My Mother Died Twice!

Mom 1966On February 10th, 1991, my mother passed away. If you have read any of my previous blogs pertaining to my mother you know that she had a lot of mental problems. She also had a lot of other problems as well, such as being a racist. In 1986 when I married my husband George my mother gave me a choice, “Either get a divorce or be disowned!” Why?  It was because George is Hispanic. I chose him over my mother and that was the last time I saw her or heard from her. My sister who is 4 years older than I still lived with my Mother, having never married or having children, so as a result she too disowned me.

Me & George 1987
Me & George 1987

I remember this day very clearly. My two younger children, aged 13 and 15 were home with me in the early afternoon. There came a knock on the door and when I opened it, there stood two policemen. I knew it was bad news when I looked at their faces. I had seen that look before when the police came to tell me my previous husband had died in an accident. After verifying who I was they told me that my Mother had died the day before and my sister wanted me to call her. Although it had been several years since we had seen her we were all very upset.

I immediately ran to the phone and called my sister. When she answered, I told her I had received her message and I wanted to know what happened. All she said was “Mom died, I already had her cremated so you are not needed for anything, I just felt you should know” then she hung up.  I called both my husband and our Pastor. They arrived at the house at the same time. It was a very trying evening.

Fast forward to 1997. My oldest son had taken off on his own in 1990. When he came back into our lives in 1993 he got married and had a daughter. This is when he found out his Grandma had died. They had always been very close when he was growing up. Four years later he decided to get in touch with my sister. I gave him the last phone number I had for her and he called. To everyone’s surprise, my mother answered the phone! She proceeded to tell him that I had purposely lied to him to keep him away from her. This was typical behavior for her. Even though both of the younger children told him about the day the police came and I called my sister, he did not believe them. He promptly decided that he too would disown me.

About a year later he came back and apologized and wanted back into my life. Of course, I said yes. He was afraid my mother would find out and then she would disown him. I told him that she would never find out from me.

Tucson AZ
Tucson AZ

June 16, 1999, is another day I will always remember. I was sitting at my desk at work and I received a phone call from my son. He told me, “Granny has died!” To be honest, I didn’t know how to feel. My mother and sister had pulled a horrible prank on me before so I was very apprehensive.  I called the Funeral Home where they supposedly took her and found out it was true.  I had to make the 180 mile trip to the Funeral Home to sign a permission slip for her to be cremated.

It is a difficult experience to lose a parent. My Dad died when I was 19 and I was devastated!  My mothers’ mental illness had always put a wall between her and me because I loved my Dad and she didn’t (This is another very long story). It doesn’t matter the relationship, she will always be my mother. Going through my her death was bad enough the first time but it was even harder the second time.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

34 thoughts on “My Mother Died Twice!

    1. Yes, she did for a few years but she had her own mental problems and she shut us all out about 8 years ago. She passed away 2 years ago. She and I never had a sister bond, it was more of a “My little sister is taking up too much space in my life and I want to kill her” relationship.


  1. Holy Cow!!!!
    1. I cannot believe how much you look like my cousin in your wedding pic, who coincidentally married a Hispanic guy, who I like, especially because his family is every bit as nutty as ours…whew!
    2. Unless you have lived, and survived, and extricated yourself from the world of someone who is mentally ill–it is SO hard to understand this situation. Yet, it’s VERY common. People think that families are torn apart by tiffs over money, or property or “mixed marriages” or falling away from the church…but I would be willing to bet my Christmas Club Account that 9 times out of 10 it’s really about someone having a profound mental illness (I include addictions and substance abuse under this umbrella) and not what gets the public blame.
    God love you dear, it is a hard cross to bear, and nobody gives you a survival handbook to make it through. ❤

  2. And BTW….my mom used to tell me everyday that I would be the death of her, and that I was actively killing her, and etc. Okay, so why is she 80+ and still kickin?

  3. So sorry to hear about this situation Valerie. I can’t imagine how difficult this was/is. At least now you have your family with your son to create great memories.

  4. My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry that you had to experience so much pain in your life. I know how challenging it is dealing with mental illness in a family. I do see when it has strengthen you and made you the wonderful, compassion person that you are today. I know that dealing with mental illness in a family is very challenging. Thank you for sharing this very personal story.

  5. What a story! What an experience! What a painful journey! What agonising moments. Dear o dear, my heart goes out to you. One can’t even begin to imagine the roller coaster ride of pain you’ve been through. I hope your sister is doing well and all is fully well between you and your son. I also pray you know complete healing for all the hurt you’ve experienced. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I came to terms with all I went through as a result of my Mothers mental illness many years ago. My sister and I did reconnect for a couple of years and she passed away 2 years ago. My son has remained in my life ever since, so life is good.

      Thanks again,


  6. So sad when family do not accept and support each other. Life is so short to disown your family over personal decisions. I am glad that life is good for you now after suffering through some very tough relationships.

  7. Valerie, I don’t even know what to say. Dealing with mental illnesses in others is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. It makes me wonder about my own sanity! My daughter seems to enjoy taking the whole family on a roller coaster ride with her. Now, we’ve all said enough. The games are over. We are not disowning her. But, we all feel she knows exactly what she’s doing as a master manipulator, especially when we see that “gotcha” look on her face.

    I commend you for writing about this. That took courage.

  8. Wow, thank you for tweeting this out just now!

    I, too, am disowned by my mother because of my husband so this hit home! It wasn’t because of his race, but because she lost her control over me. The last time I saw her was at my cousin’s funeral years ago.

    Frankly, she was crazy and did me a huge favor because I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to disown her, even though she was physically and mentally abusive.

    I could totally see my mom pulling something like this!

    The pain of not having a normal parent relationship never really goes away, does it? My thoughts are with you!

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