This is Doris Hall Heasley… and today you are going to hear her story. . .
This post has been such a long time coming… with my 5 year Blogging Anniversary (how the heck did 5 years fly by? Well, 6 if you count that #hotmessexpress first year of sharing #shoefies and #ootd grams on the daily before the blog was born…) coming up I wanted to make sure that I shared my truth here… out in the open for all to see so we can have a real TGG girl gang up in here.
I’ve been blogging for 5 years now, but the real story started far before the blog. If you backtrack through my internet past you will see an evolution of sorts… there was the initial girl who started this space, then the girl who had it somewhat figured out, and now the girl who realizes she will never have it all figured out… but who is really happy with the person she is… where she is going… imperfections and all.
My mother’s name was Doris. She was an addict.
Before that though, she was kind, loving, obsessed with animals of all kinds, an amazing cook, an avid equestrian, a book nerd, a hippie, and a lover of life.
She was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, and for 23 years a mother.
She was funny. Infectious.
She loved to have fun.
She didn’t get started without a cup of coffee.
She was a County Fair prize winner and 4H activist.
She was an amazing woman.
Before all else. Before the addiction. Before the abuse.
She was an amazing woman.
In her teens she experienced an event that forever changed her life. She no longer felt worthy. She had been used.
Growing up in the late sixties early seventies allowed for some unhealthy behaviours… and that’s what she used to cope.
This started then … and continued to grip her for the rest of her life.
I went back and forth on whether or not this would be something I could share online. I thought about how this might affect me, my family… but honestly… it’s the truth. It’s what happened and what threw me into the hardest time of my life face first. March 2010 will always mark me… it’s branded into me. I can never forget the significance of this month. We will start here… and then I will give you more history.
On March 19th, I was working at my serving job… I had graduated in December 2010, but continued into the Spring taking pre-reqs for the Masters program I wanted to apply to for the following year. The months leading up to this day were quite telling, but I wasn’t listening to the cues. I didn’t take them seriously. I took them for granted. I thought if I ignored the problem… it would just go away and would no longer affect me. I was so wrong.
It was a Friday… so of course busy… and when my manager came to grab me and tell me he was sending me home I was convinced I had done something wrong and he was firing me. Bless his sweet soul, he didn’t know what to do. My dad and fiance had arrived there… grabbed him and told him what was going on. He didn’t know what to say to me, but he knew he couldn’t deliver the news… they had to.
I walked out the back door… there they stood. I knew. Right then. Right there. I knew. She was gone.
What strikes me as the saddest is that I went numb. Didn’t feel a thing. Didn’t shed a tear. I called my boss right back on the way home and told him I would be there the next day. I had to keep pushing it back. I wouldn’t let her ruin another thing for me.
When they delivered the news… it took minutes (but it seemed like hours) for them to get it out. She was back in Florida, someone had called hotel security, it happened the day before. She died alone.
This is what should have been my last month of college, but I still had a semester left. I was so stressed because all my friends were graduating and moving away… and I was going to basically be alone. I can remember this day so vividly. My boyfriend had come to visit me for the weekend. It was Sunday. I had been trying to call my Mom all weekend… but she wouldn’t answer. All of a sudden, the phone rang. It was her. She was in Tennessee, staying with a “friend”, and had decided she was moving and leaving her husband and had come to interview for a job.
Are you freaking kidding me? I was pissed. First off, I was worried! I hadn’t called my step-dad, but she’s lucky I hadn’t because she told him she was at a work conference or something. The lies were back. It was back… the old her was back. I just kept these thoughts running through my mind.
She asked if she could come see me at my apartment so we could talk. I was so angry. This was the second lie she had told in the last year. A few months prior she decided to run off to Mexico to get gastric bypass surgery without telling me… that’s normal, right? Hard no! I should have known what was to come. I was so ignorant.
When she showed up I kept asking why. The lies? The dodging my calls? Why couldn’t she just be honest?
She had a history of this.
I let it go… over time… and June of 2009 she moved to Tennessee and asked if I would please live with her my last semester of college. I had every plan in the world to get out of Tennessee and down to Atlanta to be with my boyfriend at the time. We had been doing long distance for a year and man was it hard. I just wanted to be rid of the situation. It was killing me…
To my own demise, I agreed to move in.
That lasted all of two months.
The first incident. A Monday night of all nights. The longest night of my life. I learned what it must be like to be a mother to a teenager. I spent my first sleepless night out looking for my mother.
I got home early that day… we had made plans to stay home and watch a movie, but she wasn’t there.
I waited an hour.
I called again.
This went on all night.
I raided her room. Scoped out her computer for contacts. Called her work number… even drove to her workplace.
I called anyone I knew to call, but the friends she kept at the time were not the kind of friends she would be passing numbers out for.
I had run out of resources.
All I could do was wait.
I had to work the next morning, but I hadn’t realized it until I was already late. They called me so of course I rushed to get there…
Every few minutes all day I would sneak to the bathroom to call her.
Finally around noon that day. She answered. Slurring her speech. Saying she was sorry. I couldn’t make out most of what she was saying and I couldn’t get her to tell me where she was.
So I called my Nana.
After my Nana called her and finally got her on the phone, she got her location. A hotel of all places…
Now I had to really grow up. I had to call 911. I was the local one… I was the adult here…
“Hello 911, what is your emergency?”
“My mother is at
x Hotel I believe she had OD’d, her room # is X . Please HURRY!”
“Maim we are on our way.”
I have never been so freaked out in my life. I would have never in my life imagined this would be me.
