Thursday, March 07, 2013

5 years ago - today

 WARNING:  This is another one of those posts that I have to warn you about;  It's about my Mom's suicide and the events that took place 
before it happened.

5 years ago on March 7 - I was living in the San Francisco area - and I had just came back home from spending a week (and my birthday) with my 73 year old Mom.  Our Dad had died in January of 2007 and it had been a horrible year for my Mom.  After the one-year anniversary, I started to witness some glimmers of hope.  However, she was not doing well that last week I was with her. 

I had these plans that I would get her out and we could go thrift-shopping and eat out and be like the way we used to be - mother and daughter, hanging out together. All she wanted to do was sit in her chair, with her heating pad - with the TV on. I could not get her to budge.  When it came down to that first night, to go to bed, I started into the guest room and she told me, she wanted me to sleep with her.  OKAY, this is my Mom but I hadn't slept with her in years. But what are you going to do?  Every night I would wake up, to her saying prayers and crying to God about how much she missed my dad. I would pretend I was sleeping. (How insensitive I was)

As the days went on, we did have some soul-searching talks and shared many things that I am grateful for,  to this day.  But she was still Mom and at times she would get bossy and annoying and opinionated.  It was HER WAY or the highway. I just shut my mouth because I knew she was hurting and that I only had a few days left before I returned home.

No way, did I ever believe she would commit suicide. No way!  When it was time for me to go, we shared a fudgesicle. She was cute when she asked me, 

"do you like to bite it or lick it or suck it?"

I tend it bite it Ma.

"I like to lick it"

OKAY - I'm thinking she is on her way - she is getting her little odd sense of humor back.

  • I returned home on the 3rd.  I tried calling her but no answer.  
  • The 4th came and went. 
  • Then it was the 5th - my sister's birthday. I figured, they would talk.  
  • Nothing on the 6th. I had a feeling of dread. I phoned my sister and asked her if she had talked to Mom. She told me, Mom never called her and so at 9pm that night on the 5th, she called and the phone rang and rang and finally Mom picked up the phone. Mom had been mad at my sister for quite some time - she lived close to Mom but never came by to see her. Mom would ask her and my sister would say she was busy or had to work - it had been since our Dad's death in Jan 2007 since she had last seen our Mom. So yeah, Mom was bitter and resentful and downright MAD at her. 

My sister likes to joke a lot and many times she lacks better judgement in choosing her words. It had been 18 mos prior, that her husband had overdosed and died on their wedding anniversary. So she jokingly said to Mom:

" Gee I thought you were going to commit suicide on my birthday like Roger did on our anniversary." 

My sister said, that made Mom furious at her and she quickly got off the phone. That was the evening of the 5th of March. 

We kept calling all through out the day on the 6th and no answer.  We just figured Mom was mad at her and many times, she would lump us two together and would be mad at me too. 

I couldn't sleep well that night and so the next day, the 7th - I called my sister and said I was calling Mom's doctor because I remembered that she had an appointment with them yesterday.  To my complete shock, when I called them, they said she never showed up. That was not like my Mom. I then called my sister back, telling her I was going to call the local police here and have them do a welfare check. She did not want to do that because she's thinking, Mom is mad and this will only piss her off more.  I am so thankful that I did it anyway. 

That in itself took 2 hours - its all about liability and me being 250 miles away.  Phone calls were coming in, asking for permission to break a window. They heard Mom's 2 little dogs frantically barking.  2 days of newspapers were on her driveway - Then we waited. A few minutes later, the police called and I answered yet they asked to speak to my husband. I kinda knew then, that she had died. STILL not thinking it was suicide. That is what the police told the Husband. 

The coroner told us, she had been dead since March 5-6, he estimated time of death around 12:30 am on the 6th.  Just a couple of hours after she talked with my sister. She shot herself with a .22 in the head.

We'll never know - what triggered her. Was it the insensitive comment made by my sister?  Was it because I started to get annoyed with her that last week? Was it because she was going to have to take a drivers test in a month? Was it because she had run out of her Darvon and Vicodin? Was it because she just couldn't live without our dad?

We rushed up here that day - went straight to the coroners office and picked up my Mom's purse and the keys to the house.  The dogs had been taken to the local shelter. We came into the house - it was dark. I could smell my Mom's cologne.  On her bed, was VHF tapes of our old movie films, growing up. She had out pictures - and then there was the blood on the bathroom floor.

This was not a nightmare. I was in shock. 

The kitchen still had a few plates in the sink, she had used prior.   The clocks were still clanging and striking every hour - it was so lonely and cold to be in that house. (I later bought my sisters half)

In the days and weeks after,  I would find notes left around the house, tucked here and there, addressed to my sister and I - telling us what horrible daughters she thought we were - and how dad was the only one who ever loved her.  Many of these notes were written years before. My mom had mental illness that we never even realized was as bad as it was, until it was too late.

Interesting note: I guess I still can't get over the fact, that I found out that her father shot himself and his father (her grandfather) jumped off a bridge.  I found all of this out through genealogy. She never spoke of this and I still wonder, did she know this?  

Sister and I are okay. She was in emotional pain and wanted to be with Dad. I sure hope she is. In the next few weeks and months, I would get depressed and started to even get weird - trying to FIGURE IT ALL OUT before I could put it all to rest. I tried to get into her head which is impossible. I did do some suicide grief counseling etc. It helped. Later that year, is when I went back to her hometown of Dayton, Ohio by myself, to visit graveyards and piece together her life - all the while, trying to make sense of it all.

That is the thing about suicide - it leaves the rest of us here to try and figure it out. And while I am at peace and so is my sister, at times we do have our moments, where we start to wonder once again - what it was, that did it.

I do want to say, she was the best Mom. Sure she had her issues, as she grew older and she started to get crabby. And of course we "girl's" could never do right by her. She was stubborn and prideful. She wouldn't ask for help.

So she's with my dad now - up at the Veterans cemetery. It's hard to lose your Mom.


  1. I'm so sorry. That story must have been so difficult to share. I'm glad you did. Suicide is so difficult for everyone involved.

    I have been doing a lot of genealogy research and was amazed at all the suicides. I guess people have always been in unbearable pain.

    You will be in my thoughts today.

    1. Its therapeutic for me - Each time I share it, I get stronger.

    2. Betty (above) mentioned your blog on her Friday blog. Didn't know if you saw it.

  2. I'm sorry. I have been following you long enough to know that you have a grip on this. (At least I think you do.) I've heard something similar to the notes she tucked away. A guy I knew wrote nasty notes to his wife with her lipstick on the mirrors in the house before taking his life. I'm not sure if that's depression or some other type of mental illness.

    1. It has to be mental illness and depression both. I can't imagine doing that to my kids or husband. Yes you do know me and I do have a grip on it. I'm quite proud of myself because I remember a time when I didn't. It takes a while to process it all. I know many families who still can't get past it the suicides. Sad.

  3. I hope my last post didn't sound insensitive. What I meant was...

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    I know of a similar situation...

    1. Not at all. I knew what you meant.

  4. Remembering is hard. You sound like a strong person.

  5. We really never know how strong we are until something major happens. Things I have said, I could never live through, I have.


Comments are good - I admit, sometimes I don't respond back, in time for a dialog. I bad! I will TRY and do better. Thanks for understanding.

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