Abby: Learning from Her Journey with Mom

Abby realizes she has lost the mother she would like to have.

I think when all this first happened [car accident], my mom was not her. That’s not my mom anymore. I think that was hard. She hasn’t been able to transition with us well into adulthood. I felt even in college the loss of mother. When I would call her, she would want to talk about something that made her mad or say “Oh, I don’t like calling you anymore.” I felt kind of lost and then disconnected. . .You don’t feel like mom any more. But you’re my mom by title. You’re supposed to be here. You’re not supposed to be the one causing this.

She discovered strategies for dealing with Mandy’s disturbing and puzzling conversation by connecting with her mother’s feelings and views.

She’ll say a lot, “I’m going to die tonight. The devil’s going to kill me tonight. I know its tonight.” She’s been saying this for six months every single night. I ask, ‘What does the doctor say?” She said the doctor told her, ‘It’s really sad that I’m having these feelings.” Then, I said, “What do you think about that?”

Although Mandy is not providing the typical mother role to her children, Abby has learned to “take a step back” and realize her mom is more than a role. She also has thought about what she is missing.

I’ve tried to figure out who am I because so much of my life was about not upsetting her, because whatever feeling I had was not worth that. I asked myself what feelings I could have, unless they were happy feelings, because those were accepted by my mom and dad. If there was any sort of negative feeling, those were the ones I struggled with the most. . . I just wanted to be someone who people got together with and it was fun and it was light. I wanted to be that person. I think my mom wanted me to be that person because she would call me wanting me to try to lift her. That was role I played because I just wanted to be that person and then I realized, oh, I don’t have to.

Abby would like to see her mother “get to a place where she is comfortable with herself” and identify her feelings. At this point Mandy’s future is uncertain and she told Abby that she wonders if she will always have scary thoughts and be sad. Abby would love to see her mom able to handle an independent life; her hopes and dreams for her mother have changed.