All the flowers that you planted mama In the back yard All died when you went away

I keep thinking about the lyric from Prince’s Song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

It’s been seven hours and 15 days
Since you took your love away

When will that be? My mother died on Thursday February 10 at 6:45 PM. So does that mean at 1:45 AM on February 26, that grief moment will hit? Will I feel better? Worse? Indifferent?

February has always been a grief filled month in my family – my paternal grandfather’s birthday is February19 and he died on May 9, one month before my mother’s wedding. This period often overlaps Lent so being immersed in grief and sadness and despair were just par for the course. My mother never NEVER recovered from the death of her father. He walked on water. As time went on, her despair grew and she wanted only to be reunited with him. She repeatedly attempted suicide during my childhood and school days.

I wrote this in 2015

I think it was ninth grade when things changed. I came home from school and found her quite literally raving around the house. I tried to calm her, but she wasn’t having any of it. I sent my brother to play with his friends (escape was often our survival tactic) and I tried to call my father at work. He wasn’t reachable – he worked in a local steel mill and that was often the case, but they would try to reach him by radio. I was horrified as she began talking about suicide and talking to her father. She kept telling him that she only wanted to go be with him and sobbing that no one loved her.

Then she told me she had swallowed pills to be with him. She tried to get into the bathroom to get more pills, but I was faster and hid them. At that point, I was the enemy keeping her from her father so that wasn’t going well. My poor mother was so very ill. It was heartbreaking and terrifying.

I was utterly terrified and alone. I couldn’t ask the neighbors for help because they didn’t do this sort of helping. One neighbor would have responded with kindness at least, but I could see she wasn’t home. So I called for help. I don’t remember the sequence of events – did 911 exist then? did I call the police? I don’t remember. I just remember the ambulance arriving and my mother having a seizure and riding along with her in the back of the ambulance.

Then I remember walking into the locked ward of the behavioral health unit and being really afraid when the doors locked behind me. I sat in a waiting room and signed some papers. Then I was sent home. Obviously, someone came to pick me up as I was 14 years old. Maybe my Dad came home? Maybe a relative? I don’t know.

This happened repeatedly. I knew with utter certainty that she wanted to die and to be with her father and grandmothers. But we didn’t talk about it. I asked to see a therapist and was hushed because I wasn’t support to inherit it.

In some ways, I lost my mother years ago, before even this 9th grade horror. My mother was lost to us in the late 70s. Something happened, something changed. She stopped getting up with us in the morning or packing our lunches. She stopped cleaning the house or keeping up with our hygiene. She destroyed all of the photos from our childhood. She showed up when it was absolutely necessary, like a meeting with a principal, but we were smart enough to minimize those events. She didn’t come to Brownies or school plays. She hid at home, went to mass, and her eyes took on this haunted blank gaze.

We had to figure out this whole big world on our own and because everyone was so busy pretending nothing had happened, we really were alone. My poor mum.

I think I know now what happened, but I’ll share that for another day. It wasn’t my father.

I miss my mom. But I strangely feel happy for her that she’s finally found what she was always looking for – her Dad. I’m not a literal Catholic but I imagine their reunion and the 50 years she lived without him sliding away to her 28 old self. She absolutely had no faith she could embrace the world on her own. Knowing how much abuse and violence my father’s family brought to her and her own siblings ignored, I can’t blame her for wanting us to take care of her and for not feeing that same connection as our mother that she had with her father.

She had their reunion in heaven to look forward to. I will not have that. My tether to her is gone. All I have left are these terrible selfish people who refuse to acknowledge truth.. My mother rarely talked about it, but it was clear in her every living moment how much that abuse took a toll on her.

That’s one reason I chose not to have children – to break the cycle. I live with mental illness and it is hard enough for Laura and other adults to cope when I am struggling, so I could not do that to a child. I don’t want a child to remember calling 911 for me. Or to have the echo in their mind “I just want to be with Daddy. No one else loves me.”

She didn’t know better and I understood that on some level. I knew that lying, deceiving, pretending, faking were acceptable tools. Crying and asking for what I deserved as a child were not. I was raised in an environment where my mother’s childhood housekeeper was the most maternal person in our lives.

It’s been seven hours and 15 days
Since you took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all day
Since you took your love away
Since you been gone, I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I chooseI can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
But nothing
I said nothing can take away these blues
‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to youIt’s been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me baby, where did I go wrong?
I could put my arms around every boy I see
But they’d only remind me of you

I went to the doctor, guess what he told me
Guess what he told me
He said, “Girl you better try to have fun, no matter what you do”
But he’s a fool’

Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you

All the flowers that you planted mama
In the back yard
All died when you went away
I know that living with you baby was sometimes hard
But I’m willing to give it another tryNothing compares
Nothing compares to you
Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you
Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

Source: MusixmatchSongwriters: PrinceNothing Compares 2 U lyrics © Controversy Music, Npg Publishing

https://youtu.be/0-EF60neguk

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