letter you wrote helped you. Continue looking for the beauty in each day. – Sue

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    1. Thank you Sue. I am sorry that 23rd September is a very sad day for you too. I think writing a letter is cleansing and helps me to say things that have been bottling up inside. I will definitely keep looking for the beauty in each day. Love jenna

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  6. This really struck home for me, we buried our mother yesterday. No matter how much we want to be with them in their final moments the reality is we can’t do it 24 hours a day not knowing when that time will come. My mother passed away 2 hours after I left to have a nap after 20 hours…. One should never feel guilt for this, sadness but not guilt. I wouldn’t want my children to live with regret, I don’t expect our mothers would either.
    The fact they were so loved means we were fortunate to have that woman (man) as our parent, we should hold on to that.
    x

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  7. Hi Jenna,
    I understand exactly where you re coming from. My mother passed away in 2008 and it is still the singular most awful time of my life. So many things I wish I could have done differently and now it’s too late. My brothers no longer speak to me… a long story and painful, but they all are.
    I long for something to let me know she is near, believing with all my heart I still yearn for that sign. I keep being told, “Time heals all wounds” – the biggest misdirection I’ve heard so far… maybe in time,,, maybe I don’t know.
    My thoughts are with you, and my prayers.
    Susan x

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    1. Hi Susan, Thank you for sharing your story with me, it comforts me to know that I am not alone in wanting to know my mother is still with me. I’m so glad I started blogging as it has led me to find someone else who can relate to and understand my thoughts and fears. Love Jenna

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  8. I’m so sorry for your loss Jenna. I hear your pain, guilt and agony. My mother went through similar feelings when her mother died…she was eaten up by guilt for years. Like another blogger said, I could tell you you don’t need to feel this or that, but at the end of the day, life is tough and loss is agonising. I do believe that we do the best we can and sometimes we have to be content that what we did was enough in order to let it go. Thinking of you.

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  9. Christina Rossetti wrote a beautiful verse which may soothe your heart a bit:
    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more, day by day,
    You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
    Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray.
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
    And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
    For if the darkness and corruption leave
    A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
    Than that you should remember and be sad.

    It seems to me that those who have left us, especially a beloved mother, would want you to smile and be glad of all you shared. Allow yourself to grieve in the ways that suit you best, there is no true road-map for grief. Dare I say that your mother looks not for apologies but rather for continued love and remembrance.

    (with thanks to Kathy at Pocket Perspectives who suggested I stop by)

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  10. I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. I had my mother come to me in a vision telling me she was happy. I was sobbing, asking her are you really happy? And she chided me, saying yes and then the vision disappeared. You can get a sign from her if you keep asking for a specific sign.

    Please do not beat yourself up because you were not there when she passed away, and forget to give yourself credit for the many loving moments you two shared during the course of your life. Perhaps by your not being there it was easier for your mom to let go of her body and not prolong her suffering.

    Again, my deepest condolences. ‎

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comments Marie, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. I am very happy that your mother came to you in a vision to let you know that she is happy. As you suggested I will keep asking for a similar sign from my mother. Love Jenna

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  11. *hugs*..that was a beautiful letter because it was honest. It’s so easy to say that when our loved ones have passed on that there is nothing to be sad about because their souls are free as they continue their journey but the thing is we forget that as humans with emotions, it isn’t so easy to feel that.It’s easy to say to “just know” that all your mother’s soul will feel is love towards you, but it’s easy to forget that as humans sometimes (most times) we just need a sign to comfort us that it is true.

    So for that, I sincerely hope that the soul who was your dear mother will come to you and touch your heart so that you too will “just know” 🙂

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  12. Jenna, speaking as a mother, there is nothing I want more deeply or profoundly than for my own daughter to be happy and contented. I’m sure your own mother felt the same way toward you. If I had died, (or when I do) I would want my daughter to feel no remorse for how anything happened in that process, there would be no blame or negative feelings about any choices that were made…truly, I would only want for her to sense whatever love she could sense or remember and to move along in her own life with acceptance, kindness toward herself and knowing she was, and continues to be, loved deeply and profoundly… Let’s all wish that she’ll come to you in a way that whispers her love to you.
    I just read yesterday that Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be” after a dream that he had about his own mother, who had died when he was 14 years old. He had grieved deeply for many years and felt badly about not being able to remember how she looked… what I read said that she had come to him in a dream and told him to “let it be”… that she was with him and it was okay. http://mattandjojang.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/the-story-behind-paul-mccartneys-song-let-it-be/
    Jenna, I wish you love, comfort and peace… kathy

