“I hope you have a happy mothers day. You have been so strong for the kids, and I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate it and am thankful that my children have you as a mother.”
This was one of the last messages he sent me before he took his own life. Eight days later in fact.
Happy Mother’s Day.
This Mother’s Day was actually an amazing weekend spent with family and the kids. We played games, had a fun dinner, exchanged gifts, and spent time together. It was great, and still, there was something missing.
Actually, the last ten Mother’s Day’s since his mom died something has been missing. Every year I’d ask him what he wanted to do to remember her by. Only once did he request to visit her grave. He said he wanted to celebrate me with the kids and focus on what he did have to celebrate.
The first suicide attempt I was aware of occurred the day after Mother’s Day. This time of year was a trigger for him.
And now, this was the first Mother’s Day without him here. In a few days, it will be the one year anniversary of his death by Suicide.
Happy Mother’s Day…
Before bed last night, I scrolled through our texts the last few months of his life. Those texts are one of very few of the things I have left of him, and one of the things I cannot seem to get rid of. I scroll through them on the particularly bad days; I imagine his words are a blanket that I can wrap myself in. They are proof of his previous existence and the love we still had for each other.
The message above met my eye. I hid in my room for a brief moment away from the kids, and family who were also getting ready to settle for the evening. The strength he was referring to was my guidance with the children in the chaos caused by Bipolar Disorder.
What he didn’t know was how weak I felt and what a failure of a mother and wife I believed I was during that time. I was a coward. I couldn’t save the house. I couldn’t stop his psychosis. I couldn’t protect him anymore.
I was a coward.
I was scared to let him back in our lives without his being medicated and in regular therapy. I was worried what more the disorder would do to the children. I was scared because after all that happened I loved him anyway. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t stop the illness and our family fell apart. The children were both hurting in very different ways; and there were days I could barely function as a parent.
The message made me feel ashamed of myself. After all he had been through he still was wishing me a happy Mother’s Day. Me who would only allow him safe visits. Me who put up such boundaries, while he opened himself wide open in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
I mustered up a thank you, and had our daughter call him later that evening.
Despite the shame I feel, some how, the message he sent indicated a kind of understanding. I made those decisions with love. For the kids. For myself. For him. As I re-read the message again while gathering myself enough to rejoin the family, I felt a sense of understanding and forgiveness. Whether it was from him, or within myself I don’t know; but I read the message differently than I had in the past. Instead of ringing guilt, it brought comfort and peace.
I missed him dearly this past Mother’s Day. The kids did too. They missed his helping to plan the day, and making breakfast in bed. I’m thankful my family, including my own mother was there to celebrate and take the sting of the day away but It certainly wasn’t the same without him here; not for me or the children.
Somewhere deep under the pain and grief, what I can say this Mother’s Day is that I’m forever grateful for that message, and the children we shared together.
Happy Mother’s Day❤️️