Beginn At The Beginning

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop”

[Lewis Carroll]

The beginning of my story is the end of my mother’s. Even though she didn’t die giving birth to me, this rings truer to me, than any other sentence used describing the connection between the death of my mother and my life.

My mother passed away on her 30th Birthday on April the 20th 1984.She was an epileptic and had a seizure whilst taking a bath, hit her head and drowned. I found her, although I can’t remember that.

At that time my parents where sharing our appart- ement with another married couple and their young daughter. We called all of them by the first name, there was no “mommy” or “daddy” and the other girl and I were raised like sisters for the time being.

The story I have pieced together through many, different tales by various people goes like this:

“On April the 20th 1984 my mother was getting ready for her big 30 party. My father (Jay) and my parents friends (Be and Ce) took me and their daughter (Enmi) out to prepare everything and give my mother some breathing space.

Upon our return, they thought it would be sweet to send me into the bath- room baring thirty long-stemmed red roses.

Girl Holding Dead Flowers

Image by This Is A Wake Up Call via Flickr

I returned after a while and very seriously ordered everybody to be quiet because “mom was taking a nap”. Obviously everything happened very quickly after that. Be and Jay rushed into the bathroom and got my mother out of the bathtub and did C.P.R. on her. Ce called 911 or rather the german equivalent to that (yes we were living in Germany) and then gathered up Enmi and myself and took us to a near playground as to have us out of harms way.

Everybody did what they could to save my mother. In the end nothing could save her. She had left for good.”

A bit more than a year later Be, Ce, Enmi and their new baby boy (Bema ) packed their bags and left for France. I lost my “other mother” and my “sister” that day. They left for good and their was nothing I could do to stop them.Actually my first real memory is a snapshot of them driving off.

Years later I found out that they had discussed taking me with them, but my father veto-ed the idea because he didn’t want to lose me as well. I understand and I don’t. This might sound weird to anybody reading this (and at this point, I know it won’t be too many), but I believe my father made a very selfish decision that day in keeping me with him. He is an attorney and was just preparing to sit his second bar exam (yes, in the german legal system you sit two) at that time. He literally had no time for me. Even though almost 28 years have gone by and so much has changed this hasn’t. There is no place for me in my father’s life, but that of a spectator.

My father never got remarried, but he did have long and longer relationships in the past. Some women had kids, some didn’t. Some were significantly younger than my father, some more the same age. Some had a career of their own, some were housewives. Not one of them was a mother to me. Their relationship was always exclusively with my father.

To be fair, once I hit my teens I became the poster-child of girls gone wild – running away from home, boys, parties, skipping school, lying, stealing, smoking – I was not a pleasure to be around and I didn’t make anybody’s life easy – especially not my own. Even though I have moved on from that stage of my life and more than outgrown my “terrible teens” a lot of what has happened during that time severely wounded me and my family. None of those wounds have healed.

I have been in and out of therapy throughout my life, without it having the desired effect. I am currently in therapy again, but this time it’s different. This time I am in it because I want to be.

So the big question remains: Why blog about it?! Well, it’s not an easy answer. A lot of aspects have gone into my decision to write for the world to see (even though I know – at least presently – nobody is looking). The main reason is, that apparently (at least in Germany) there are no self-help groups for adults that dealing with a deceased parents. Maybe because society has not yet fully understood the long-term effects this trauma has on women of all ages. Also I don’t know anybody who has lost their mother; – divorce yes, death no. So sometimes I feel like an alien to my friends and family. My hope is, that maybe this will help me find people who have gone through similar things in their life and in the meantime, maybe “writing things out loud” can help structure some of the turmoil in my head and soul.

Here’s to new beginnings!