I called my boyfriend and he hoofed it all the way to Tennessee from Atlanta. I went to the hospital while I waited for him…
I had never been around to see this side of my mother. The one who was using. The one who blamed everyone else for her issues. The one who would blame me on this day for her decision to attempt suicide.
But there I stood.
I left. A limp bag of bones. I carried myself down to my car and sobbed.
How can this be my life?
How is this my mother?
She spent the next few days in a psych ward… had her disgusting “friend” check her out early without even telling me…
That was it. I was out.
I moved out the next day. I was done.
August 2009- February 2010:
These are the details I will leave out for now, for the sake of my family. But know… so much came to the surface during this time. Things my family had hidden from me my entire life. Things I honestly still wish I didn’t know.
I had no contact with my mother during this time. Zero. Not one word.
I kept thinking my cold heart would unthaw and I would find the strength to forgive her… to let it go… but it didn’t.
Early March 2010:
I was visiting my grandparents in Florida and the phone rang… it was her. They spoke with her for a few minutes… and then she asked for me… I refused.
That was my last chance to speak to my mother… and I turned it down.
This remains one of my biggest regrets. Something I desperately wish I could do over.
Back to March 2010:
The weeks before and after my Mother’s funeral were total darkness for me. I locked myself in my bedroom 99.9% of the time. I stopped going to class and begged my professors to let me do my work and testing remotely. Thank goodness they obliged.
We had to wait over two weeks to have the funeral because of the need for autopsy and transferring the body from Florida to Maryland.
It was sickening.
This is why March will forever be the darkest month of my year. Period.
I watched my family collapse. I lost a relationship that was very important to me because I had no room for anything else but my sadness.
I let the darkness take over.
December 2009: This was the weekend I graduated… also the last time I saw my mother alive.
November 2008: My Cousin’s Wedding: Proof that Photos are Deceiving
There are so many things I wish I could have said to my Mother when she was still here to hear them from me, but this will have to do…
This is for those who have lost loved ones to suicide and substance abuse.
You are not alone.
Speak your peace.
Give them grace.
Don’t give up on them.
Protect your heart.
But don’t let it be hardened.
There is rest for the weary.
Summer 2010… when I thought that my Eating Disorder would mend all my wounds…
My mom’s birthday was Sunday… and I wanted to clear my mind of this. Share it with you … and give this tragic loss a semblance of purpose. I hope that her story and our loss can help someone from going through the same… or help someone who has feel less alone.
Until we meet again….
I miss you.
I wish you were here.
So many things have happened. I wanted you here. I wanted to share those moments with you.
Heartache, finding love, my wedding day, the struggles of my 20’s, the waiting game. I needed you. I still need you.
You never felt worthy.
You thought one flaw, one scratch, one mark made you unlovable.
You thought that if you were not perfect or didn’t fit the mold… that there was no place for you.
You were wrong.
You were beautiful. You were so much fun to be around.
All we wanted was more of you. Just YOU. Not skinny you, fat you, wife you, just Doris. You could just be YOURSELF.
The need for chasing an identity that didn’t exist… I will never understand.
You came from a loving, yet imperfect family. I understand the pressure you felt, I felt it too. That pressure was placed out of love, not a lack thereof.
Your joy for life was infectious.
I miss your tortilla soup and you making me dinner and us just sitting and chatting about everything.
I miss that you were the only one who openly discussed my ED with me. You wanted to help… and you let me know you were aware, you were there, and you cared.
I needed you in my darkest spaces.
I needed you here… when I was striving to fill a hole by adding more emptiness.
I needed you here when I tried to find vices in relationships and the search for “love” with the wrong people… just to have someone there.
I needed you this year… when I just couldn’t find answers… and I needed my mom.
I wanted to ask you questions only you would know. Things about your experiences when you were my age. Your body changes, the things you can only talk to your mom about.
I want you to know Luke. You would have loved him. His tender heart… it’s overwhelming.
He would have always seen the good in you. You needed that.
I wish he was here when we were in the depths of the darkness.
I’m so sorry you felt there was no other way out.
I’m so sorry you thought that money would take the place of a mother.
It crushes me that you never knew your worth.
You were everything.
Thank you for showing me a Mother’s love.
Thank you for my love for music and affection for the 70’s.
Thank you for not treating me like I was crazy.
Thank you for understanding when I would struggle so much with food.
That you for letting me be unapologetically me!
You brought the only stability I had ever known in my life… even though it was short-lived.
I was only angry that you took it away… not that you were you and that you were imperfect.
I never thought you were perfect.
I hope you are dancing in heaven with Jesus and a field of horses… just like you would have wanted.
I’m sure you are serving up meals in the kitchen in heaven just like you did here on earth.
I hope you are proud of me.
I hope you see the good parts of you in me… they are there and so present.
I hope that you pop in and meet your grandchildren someday. They will know about you. They will have pieces of you just like me.
They will be lovely, just like you.
I can’t wait to see you again someday.
I love you,
*This photo could not be more my mother… in the kitchen, with a book, a cup of coffee, and a cat named Spooky*
If you are struggling, please know I am here for you.
Always feel free to reach out to me via social media, email, wherever… I’m here.
You are not alone.
Suicide is NEVER the answer.
If you have lost someone.
Deal with the grief.
Don’t put it off.
It will not go away.
It will come back and suck you down when you least expect it.
I love you guys!
I did not share this for sympathy. I simply want others to know me… and my story… so that it can possibly help someone else. This doesn’t make me special or deserving of sympathy. I’m one among hundreds of thousands who have suffered a loss to suicide.