The Things We Hide: Another Lost Mother

This week is going to sound a little like my post last week, The Things We Hide: A Lost Mother.  You can click on the link to read the full post, otherwise it was about how I lived without a mother and how I’ve hidden it for so long.  The truth is that I’ve lost more than one mother.

My grandma was a very special person to me and I’ve written about her and her influence on here before in An Inspirational Woman.  Needless to say, she was a huge part of my life.  She passed away in August of 2014, just a few months after my wedding and college graduation.  This past year and a half without her has been more than difficult for a myriad of reasons.  Most of all is, I lost a mother again.

My mom passed away when I was still a child at 11.  That experience would have been much harder if I wouldn’t have had my grandma, Mimi with me.  I can’t even imagine having to go through that without her.  She found a way to make everything more bearable.  She was there to do our laundry, make me dinner and even help me with my homework during the months of my mom’s illness and after her death.  She was a daily presence in our lives.  I never felt that she didn’t have time for me as a child and I don’t know how she remained as strong as she was during the loss of a child.  The only reason I ever had fun during the holidays after my mom passing was because Mimi made them fun.  She brought the magic into those holidays that we lost along with my mother.  That’s why this post and this time has been so tough for me.

When Mimi passed, I was in shock.  It was very sudden and even though she was elderly with her fair share of ailments, I thought that she was in good health.  She’d had accidents before from falling on ice to being thrown off a treadmill at full speed.  So, I thought that her tumble down the stairs was nothing more than a painful inconvenience.  I didn’t know what was to come.  Within a week and a half of her hospitalization, she was dead.  In the aftermath, my grandpa and I were the only ones in town to deal with all of the paperwork and arrangements (my sibling was teaching abroad in Europe at the time).  I didn’t think much about what had happened, because it wasn’t real.  It couldn’t be.

The Things We Hide: Another Lost Mother

So, I made the arrangements, notified family and friends, and I gave my eulogy.  The following months are a blur of repressed emotions.  I drowned my sorrows in chocolate, television and even alcohol.  I didn’t allow myself to think about what had happened, I had mentally checked out and there was no one home inside of me.

My grandma was so much more than just “my grandma” that it’s hard to put into words.  In fact, I wrote an entire 50,000 word book about who she was and it still didn’t feel like enough.  Essentially, she was my second mother.  She was there when mine had gone.  She took me to soccer practice.  She packed my lunches.  She made me dinner.  She talked to me about boys.  She paid my tuition and bought me a car.  She helped me with homework and made dinner for my cast mates in the school play.  I can’t express how much of a mother she was because she wasn’t “like” a mother at all.  She was mine.  When I had troubles, I went to her.  When I needed help, I went to her.  When I accomplished something, I went to her.  She was my number one fan and my best friend.  She was always there with helpful advice and a warm meal.  I never thought of what it would be like to lose her, because that was something unimaginable to me.  So when it happened, I couldn’t accept it.

I didn’t tell people about her death, because I didn’t know how to make them listen.  Like my sibling put it “I wanted to go out into the streets and shake everyone, screaming in their faces ‘THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD JUST DIED!  DON’T YOU EVEN CARE?!'”  That’s the only way I know how to express it.  I wrote last week about what it was like to have lost a mother.  The thing is, I know all too well what it was like because it’s happened to me twice.

Mimi was my mother, just as much as my mother who gave birth to me was.  That’s all there is to it.  For a long time I didn’t talk about her.  I couldn’t.  I thought that tears were weakness and that now I had to be strong.  After all, everyone else was crying and someone had to handle the affairs.  I thought it had to be me.  So, I steeled myself.  I didn’t let any emotions in or out.  For months.  For over a year.  It’s never a good thing to bottle all of that up, because it always builds up enough pressure to escape.

After those emotions found their way out of my system, which is something for another post entirely, I began to talk about her.  Actually, I couldn’t stop talking about her.  I was waiting for someone to say “Shut up, Gina!”  But, no one did.  She was a really cool person and I’ve learned so much about her even after her death.  I talked to my grandpa.  I wrote a book for crying out loud!  Of course, I wish that she was still with me in person.  But, that’s not to say she isn’t with me at all.  When I smell her perfume or look at her photos, even when I read her notes, she’s there.  It’s that feeling.  The one that I lost with her.  Safety.  It’s not gone, I just have to look for it a little harder now.

