Trying again

The harder it is to get words out, the more I know I need to. I’ve started this post several times, then deleted it when it just wouldn’t happen. I almost did it again, just now, but I’m going to push through it and see what happens.

I failed. I’m a bad mother. The proof stares me in the face daily. I let one of mine die. The fact is in his empty room. In the images I’ll never get out of my head. In dreams I have no control over. A mother’s job is to keep her children safe, fed, loved. Two out of three isn’t bad, but that one I failed at? Yeah, it was the most important one.

There. I said it. Ridiculous, of course. I almost just deleted this post again; the stupidity of such a statement infuriates me. But that’s the whole point–I’ve been holding back from these pages, from writing any of this, because it causes those I love grief. It makes people uncomfortable. And yet, the more silent my sorrow, the deeper its shadows grew, the more tenacious its hooks. No one wants to be that person, the one everyone avoids because all she talks about is her grief. The person who gets so mired, her black hole just keeps getting deeper instead of less ragged. There has to be a balance between that person and the one who holds her sorrow too close. Doesn’t talk about it. Puts up a brave front. Both are in danger of letting the shadows tell lies we start to believe.

Silence killed my son. He was hurting far worse than we had any idea because he kept it to himself. Whether there’s something beyond this life and he’s having many adventures, or death is simply the end, he is no longer here with me, with us. That doesn’t mean I failed. I fought for him from the day he was conceived, fiercely. Sometimes harder than he fought for himself. I gave him everything I had. More than I ever knew I had to give. That it wasn’t enough doesn’t negate all I was able to do. I did–and continue to do–the same for all my kids. For them, it has been enough.

Modesty is for Suckers started out as a writer’s blog, and morphed when Chris died. It will be a writer’s blog, still. But my life motto isn’t just about writing. A form of modesty has kept me silent, and, like a sucker, I let it. I tag all my entries. If you get here and the content isn’t what you’re interested in, don’t feel you have to say anything. I’m not looking for anything from anyone–just a place for my voice.

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40 Comments

Filed under Life's honest moments

40 responses to “Trying again

  1. Kim Vandervort

    You are so very loved!

    Like

  2. Jamie

    As the world’s foremost expert on being your child, I can definitively say that you are amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Terri, This is your book. Keep writing. Mary

    Like

  4. Terri, it saddens me to think you believe you are a bad mother. Your kids adore you, including Chris. And I know a logical part of you knows that, but can’t let go of something inside your head.

    As someone who has watched their loved ones slowly die from substance issues and suicide, I spent many years wishing I could’ve fixed them. Then it came up when I was in therapy years later. I learned there (through the guidance of a very good therapist) that if I pushed them harder, it wouldn’t have help. Most times when people are pushed, they only push back.

    I don’t think for on second Chris would want you thinking you were a bad mother, yet I can understand your feelings. I’m here if you need to talk <3.

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I don’t really believe I’m a bad mother. That’s what the dark shadows whisper sometimes. When I don’t acknowledge them, they get louder–until I write it out. Then they skulk back to the corners where they belong.

      I know where you live…and your cell number. As if you’d be able to avoid me if I needed you. 😉

      Like

  5. Elizabeth

    It’s your blog, it is whatever you want it to be. I think using it as an outlet for your grief is imminently appropriate. For as long as you need it. Which may be indefinitely……..Love!

    Like

  6. Penny

    Grieve your way and in your time. Yell grief from the mountain tops or whisper it in the shadows or shackle the bitch in a soundproof room or do it all simultaneously or consecutively or mixed differently from minute to minute. Soldier on, love. There is no right way to mend a wound so terrible.

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Penny…you…you slay me! Shackle the bitch in a soundproof room. I seriously snorted (because laughing makes me cough.)
      Thanks, love. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

      Like

  7. Maggie

    You are the dearest most wonderful women and knowing your remarkable children I know what an amazing mother you truly are. However, if Chris were my child (and in a small way he is), I would write those words too. I say he is because I believe we as mom’s have are babies, love and care for them and pray through some miracle they make it. So do despite what we do…and some don’t despite how hard we struggle to protect them. It takes one second. He is my child in that his loss diminishes me…and the world. In that in that second my dear friends will never be the same. I know there is nothing we can do to ease yours and Franks pain but I can say that we will stand with you in the pain for as long as you will have us.

