21 May

My mother gave birth to me twice – once when she physically gave birth and when she took her own life. People often can’t fathom how a suicide could be an act of sacrifice and love but I know in many ways my mom thought of me when she took an intentional overdose. Her burdens had become so tangled up with my attempts at living that in a moment of selfless clarity, she saw the impact her choices had had on me for 39 years. Albeit, her final choice impacts me as well and yet, oddly – in it, she gave birth to me a second time.

I mention this because my birthday is tomorrow and I always think of my mom on my birthday, particularly now.

The last birthday I had with my mom weighs heavily on me because her depression was so palpable I could hardly stand it. I remember thinking time couldn’t pass quickly enough and then feeling sick at my own feelings towards my mother. The following year she was in jail for her 5th felony DUI and she sent a card with an envelope she decorated herself (see below). Upon receiving it, my heart twisted in two. I was touched by the thought of her coloring a card to me as if she were five years old (she probably didn’t have any money to buy me one from the commissary) but then I felt deep anger and shame that my mom was in jail. In her card, she wrote that she wanted to take me to dinner as soon as she got out of jail. I remember thinking that was the last thing in the world I wanted. I dreaded the “celebration.”

We never had the chance for that dinner. She took her own life before we could.

On my anniversary day – I celebrate and give thanks for the life my mother gave me and for the mother she was. Even in her darkest hours, she was gentle in spirit. A candle in the wind.

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