On October 17th, 2006 I wished my mother a Happy Anniversary. It was the ten year anniversary of her unsuccessful suicide attempt. The day ten years earlier was not the first time that she had tried to ascend into a hopeful world of cherry blossoms and smiling heavens, but this was certainly the time that it should have happened if it were meant to be. This past year, ten years after the incident, she decided that it was time to camouflage the scar from the gunshot wound that sat weary on her back. It was time for her to express how she feels now, full of hope.
My mother suffered from clinical depression for 10 years and on October 17, 1996 she decided it was time to put her despairing thoughts and feelings to rest. At only thirty-six years of age her body was fragile and distressed. All of her emotional turmoil bubbled over into her skin and left her looking and feeling lifeless. She was ready to be buried six feet under rather than just three feet under barely breathing, but still alive. My mother’s sadness was just how life was. We knew no differently and didn’t expect her to show interest in our dance routines or baseball games. As a young child I remember her sitting in her bedroom rocking herself to sleep while crying like a newborn waiting to be fed. She was hungry for the attention and help that she desperately needed for her to regain
human form as she had once known. With two young children at home, a husband who worked as a police officer that worked nights and slept days, and parents who decided to move south, my mother was a walking train wreck. My mother tells me time and time again, “I was lost in myself.” No one was knew how to help. Others did not believe the pain. The hunger was never satisfied.
The healing process was painful for us all. Through therapy, counseling, medications and support, my mother now lives a life full of joy and happiness. Our family now understands her illness as does she. Not knowing is the worst illness of all. This I believe. If only we knew. We all did my mother wrong, but have learned to make it right. On October 17th, 2006, my mother walked into a tattoo parlor to become a piece of living art. The scar that burdened her day in and day out was tired of being seen. The iris that now sits on her back is symbolic of courage and hope and derives from the painting created by Van Gogh who also suffered from such an illness. Some would call my mother’s visit to the tattoo parlor a mid-life crisis. My mother calls it salvation and the anniversary of hope.
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