The last time I saw my Mom was when I was around four years old, and for as far back as I can remember, I always waited and wanted for my her to come back for me. I thought about her often in a world where I was confronted with reminders of how moms and daughters are supposed to be together, how moms and daughters are supposed to do all kinds of stuff together. I thought about her often in a household where I felt very much like an outsider, hoping that she would come back at any moment and rescue me from what was an increasingly bleak existence. I waited and I waited and I waited. By the time I was 13 years old, I could wait no more.
After a short-lived running away from home escapade one night, I demanded that my father give me my mother’s address so I could go to her rather than waiting any longer for her to come to me. My plan was to ask my Mom if I could live with her. The hope was that my life would then get better.
My father pulled the car over almost immediately, turned around and looked at me and said “I’m sorry to have to tell you this Brooke, your mother died last year.”
Instantly, something deep inside of me broke. Almost as traumatic as the news of my Mom’s death due to a drug overdose was the realization that I had spent the past year believing in the possibility of her coming back for me when that hadn’t even been remotely possible.
Almost as devastating as learning that my mom had died was the fact that nobody bothered to tell me, that if I hadn’t asked, I never would have found out.
I was upset that I had been robbed of the choice to go to her funeral, angry that this information had been wrongly kept from me and shattered from having been so caught off guard.
This painful experience is one that has gone on to impact my life and my relationships in multiple ways. While I have spent more hours in therapy than I can count focused on healing from this trauma, I still have much work to do.
As a result of the trauma I experienced, I have a high expectation of trust in my intimate relationships. In order to allow myself to be open and vulnerable, I have to feel safe in that my partner will not lie about or withhold information from me that could take away my power of choice, catch me off guard or leave me open to getting badly hurt. Although I will be continuing the journey of my healing process for many years to come, I imagine that this need for safety in the area of trust in my relationships will always be higher than most. It is part of who I am, and I have grown in accepting and loving that broken little girl inside of me who so desperately needs to feel safe.
I have had my trust betrayed in intimate relationships. I have found myself with partners who, due to their own limitations, just weren’t capable of the level of honesty I needed in order to feel safe. It has been both devastating and a great catalyst for deeper healing when this has occurred.
These days, I continue to address and work through the trauma I’ve experienced as I strive to provide for myself the safety that the broken little girl inside of me needs. Some days, I wonder if I will ever find myself in an intimate relationship where the level of trust and safety I need is present. Other days, I believe that somewhere out there is a person who is capable of the level of honesty and authenticity I so desire.
At the end of the day and most importantly, I continue to work on loving and showing up for that broken little girl inside of me whose world was rocked so many years ago. I continue to nurture her, take care of her and discover new strategies for helping her feel safe in the world. I also continue to grow in taking the risk of believing in possibilities, the risk of believing in things I cannot see. The act of putting this blog out into the world is in itself one of those risks: the act of believing in the possibility that my sharing this deeply personal experience of mine will somehow touch and help heal someone else. I very much hope it does just that. I know the act of writing it and putting it out there has at least helped heal and touch me.
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