Deep Conversations

During one of  our travels across town this past week my youngest daughter started a deep conversation. That is what she latter called it. Lately she has been struggling with many emotions over how she sees the world and others. She is completing a project for school on teen suicide and depression and this is causing lots of people to offer their own opinions on the subject. She then shares these conversations with me after school. This last week we were reflecting back on her recent struggles with depression when her Nana passed away almost 4 years ago. She was thanking me for understanding her need to be alone and decided to tell me that some days it was really hard to get out of bed and she did think of killing herself a few times. I thanked her for making the effort to get out of bed and her honesty and then told her some stories she hadn’t yet heard from my past. I have dealt with depression my entire life in some form or way. My mom, her Nana, suffered from mental illness all of her adult life. I remember her sleeping a lot as I was growing up. I don’t remember ever being squished in my mom’s lap and her reading to me or I to her, I have no recollections of snuggled next to my mom watching a movie or learning to cook and bake when I was younger then 10. I do remember one time she accidentally scratched my hand when I went to grab some scissors to help wrap a Christmas gift. And there was that time she sat in the chair working her puzzle book while I played with my younger brother a few feet away from her. My mom always seemed disconnected from me. Once I became an adult things did get better yet I feel that was because I had children and she gave them everything I had missed out on as a child. I explained to my daughter that all of this made me a better parent. I didn’t want my children to feel like I did growing up. I know my mom loved me yet she wasn’t very good at showing me and this did cause me sadness, pain and had me questioning my self worth. I have always strived to be a good mom and some times I failed. I was a young mom and I didn’t have the emotional knowledge to understand certain things. I struggled when my children were younger and I yelled too much, I am sorry for that. Yet they will benefit from my experiences if/when they have children because of my mistakes. My children know the love of being read too, the joy of reading to their mom, the safety felt when snuggled up watching a movie together and the fun of cooking together and so much more. Depression has been an unwanted family member to our family since before I was born and I don’t see it leaving any time soon. With depression comes the looming reality of suicide. This scares me so much that I took precautions when my children were very young and started having conversations that were hard but necessary. They all three know that life can be hard and sometimes they will feel like giving up. I have explained to them many times that they are not alone, they have me and each other always. If they feel like they are alone or they want to end their suffering by taking their own life there are others that will suffer from that decision. I would be devastated without them, yet I would have to go on for the others, our life would continue and we would have to deal with the pain and loss of them from our lives. I am so thankful that I had these conversations with them because there did come a time when depression over took two of their lives. My son and my youngest daughter have both suffered the evils of depression and they both were able to recognize they needed help to get better and communicate with their family about what they need to help them get better. My childhood helped ready me for the trials my children would face. I wanted to be a better parent than the one I had. I wanted my children to see the love I felt for them and the joy they brought my life. I wanted them to feel they belonged to a larger group, a family, and were not a little ship floating in the vast ocean alone. I wanted them to feel safe in everything knowing they had a open area to share who they are without judgment and without feeling like they were wrong in how they felt. I succeeded in my quest to give them more than I had. Although I stumbled and made mistakes I hope they learn from them as well to better themselves and strive to be the best they can be in all of their live endeavors. My mom taught me that life is not easy and not fair. You have to accept that and make the best of it and work at making your world what you want it to be. Depression is one of many obstacles you might face and you do have a choice if you will let it take over your life or if you will fight to get healthy and live your life instead. I explained to my youngest daughter I took a lot of what I didn’t like from my childhood and promised myself not to include those things in my adult life. Although sometimes I stumble I have succeeded and hope I have provided her and her siblings with a foundation for their adult lives as well. Thank you mom, grandparents and other family members for helping to mold my future from your actions in my past. DP writing challenge: Digging for Roots


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