The Things We Hide: Another Lost Mother

I’ve had two mothers that I loved equally.  I’ve lost them both.  But, I’m not hiding that anymore.  They were amazing women who shaped not only my life, but that of others.  My mom filled stranger’s lives with beauty through her garden and artwork.  My second mom stood up for others who couldn’t defend themselves.  She challenged authority and helped others.  They both taught me what it meant to have a purpose.  I was a lost for a while there, but I’m finding myself again now.

Who is your closest confidante?  Who could you not live without?

24 thoughts on “The Things We Hide: Another Lost Mother

    1. I really did have some amazing women in my life. I’m glad that I had them to learn from and grow. It is hard, but I’m learning how to deal with things better now. Thank you so much!

    1. She was! She was one of my favorite people. <3 That is such a huge compliment! I respected them so much, to be considered like them is an honor. Thank you! I'm happy to share, thanks for reading. 🙂

  1. Gina, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through these two major losses in your young life. I’m considerably older (remember, the grandma of the group), but I’ve lost my father, sister (she was only 46) and my mother died unexpectedly in the early morning of our son’s wedding day. Grief is hard and those who haven’t lost any loved one, has no clue what we’re going through. I remember my mother telling me once, that the older you get, the more family and friends you will lose. You are a strong person and the one thing you have are the precious memories and all that they’ve taught you. No one can take that away from you, ever. HUGS!
    Carol@The Red Painted Cottage recently posted…Our Grand Dog Is 16 Years Old TodayMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Carol. You’re right, it’s impossible to understand unless you’ve experienced it. Your mother was very wise. I think that my grandma said something like it to me once. It’s a sad truth of life. But, you’re so right! I have those memories and now that I’m writing them down, I’ll never lose them! 🙂

  2. Sweetie, I am so sorry that you lost both your Mom and your Gran, it sounds as if they were both tremendous women, you were lucky to have them love you. They certainly did a great job, along with your Dad and the rest of your family, cause you certainly turned out to be an incredible young woman. I love that you are passing on the things they taught you, I know they are smiling and beaming with pride! xoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks, Nikki. I was so lucky to have my time with them. Thank you so much, I’m sure my family would be glad at the compliment. My dad does read this blog. Haha! You’re so sweet! I’m so happy to have things to pass along from my experiences with them. I want to share them with the world. I think they’re smiling too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Michelle. It’s a big loss, but they were wonderful like you said. I was lucky to have them in my life for however brief a time.

  3. Gina. I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this story. I’m a bit out of words. You went through quite a bit. So did your grandmother. I’m sure she was in a lot of pain as well over the loss of your mother and she worried and yet she made your life beautiful. She’s was real winner Gina. When you have such a positive effect on people’s lives you lived life to the fullest. A huge hug from me to you, sweet girl. Proud to be your fellow blogger:):)
    ilka recently posted…Tissue Paper Heart CraftMy Profile

    1. Doing these posts on tougher topics is leading me to discover long buried emotions. It’s really helping me to deal with what happened. You’re right, my grandma made my life so beautiful. I think that what you said is a great way to describe it: having such a positive effect on people’s lives means you have lived life to the fullest. It’s so true! I’d never thought of it like that before, but I love it. Thanks, Ilka. 🙂

    1. She was, Lindsay! 🙂 She was always the one to inspire me and keep me from giving up. Even now I think of her when things get tough and know that she would have wanted me to see things through.

