August 2, 2009

I’m feeling very sentimental tonight, and I can only attribute the feeling to a story my Nana told Court tonight.

In the aftermath of a divorce, as a child I lived with my dad. My mom learned fairly early that even though she wanted children, she just didn’t have that mothering instinct. I went to my Nana’s house every Sunday and got to see my mom then. Then when I was 9, my mom was supposed to pick me up from Nana’s house one Sunday so my dad could go on a week-long business trip. By dinner time she hadn’t showed up. By bedtime, she wasn’t there. My Nana and Grampy were getting worried. No one had heard from her. My two uncles and step-dad drove around looking for her. I could feel everyone’s anxiety, and coupled with being up past my bedtime, I started panicking. My Grampy slapped me. It’s the only time it ever happened, and I know it was in his own fear the he lost control in that way.

Finally, I was sent to bed. But my mom never came. She was found the next day, at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Her car was locked and they had to smash the window to get in. It was too late though. She had overdosed.

My family told me it was accidental, that she was probably crying when she took her medication and couldn’t see how many she took. She had broken her foot the week before, so she had painkillers for that. She has sleeping pills. She had anti-depressants. She had medication for a heart condition. And she had taken too many of all of them. I may have been 9 years old, but I wasn’t stupid. My mom committed suicide on May 22, 1990.

I was in pain. When I got older, I could look back and see the signs. I thankfully got to spend Mother’s Day with her the week before. I was in Girl Guides, and they had organized a Mother’s Day Picnic in Fish Creek Park. I remember giving Mommy a mug and a tape we had made at school with Mr. Sebastien. And she had “the talk” with me. And a week later, she was gone.

I spent a week at home from school. When I went back, I remember Mrs. Sebastien (I had a husband/wife teacher team in grade 3) hugging me in front of the whole class and telling them… I’m not sure what. I think she told them my mom had died, but I don’t recall now. I remember just leaning against her in a sort of daze. I think I cried a bit.

As much pain as I was in, I was only 9. I didn’t completely understand yet. As I aged and started really comprehending that she was gone, I just passed it off that it had happened so long ago. Even as a teenager, I sloughed it off. It wasn’t until I met Court that I started really missing her. Then Court proposed, and I really started realizing that my Mommy wouldn’t be there at my wedding. We took her photo to the reception with us and set it up on the head table so she could be there too. Then I got pregnant, and my heart wrenched that my Mommy wouldn’t be there to tell me about pregnancy woes and blessings, and wouldn’t be at the hospital when I was in labour. She wouldn’t get to see the little girl who has become the center of my life.

It has been 19 years since my mom died. I don’t think of her very often, but when I do, it hurts when I think of how much she has missed.

Tonight we went to my Nana’s house to play yahtzee with her. My mom used to play yahtzee with her. They used to play all the time, for a penny a point. I don’t remember playing with them very often because I’m pretty sure I slowed them down. I do know that since my mom died, I’ve been playing yahtzee in her place. My Nana told us tonight that I started playing yahtzee with her the week after my mom died. We were coming home from the cemetery. No one was talking. We were all still deeply hurting. She said she heard this little voice speak up and say “Nana, do you want to play yahtzee with me?” She said she could have stopped the car and hugged me.

So we come home from visiting tonight, and I sit here feeling quite maudlin and remembering bits and pieces of my life. I wish I had wine, because wine and memories go together very well. Instead I will hold my husband a little closer, and when Penny wakes up for her mid-night feeding I’ll snuggle her a little closer and enjoy the smell of her hair. I will be less annoyed at being awake in the middle of the night. I will just enjoy my time with my little family.

And every once in a while I will think about Mommy Marsha and wish that she were here to enjoy my little family too.



  1. I don’t know what to say, other than, thank you for sharing. Your story brought me to tears. I often think about how thankful I am to have my mother around to share my little one with and how sorry I am that my Nana (her mom)died the year before he was born and never had the chance to meet him. My mom attempts to comfort me by telling me that my Nana has meet him and is watching over him (she’s rather religious). In some ways this helps. So to you, I’m sure your mother is watching over your Penny. I’ll snuggle my little guy a little closer tonight too.

  2. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a parent at a young age. I hope you are finding comfort in your husband and baby Penny tonight! When Charlotte wakes up for her midnight feeding here in a second, I will be giving her extra snuggles.

  3. Very touched by your post. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate who I have.

  4. Nicole, that was beautiful. Why are the most saddest incidents the ones that cause us to be our most reflective and poignant? I am so sorry for your loss. Yes, some people were not meant to be parents but obviously you are and you are a terrific mom.

  5. Sarah, thank you for your kind words. My great-nana has been watching over our family for many years, so hopefully now my mom is with her watching together.

  6. She-Ra (hehe), we don’t need excuses for snuggles, do we? Give both of them extra snuggles! Thanks for your comment =)

  7. Mary Beth, I’m glad what I wrote had some meaning to you. Thank you for reading, and taking the time to let me know that it meant something to you.

  8. Aw Thanks, Lisa! Roxanne has the best mom in you, too. I knew Sam read this blog, but I didn’t know you’ve been reading too. I’m glad you find something in it worth reading =) Mommyhood ain’t all about dirty diapers!

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