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“In only 14 years, my mom taught me everything I need to know for my life.”

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By Wiebke Frömchen

It took seven days from the day I realized my mom was sick to the day she died. To say that her death was sudden and unexpected is an understatement.

She was the center of our family, the heart of our home. She was the smartest and most selfless woman I’ve ever known. I will carry her smile with me wherever I go.

My mom committed suicide on Easter Saturday in 2009. She had been suffering from severe endogenous depression, and left without a warning, without a letter, without a goodbye. Sometimes I think this will always be the hardest part. It felt like a hurricane and I can still see the outcome.

Today I am only 23 years old, but it’s been such a long time without her voice, without her touch. At this age, you are not supposed to be visiting your mother’s grave. It still hurts every time.

Depression is more understood today than it was nine years ago. Back then and even now, many people do not view depression as an illness, but rather as a sad period in life. It is not easy to tell people the truth—that my mom committed suicide because of depression.

Now I know some things cannot be fixed; they need to be carried.

Now I can say that I survived, but the last nine years have been filled with waves of sadness—sometimes long, sometimes short, sometimes extreme, sometimes just grey colored. On the bright side, my father, my brother, and I became a strong team. My boyfriend, my family, and my friends remind me daily how blessed I am and how beautiful life is. I can look at old pictures, read my mom’s Ph.D. thesis, and smile. But when I am overwhelmed with joy and pride, I often start to cry, because the person I most want to share my joy with is gone. I always tried to fix my loss, to fill the gap. Now I know some things cannot be fixed; they need to be carried.

Nevertheless, I am happy. I am proud. Last year, when I graduated from college, I wished she could have been there. I miss her every day, but on days like that one it suddenly gets harder to breathe. In the weeks leading up to and on the morning of my graduation I cried, but the day was filled with joy and I know she would have been proud.

I can truly say that I experience things differently now. I have more empathy. I am not afraid of challenges, because I know that the next challenge will never be as hard as what I have gone through. I value my life and people more, and I express it often, because I know tomorrow is not promised. I have learned that life goes on—whatever you are going through, keep going; better days will come.

I know she is with me wherever I go, and I carry her in my heart.

In only 14 years, my mom taught me everything I need to know for my life. I will never be the same person I was before her loss, but I am extremely thankful for the years we shared and that I had someone so great to lose. I know she is with me wherever I go, and I carry her in my heart.

I remember one evening we saw a beautiful sunset with pink clouds, and she told me that when the clouds are pink colored, “the angels are baking.” Whenever I see pink clouds now, I think of her being up there in this beautiful heaven, baking her delicious apple cake.

Grief & Loss Health, Illness & Injury Bouncing forward Building resilience Family Loss of parent Suicide Depression
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