Mourning The Mother That Never Was



“I often wonder if others feel the tremendous amount of loss and sadness I feel at not ever having the ‘healthy, loving’ parent relationship,” “It’s heartbreaking and my heart is definitely broken,”

Last saturday, my mother died unexpectedly of an Aortic rupture. We had a strained/fractured relationship our entire life together. Growing up she could be very cruel.

I am going through many stages of sadness, anger, guilt and but mostly a deep loss.  I’ve cried many tears and it has left me mourning not only her death but also the loss of an imaginary, what-may-have-been mother-daughter relationship.

My mother unfortunately had a lot of demons in her life. And although her story is not mine to tell, there are parts that belong to me and me alone.  We always had a tense and turbulent relationship, it became intensified once she began to struggle with addiction.

When a mother dies, it is heart-breaking, completely devastating. You are never the same. Yet, the truth is, I mourned my mother many years ago. But, I still feel, a thousand emotions in regards to the death of my mother.

I am heartbroken that she never bothered to know my 3 amazing kids, they are by far the most amazing people I have ever been privileged to know and love. Mourning the absence of the mother I needed, that I craved, the one I knew and the one I wished she could have been, has been the hardest and most emotionally taxing thing I have ever done.  There are times, I feel I am going insane, my brain is on overload.

You see, I grew up in a home that to some looked normal from the outside, but was a battleground inside. Inside was a clever game of cat and mouse. Every night there was a mouse, and you had to hope and pray it wasn’t you, but most of the time, unfortunately it was me. My mother was a very broken and hurt woman. And hurt people, well, they hurt people. It is so hard to be hurt by someone who should love and protect you.

Grieving for an addict / mentally ill / emotionally abusive mother is confusing and hard. I cry often and out of nowhere, I usually don’t even see it coming. I am going through a world wind of emotions, going between furious, guilty, numb, relieved, grateful, nostalgic and generally overwhelmed. Furious because I’ve spent a large part of my adult life being afraid I would become like her, and I can’t believe I had to feel that way about my own mother. Guilty because maybe I could have done something to help. Numb because I know she will never be the mother I so desperately need.  Relieved because I don’t have to be afraid of her anymore, of her showing up at my house unannounced. Grateful and Nostalgic because sometimes, I can remember the positive memories of her. And generally overwhelmed because I don’t expect a single person to understand, but I wish more than anything on earth that someone did.

As I sit here and think about the fact that my mother and I will never reconcile, I am sad but I’m okay. She was never the mother I needed. She couldn’t be. But maybe she is also finally free. Free from the demons she faced in this world.  Having my own children has been so healing because I truly understand a mother’s love. I never knew it growing up, but loving my children as fiercely and intensely as I do. That has been more healing than I could have ever imagined.

In an odd way it has made me a better parent. I want to make sure my children know how much they’re loved and when I’m gone, those memories, will be my legacy.




Author: Cheryl Downum

My name is Cheryl Downum, Divorced in 2015, I moved from Atascadero ca to the Temecula Valley in Socal. As I’ve walked this journey, I’ve found myself growing closer to Jesus. My heart is now infused with empathy for others that find themselves in this place. And, God has given me a story, a message of hope to share. A message birthed in my brokenness that brought forth a sweet-surrendered dependence on God’s unconditional acceptance and love. The reason I am writing this blog is; I have found in my life that the Lord often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad to our deepest calling. My desire is to encourage His children to seek a deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that as you read my blog, you will feel inspired and encouraged. Thank you for visiting! God Bless! The Lord has opened a door for me in ministry with women who have been raped/sexually assault or abused by their spouse.  I have become a fulltime Advocate for women with a national organization.  For more information on this exciting chapter in my life, please visit my Healing Heart Blog I am a Survivor and an Advocate, I am passionate about raising awareness about Rape/Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Visit my The healing heart facebook page

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