"She was filled with regret before she died. She felt like she’d failed us as a mother tremendously." "Did she say something to you about it?" "She never said anything, so I don’t have any tangible proof that she had regrets. But she had a very bad substance abuse problem. And I know she always wanted to be a good mother. So I separate my mom from her disease. I always imagine that my mom and an alcoholic were living in the same body. And I know that my mom loved us. And that she hated the alcoholic."
It’s okay to be sad. You don’t owe anyone a performance of being okay when you feel like you’re falling apart. It isn’t your job to smile or hide your truth to make other people feel more comfortable. If it gets awkward, let it be awkward. If people try to silence your pain by telling you to get over it and cheer up because you’re no longer fun or you’re ruining the mood, you don’t have to push away your sadness. You have to honor your feelings and trust that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to feel what you feel. You don’t ever have to sacrifice your self care for the sake of people who only want you around when it’s easy and comfortable. Their discomfort isn’t about you — it’s about them and their own limitations, and no matter what they think or say, you deserve to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. You’re allowed to show your feelings honestly. You’re allowed to talk about your pain and reach out for support. You’re allowed to scream and wail and cry. You’re allowed to be sad.