Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The final straw

So many cards were stacked against her.

Depression ran in her family, and it affected her.  While she was bubbly and funny and interesting on her best days, other days were a struggle.

I have been lucky in my battle against depression.  It took me a long time to understand the symptoms and to know how to deal with them, but I've gotten there.  Between that, regular exercise, and medication, it's managed. Now when I'm sad, it's because I have something to be sad about. But I don't get that amorphous, free-floating sense of anxiety for which I am unable to pin-point a cause.  I don't remember the last time I had that feeling of a heavy, cold metal ball lodged in my chest when it wasn't tied to an actual event.

She wasn't so fortunate.

And then tragedy struck.  First her daughter was in a terrible accident that almost killed her. And she - the mother - suffered tremendously.  She was traumatized and haunted by the accident, which she witnessed.  Day to day life was difficult.

And then, a few years later, at the point when she and the rest of her family finally felt like they could put the accident behind them - when they could finally relax and exhale and feel like they weren't constantly in the clutches of fear and anxiety of something bad happening - tragedy struck again.  Her daughter - the same daughter who had been in the awful accident - was killed in a car crash.

She never recovered.  She was incapacitated by grief, and her physical health suffered as well.

As an added twist, she was abandoned by her own mother.

Her father lived with his new family 6 hours away, and they were rarely in contact.  And her mother, also depressed but one whose disease manifested itself in an incomprehensible cruelty, turned on her.  When her mother wasn't ignoring her, she was accusing her of causing the daughter's accident and then her death.  And the accusations weren't oblique or simply implied - they were expressed and deliberate.

"It's your fault."  "She's dead because of you." "You must have done something to the car she was driving."

These are actual words her mother said.

I can't imagine anything more callous, hateful, or cold-blooded. To be treated that way by one of my parents would wreck me.

Rightfully so, her husband barred her mother from their house and their family.

In the end, the weight of all of the tragedy, trauma, and parental neglect crushed her.  In the end, the thing she needed as much as anything else - the thing that could have helped her deal with everything - was the love and support of her parents. And when she couldn't get it, it sealed her fate.

In the weeks after her funeral, her mother reached out to her husband.

"Can you forgive me?"

I guess that the feelings that would be familiar to most decent human beings started to nag at her. She felt guilty.  As well she should have.

But it was too late.  The answer was "no."

1 comment:

  1. OMG, Wendy. So horrible for her and for your entire family. I hope that writing this powerful entry helped you. There are some things that just can't be forgiven.