  4. Hi girl! I’m so sad for you about the loss of your beloved Grandma. But I’m also feeling happy because of all the beautiful times you had with her Gina. She really was your second mom and that is so lovely that you had her in your life! You are so strong to go through all of this and you are amazing! Lots of love from me to you! recently posted…Create ~ StationMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Katrin. I’m so glad because I can finally be happy about my grandma. She was my second mom and I just think about how lucky I was to have two women I can think of as mothers. Not many people get that chance. I was lucky to have the time that I did and she still impacts my life today. Thank you so much! <3

  5. Gina thank you again for letting us into your l ife. It is such a priviledge. Of course your grandmother was your second mother, she is the one who raised you. And in time you will become just like her because you have internalized all of her advice and guidance. And one day, God willing, you will become a mother too and it will be a full circle so that you’ll impart all this wisdom and guidance to your children. But the quality that shines above the rest is the love she gave you and this is something you can give freely from now, as you are doing in your posts to us. Thank you again sweet Gina!.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…A Basket for my Snugglies – Ένα Καλάθι για τα Χουζούρικα μουMy Profile

    1. I’m so happy to let you into my life. It took me a while to realize how important it can be to let others in. I hope so much to be just like her! She was one of my favorite people and still is. I hope to make it come full circle, like you said. I’m hoping to one day have children of my own and pass some of that love and guidance that she gave me onto them. The love really does shine the most. It’s something I didn’t realize until later, but now I know how much it’s influenced and changed my life. She gave me so much love, and I’m happy to pass it on! 🙂

  6. Gina, I am sorry for the loss of your Grandmother. You were blessed to have her after the loss of your mother. It sounds like she was a second mother to you just like your mom would have wanted. Thanks for sharing more about your life with us.
    Sherry@savvyapron recently posted…Roses Made From CandyMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Sherry. You’re right, I think she’s exactly what my mom would have wanted for me. I was lucky to have a second chance at a mother. I’m so glad that I had her in my life. <3

  7. Gina, I so identified with you holding your emotions back because someone had to “handle” things. That has been me the past year. Lot my mom in Feburary in my Dad in September 2015. Just now starting to “feel” a little bit of the pent up feelings. I know you were such a blessing for your grandma, just as she was to you.

    1. It’s hard to be the one handling things because you don’t have a chance to handle yourself. I’m sorry for your losses and everything you’re going through. I could say that the first year is the hardest, but I’m not entirely sure of that anymore. For me, being emotionally numb the first year made this second one even harder. Dealing with something like this takes such a long time to come to terms with. I’m sorry that you had to be the one to handle things. It’s a role that shouldn’t have to be taken on alone. And thank you so much. I like to think that she was happy to have me in her life too. 🙂

  8. I am so glad you found the words to finally speak, to take the lid off that bottle and let it out! This tribute was so touching and I wanted to wrap my arms around you and listen to you talk about them for hours, days, weeks even. It is great that you shared this as it will help so many people! But more importantly it will help you. I can not say I know how you feel as I have my mum, I nearly lost her a few years ago. She was struck down with a very unusual illness that took her memories, her ability to walk or use one of her arms. It almost took her life. My mother didn’t know who I was, she looked at me, my father and my siblings like we were strangers. It broke our hearts. By some kind of miracle that the doctors couldn’t believe (in fact they have written international articles and papers on her) she regained her memory and her ability to walk (although not as easily as she used to, she walks and gardens and shops). I was over her bed one day and she opened her eyes, which she didn’t d much at theme. She looked at me for a while I just smiled. She said “why do you look like me?” I din;t want to pressure her, so I said “I don’t know, why do you think I look like you?” She thought for along time. Then her eyes welled with tears and she said ‘you made the most beautiful bride’. I couldn’t bier it! She then thought for a long while and said ‘you’re Mackenzie’. It was her first memory! I will never forget that moment. I am so sorry for what you have been through, and I don’t know how I would cope or will cope when this happens to me, as my mum and I are very close. But I am inspired by your strength and you should be so proud of the women you are! Thank you for sharing this about yourself and the incredible women who guided you.

    1. Thank you! That is so sweet! 🙂 I really could go on about them for weeks. You have such a touching and amazing story. I’m so glad that you do still have your mom and that she pulled out of that illness. I’ve never experienced loss of memories with anyone in my family. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it would be. That’s so amazing that she just remembered who you were. It brought a smile to my face. I’m so happy that she’s doing better now. It is a hard thing to lose a mother, especially to do so twice. But I’m slowly figuring out how to deal with it. I hope that posts like this will help you whenever you need to come back to them. Although like I used to tell my grandma “You’re not allowed to die. You have to live forever.” Haha. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and sharing your own experience. Your mom sounds like an incredible woman too.

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