    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. 
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

    Like

  8. MaryAnn Forbes

    Your post brought tears to my eyes; I am so very sorry.

    Like

  9. (((HUGS))) and ❤

    Everyone can tell you that you didn't fail anyone, that you were a great mom, but you have to get there yourself and you will. There is a small inkling of it in the 3rd paragraph. Sadly, human emotions don't follow logic (especially the bond between mother and child, which is one of if not the strongest) and the best thing you can do is write down your feelings, either privately or here on your blog. We'll all support you for as long as you need and then some. ❤

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I know I’m a good mother. I really do. It’s that stupid, slithery voice that tries to convince me otherwise. Ignoring it doesn’t help. I have to shout it back into the shadows.
      Thank you, sweetheart. ❤

      Like

  10. {{hugs}} Terri you are amazing! The blog’s focus is what you, and many others need it to be. I share your posts frequently so others who have similar pain can feel the comfort of your words. I know this can’t mend your broken heart yet your love for Chris and his spirit live on as long as you keep his memory alive.
    Anytime you need someone to listen, I am there – just call.

    Like

  11. HUGS! I know you were never a bad mother. And I know you know it, too. More importantly, your kids know it. All of them. You don’t need to apologize for anything you write here. And I hope you know you can call anytime if you need or want to. ❤ ❤

    Like

  12. Alice Schuette

    You have a beautiful voice Terri – and thank you so much for sharing it on this writer’s blog. I’m honored to know you. You’re a person whose energy is magnetic, inspirational, and honest. You’re as brave as they come. xoxo

    Like

  13. Mark Nelson

    Often the strongest among us see themselves as the weakest. They are usually the givers who empty themselves into the lives of others, keeping little or nothing for their own needs. Put your words where you will because silence isn’t nuturing. A writer tells. The good and the bad. The love and the pain. It is what we have to do. Much love, T!!!

    Like

  14. Terri, reading your thoughts are really a blessing to me…for so many it’s hard to put into words the suffering a mom goes through with certain children.
    I pray my child survives the craziest of her own mind…but worry and wonder how to keep my own mind from feeling the grief of not being able to help.
    It’s a struggle everyday, as you know. Thank you for your honesty!

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I think of you all the time, Colette. I know what you’re going through, and that the only thing worse is for what happened here. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what horrors you go through, there’s always the chance, the HOPE, that it’ll all change for the better. I’m here if you need me.

      Like

  15. dianamunozstewart

    Wow. I see a conversation between the light and dark sides of yourself, of guilt and letting go of that sense that any of us can control our adult children’s lives. I know which part of you will win. The light. Always the light with you. I’m sorry for these shadow days, for the days when grief corrupts your heart, turns your tragedy into a way to force more pain upon yourself. And I’m amazed at the strength you have to pull yourself away from those destructive thoughts, to look at them honestly, express them openly, and expel them from shadow. By doing this you create distance from the thoughts that truly want you to hold them close, nestle them, so that they sting without anyone knowing. Your son would be proud that you have picked up that fight and have flung wide open that dark door. You already know you have to live with the pain of losing him. I’m so sorry for that. But by this post, reminding yourself that you do not have to also live with the pain of blame, you release others who blame themselves for their children’s lives and deaths.

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Can you possibly know how often you’re on my mind? Just this weekend, during those shadow times, I was thinking about his accident, and how it kept me from going to VP9, sending me instead to VP10, and you. I thought, “without what happened, I wouldn’t have one of the best friends I’ll EVER have.” I can’t go back and change anything, but it’s a positive I can pull from the negative of all this.

      We’ll howl to the sea together this year, Diana. Only 117 days to go!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Saying the words. Naming our most secret shadows. It takes great courage to say them to ourselves, and even more so to share them. It feels raw, naked, and oh so human. This is living life uncensored, and in doing so, you honor your beautiful son, yourself, and all of us. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Terri.

    Like

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Thank you, Lorraine. Saying it all out loud is akin the the magic in a name. Once you call it out, it can’t hurt you anymore.

      Like

  17. *hugs* Terri, you are wonderful and a good person. This blog should be whatever you want it to be and I think you words help many others who are going through the same as you. Keep doing what you’re doing, especially it helps you grieve Chris. ❤

    Like

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