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    1. Kathy, thank you for your thoughtful comments which are very much appreciated. I read the article you suggested about the origin of “Let it be”. What a beautiful story, I know and love the song but had never before thought about the meaning of the lyrics. Reading the article gave me much comfort. I too hope for such a visit in my dream from my mother. Love Jenna

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  13. Dearest Jenna Dee: How I wish I could be there for you…as someone who still misses her mother after more than 25 years, as a blogging friend, and as a psychotherapist. Writing is such good therapy – continue to do it to express your feelings. No one can judge feelings – they are honest, and they are yours. In my hospice work, I have seen more often than not, so many, many parents wait until their child goes home to take a shower, or to the coffee shop to take a much needed break, before they commence their final dying process. Truly – they don’t want their death to be your last remembrance of them. They want you to remember their life, rather than their death. If you think about it, you may someday want the same for your children. When you can’t sleep and the coffin image comes, replace it with an image of your Mom that you remember fondly, whether with you, or at a family gathering, whenever. And as for not feeling her at the cemetery – she’s not there. She’s in your heart, always. She forgave you even before you thought of it, and she’ll love you forever. Continuing bonds can never be broken. If you hadn’t cared so much, you wouldn’t miss her so much; your grief shows your heart. There may not be the “closure” that everyone talks about, but you will survive this, Jenna Dee. Keep writing, and no more apologies – they aren’t needed. You loved each other, and continue to do do…and that’s enough. My blessings to you…

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments Theresa. Your words have brought me great comfort. I will continue to write about my feelings because it helps me to say things I would not normally say aloud. Love Jenna

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  14. We each process grief differently. However, one often wonders what purpose does it serve to beat oneself up indefinitely over what has passed and nothing can be done about. You have wonderful memories on which to dwell and move forward. Or you can choose to lament what could have been. You are depriving yourself of energy and focus that will serve you well, if you choose to live your live fully – now. I feel for you, Jenna. I also wish you the option of living, joyously, at choice. May peace be yours.

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    1. Thank you for your comments Eric. I agree it is unproductive to beat oneself up for past mistakes but I disagree that people would consciously choose to lament these events. I certainly don’t choose to lament what could have been, it is something that I can’t seem to remove from my consciousness no matter how hard I try. Love Jenna

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      1. Thank you, Jenna, for clarifying how you – as an individual, uniquely deal with your situation. I inadvertently overlaid my own process and feelings on yours. I just lost my Dad this February. I know I’ll be thinking of him onward.

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  15. Oh Jenna, Honey, YOU DID NOTHING WRONG and as sure as i am sitting here, I KNOW, I KNOW for sure that your mom knows that too. You never abandoned your mother, but You feel abandoned because of your loss. Trust me when my dad died 12 years ago, I thought my heart had broken in a million places. Does time heal things? Not really, but it gets better. The emotional sting gets weaker, you move on. You will not get signs from your mom, I tell you this from my heart ( I write all about the signs I get from my dad) until you forgive yourself. Jenna, you didn’t have a choice. Your father wanted it that way and so it was. We are not perfect people, I didn’t talk to my father for a long time but I still loved him and he loved me. These are separate issues. Please hang on Jenna, know I am here for you as your friend. I’m not guilting you but is there any way for the family to reconcile, for your mom’s sake as a start? Our mother HATES when my sister and I fight, hates it. Don’t wait for signs, let your heart be open, do something new. Try writing more, you are a good writer, or just doodling with art….anything. Grief takes a long time, a very long time but as I say in one of my posts: LOVE DOES NOT DIE. How can it? The person may be gone but the love isn’t. Stop blaming yourself and think about the happy times you had together with her. Promise to try accepting yourself the way you are. Nobody is perfect, we are imperfect people. Do yourself a favor and whatever wrongs you did in the past, is in the past. If you do better now, celebrate that and stop beating yourself up. Your friend.

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  16. I’m sorry for all of the hurt Jenna. I could tell you a bunch of this and that… all meant to make you feel better, find peace, acceptance, whatever you wish to call it but that would all be pointless. There are days that life simply “sucks” and there is no way around it. There are days that I too still very much miss my mom….you know that as I think you’ve read those posts…its been 27 years—maybe the one thing I have let go of, or was freed from—has been the anger….and that, my friend has been a start.
    There will always be that place of emptiness in my heart—how I wish she could see that I grew up “ok”—turned out maybe better than she had hoped…..keep writing and having those conversations —–
    hugs Jenna–Julie

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