When Mother’s Day Hurts

Usually when I write a post on this blog, I write it with the hope that what I have to say will be helpful to someone else. I write it hoping that someone who is going through what I have gone through, whether they are in recovery or not, will be able to see that there is joy and fulfillment on the other side of life’s challenges. This is not one of those posts.

This post is being written with a very heavy heart. A broken heart. One that, despite the fact that I live a glass-is-half-full life of recovery from alcoholism, feels empty and sad tonight.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I will not be spending it with my mother or my daughter. And that makes it hurt. No, neither of them have died, they just aren’t in my life. But the grief is still very, very real.

When I began trying to get sober six years ago, my family washed their hands of me. My daughter, who was 14 at the time, went to stay with my mother while I went to treatment. When I got out of rehab, she didn’t want to come home. I couldn’t make her. I had so much guilt and remorse that making her do something that she didn’t want to wasn’t something I was capable of. It’s my biggest regret–one that I think will never go away.

My relationship with my mother wasn’t great. Not ever. And if I’m honest with myself, I know that I could never have gotten and stayed sober if I had remained in a relationship with her. I’ve done a lot of grief-work around the relationship that I wish I had with her and I no longer yearn to rewrite our history. But on some holidays, especially Mother’s Day, it still makes my heart hurt.

Before I started drinking alcoholically, I had a great relationship with my daughter. We were close, we were happy. We talked and laughed and had fun. I loved being her mom. She truly was my everything. Booze changed that. I wasn’t able to be the mother that she needed, and she did what she had to do to take care of herself. I cannot blame her for that.

I know better than to try to stuff my feelings, I have to let myself feel sad tonight and tomorrow. There have been tears and I know there will be more. I miss my daughter. There is a space in my heart that can only be filled by her. It doesn’t matter how great everything else is, or how much love I have in my heart for others, that space will remain empty until we reconcile. And that might not happen. Ever. That hurts.

I wish that when I had come home from rehab I had known what I know now. I wish that I had been as strong as I am now. I wish that I could’ve shown my daughter that even when you screw up, you can rebound; that even when you’re an alcoholic, you can get better. And I wish that she knew that no matter what my drinking caused me to do, I never stopped loving her.

I think about my daughter every day–there hasn’t been one that has gone by that I haven’t. But the pain I feel on Mother’s Day is just a little bit worse. A little bit deeper. A little bit more intense.

I know that tomorrow is just another day and that I will make it through it. I thank God that my sobriety isn’t threatened, and I’m grateful for all the good people in my life. But, right now, I just need to be sad.



10 thoughts on “When Mother’s Day Hurts

  1. I am so thankful for your voice to say what maybe others cannot say. I pray that one day your daughter will see who you have become and a reconciliation will occur. You are one of the most courageous and generous people I have ever met. Prayers ascending!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. While I can’t know what you’re going through missing a daughter, I relate to the “having been written off” thing very much (and feeling that grief, I guess it is, that won’t go away until there is reconciliation–an act that I am not in charge of, and cannot force to happen, and that might never happen). I don’t know what to say except, feel the sadness and know that going through this will be worth it, like everything difficult in getting sober has been. Hugs! Happy Mother’s Day.

  3. Thank you for sharing your broken heart. You don’t know what road lies ahead for both you and your mum. Just keep being the precious person you are- keep it up- and what will be will be. Unfortunately we have no control over what others response to us is- but you keep going girl. The direction you’re going will give you peace in the end- no matter what the circumstances may be.

  4. Poignant – what a read.

    My son was 14 when I went into treatment. He visited with my wife after I’d been there a couple of weeks. I was fussing around him as I was so excited to see them both. We went and got our food and came back to the table and I sat opposite him asking him about school, scouts etc. He pushed the plate away after a few minutes stared into my eyes and said “Is this going to f***ing work”. It was like an elephant kicked me in the guts. What had I done to this boy.

    I’m so lucky – we did rebuild our relationship – I’m incredibly fortunate and it says more about him than me that statement. We have a terrific relationship now – we see each other regularly and talk on the phone, text etc. a lot. I don’t believe I deserve that – if he’d chosen like your daughter to have nothing to do with me I wouldn’t have blamed him at all.

    This story reminds me once again even in recovery… “There but for the grace of God go I”

  5. Yeah . . . the estrangements that begin AFTER the “family f*ck-up” gets sober, gets married, gets a job, etc . . . What can I say? It’s the sick “families” that “need” someone to revile, bury, and scapegoat. And these “families” WILL dispose of their victims, when they’re no longer willing to maintain their “families'” toxic homeostasis. Jami, consider yourself FORTUNATE to be out of your family’s pathogenic hypocrisy and dysfunction.

    • Thank you. I do consider myself fortunate in so many ways! But it’s hard to be without my daughter – the rest of them, not so much. You’re right, when someone gets sober and family roles change, it’s the family who needs help and they often don’t want to seek it. Ugh. I’ll just keep moving forward and hope for the best with my daughter. Time will tell.

  6. My heart hurts for you. Your daughter will have a part in her heart that can only be filled by her Mom; just like you have one that can only be filled by her. I pray that her heart softens and opens to all the love that is waiting for her in you. I also think you are wise to build healthy boundaries around the toxic people in your family. Recovery is such a precious thing. It needs to be protected.

  7. Reading this just after the first Mother’s Day of my recovery to really hit home. I lost my mom to cancer while I was still drinking and I regret that she never got to know me as the person I am trying to become. I hope you are still looking at life in the graceful and appreciative perspective of this post. I am crying I am so affected by your words. Thank you

  8. Well, so many fateful things have happened to me in the couple of weeks I’ve been sober that I am taking as signs – coming across your post over a year later at a point where I am feeling pretty desperate is another one I am very grateful for. I know you said this one wasn’t going to be joyful, and it is truly heartbreaking, but it has helped me right in this moment, so thank you. I am also very alone – I have a wonderful daughter who is going through a lot of difficulty (unrelated to my circumstances), and I have had to make some big changes in my life to help her. My parents never gave me the reassurance and unconditional love I so desperately needed and so I struggle to find it for my daughter, but I am determined to. This includes staying sober, even though right now I just want to numb these difficult feelings of inadequacy. I want to be able to turn to someone for help, but I’m sat in an empty house. Your post has made me feel less alone, and is the first one I’ve come across (not read loads though) where someone isn’t blogging from the vantage point of being in a supportive family unit – that’s not to take anything away from their bravery, but gosh, it’s so tough flying solo!

    It’s a year on and I’m not sure anyone will even see this, but it’s given me comfort and gratitude for what I do have. I hope you are doing ok

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