The phone call

Weeks later, we were at Nordstrom downtown Seattle and Mom wanted make up for her scar on her wrist. I was mortified when she approached a woman at a counter and asked for help. She showed her scar on her wrist and the woman behind the counter after an initial shocked look, was gracious and found something for my mom to cover up the scar.

Unfortunately, my internal scar never went away.

I am amazed I made it through the quarter and graduated.

52 thoughts on “The phone call

  1. Oh my EA, how brave of you to share that story. I cannot imagine how hard and horrifying that call and the follow up must have been for mom and for you, plus carrying that memory since and now reliving it. Just so hard all around. Hugs to you.

    • I spent a lot of time talking with my aunt during her visit and it brought up many memories for me. I remember being so focused on how the hotline could be so unprofessional to call me and then not tell me anything. I think that’s where I put a lot of my energy.

  2. What a story and thing to live through. I’m sorry this happened to you but am glad that you’ve found a way to make sense of it now. I have many external scars, easy to explain, but the internal ones are elusive. Great topic to think about.

  3. My heart goes out to you. What a hard, traumatic thing for you to go through! Thanks for sharing something so personal. We all have scars and a lot of times the inner ones are the most painful ones.
    My child bears scars from “cutting”, I don’t have the physical scars of that, but I do carry the internal ones of that time, knowing they were hurting and not being able to fix it. They are doing very well now thankfully, but those scars will remain.
    And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, It gives him opportunity to share his story and pass on hope to someone else who may be hurting.

    • Thank you for sharing your son’s story. I think going through difficult times can make us more empathetic and caring for others. You never know what someone else is going through.

  4. Oh sweetie. Thank you for sharing. Your mom’s matter-of-fact shopping trip and a desire to find the right cover-up reminded me of taking one of my former students to a cosmetic counter to get a thick, waterproof foundation to cover the scars on her arms from an attempted suicide and months of self-mutilating behavior. She became very adept at handling people’s gawks and gaping looks and simply said “that was part of my life before” and the trip to the department store to get cover up was a monumental moment in her recovery. She chose to use the make-up only when necessary, to help avoid the need to talk about her past with complete strangers, but as time went by, she was less and less inclined to bother. She even began wearing short sleeve and sleeveless shirts and today? She has some empowering tattoos that wind around her scars and she’s proud of every bit of the design.
    I cannot imagine what it was like for you to make that 45-minute drive home that night and all that you did for your mother from that moment forward. Sending big hugs…and admiration. Carrying scars – whether visible or not – seems to be the stuff that connects so many of us and you just added to that richness. 💕💕💕

    • I knew instantly that it was my mom. It was a difficult time in my life as a college student. I was talking to my aunt about that during her recent visit. Not only did I get hit by a pick-up truck as a pedestrian, I had my parents lives unraveling.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. The drive back home had to be so challenging. It’s one thing to not be able to tell you anything, but I feel they had to do something to help relieve some of your stress. Wowwww. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    • Thank you, Brian. I remember being so upset that the suicide hotline would call me and then give me no information. Your story of witnessing your father’s heart attack shows that we all had struggles growing up.

  6. What a nightmare for you (and your mom). My mother was also traumatized by divorce, but I think maybe motherhood was just as bad. I was too young to know about it when she was institutionalized for a time.

    It sounds like you had to deal with some very difficult situations. Thanks for sharing.

    I have plenty of external scars and they don’t bother me a bit. Parental rejection and abuse probably add to the internal scars, but they have faded greatly over time.

  7. How difficult for you and your mom! I’m so glad you were there for her and I hope there were people there for you, too. Life is so hard — too hard, seemingly unbearable at times. We all need someone we can count on who will be there for us. I’m thankful your mom was able to reach out to the suicide hotline. I’m glad they were there. I’m glad someone there reached out to you! Thank you for your honesty in telling this story. I think this will help someone going through something similar. Hopefully, it helped you in telling it. Hugs to you! Mona

  8. I am sure your mom was happy to have you around. I can relate to this post. My mom had a very strange relationship with her sister and her mom towards the end of her mom’s life. I think there was some suspicion over the estate (which was big), etc. My grandfather was a labor union organizer on the docks, owned a candy store, etc. more interesting activity. Anyway. my aunt and I became friends later in life after my mom passed away. I was supportive of my mom’s moods and crying over her family. I totally believe her but unfortunately there was little I could do over than listen and walk up that big hill in the Catskills which is kind of way when in a jam, I walk. Sometimes being there is the best thing. Enjoy your holidays, bleuwater! Wishing you the best.

  9. Wow, Elizabeth. Amazing that you made it through that quarter as well. What a complicated situation to have to traverse at a relatively young age. I’m inspired by your strength.

  10. Wow, what a traumatic and tragic story Elizabeth. I’m so sorry. I can only imagine how an experience like that would be difficult to heal. I don’t know how you finished the semester and graduated. Amazing. It makes you aware how much we affect others with the decisions we make. It’s not just about your mother’s attempted suicide but how that completely changed both your college experience, and I imagine, it has shadowed much of your life. You had find your own strength to survive and you did. Hugs, C

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I think my mom’s passing this year and my visit with my aunt dusted off some memories for me. College years are supposed to be some of the best in our lives, and in some ways mine were. I recently read in the WSJ that even as adults, we’re still affected by our parents divorces. Here’s to less drama for our children and future generations!

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