Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

Hard To Tell

I think that I might be having an existential breakdown. That, or I’m just exhausted and depressed after a month of dealing with the aftermath of my father’s death. Or both.

I think both.

The death of my father rattled me in a way that I could never have expected. I knew, of course, that I’d be overwhelmed by grief – I’ve known this since I was a child, since I first began fearing the deaths of my parents – and I knew that I would be mourning both my father and the past. What I did not know was the extent to which this latter mourning – the mourning of my past, my childhood and girlhood and womanhood as his daughter, and his pasts, the pasts that I knew and the pasts that I didn’t know, the pasts that I have been living and reliving this past month as I forged my way through decades of papers and mementos and photographs and memories, some know to me, some not – I did not know the extent to which this latter mourning would unsettle me.


Ordinarily, I write my way through sadness and conflict and crisis. But this time… I find that I cannot. Most days, I cannot. There are nights that I lay awake, narrating some portion of this story to myself, and deriving comfort from that narration, but when I sit down to type, the words don’t come. They don’t come, I think, because this feels, to me, like a story that no-one else could possibly understand, this story of a daughter obsessing over the life and death of her father and the spiritual crisis that this obsession provokes. And so I balk at sharing it.

I hope that I’ll overcome this reluctance to share. That, or that I’ll be able to push these concerns to one side and return to stories about bad motherhood.

In the meantime, I’m just so tired.

Comments read comments(7)
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posted September 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

When you are ready, we are here.

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posted September 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Catherine, just do what you must….as said above, we can wait until you are ready.
There is really no “getting over” the death of one’s parents….I found one just learns to live with it. Sharing is not easy, or always necessary. Some things are just too personal.
Take your time….

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posted September 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm

I think this is one of those things that takes time. No one can tell you how much time and it really doesn’t matter if they could, because it would be different for you. One day the words will come. Until then, take care of yourself.

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posted September 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Oh Catherine, hugs to you. Be good to yourself.

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posted September 8, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Thinking of you and wishing you the best

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posted September 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I’ve been dreading the thought of my father dying since I was an early teen…I can’t imagine how I’ll be when it actually happens.
A fathers death is not something to just “get over” quickly.
Take your time, heal in your own way…we’ll be waiting and thinking of you in the meantime.

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margaret chaidez

posted September 10, 2009 at 10:39 am

My mother passed away 5 years ago from lung cancer. We had 8.5 years to “prepare” and yet it took me by surprise. Each November, on the anniversary of her death, I realize it never gets easier. I miss her every day and still remember our last time together. I believe she watches over my boys and on some levels is still with us. Even as I type this comment, I am crying because I still miss her.
I wish I had some advice to make it hurt less, but I don’t. Take your time and grieve. Never be afraid to cry for no reason, to hold on to something that brings your father back in your mind and share memories with your family.
Thank you for sharing your story. Makes me realize I was not alone.

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