Battling Insecurity

I have finally put a name to what has been the hardest part of my grieving process. In a word, it is Insecurity.

A mother is often (and was in my case even more than I knew) the loudest voice that speaks the most truth to us about how valuable we are. There are of course exceptions of mothers who are, sadly, not a source of love, but even if a mother’s love isn’t verbal, even if her children don’t recognize it, chances are she is the one person who will ALWAYS take them back no matter how loudly they slammed the door on the way out.

For me the love was completely obvious, but I didn’t truly understand its depth until I was left with the void. The love stays with you in many ways, but oh how the space is felt. As Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters, says, our mother represents comfort and security no matter what our age – losing her is losing your emotional caretaker. No matter how old you are, this so clearly marks the end of “growing up”. I am now on my own in a sense; though I’m surrounded by amazing maternal figures and wonderful women, I have to pick up on my own where she left off.

It is so scary.

Her lacking voice leaves me with lacking security. I find myself weak in purpose, in knowing my value, and in driving myself to be the most I can be. Partner that with a first year of marriage and it can get pretty confusing to recognize myself in the mix.

Edelman says, “Adulthood, marriage and motherhood are significantly different adult experiences for a woman with a maternal void and memory of a dramatic loss. You have to learn how to become a mother yourself. You have to become that person who says ‘don’t worry, you’re doing fine. You’re doing the best you can.’ …Hearing it from the person who taped up all your scraped knees, and consoled you… and watched you take every step and really knows you, that’s the one you count on. That’s the one you keep looking for.” (Motherless Daughters, pg. xxviii)

I do keep looking for her. I keep waiting for that phone call that tells me I’m okay. I keep catching myself about to send her my latest project at work. I keep forgetting who I am. I keep wondering how to be myself without her holding the mirror.

I don’t know how to do it without her yet. I have, however, put a name to the ever-stirring confusion inside myself. I begin my quest to fight Insecurity in all its forms; to listen to the still-small voice inside of me, reminding me of her words in days gone by.

I have a feeling this will always be the toughest fight.

I’ve shared this song other places before and here it is again. When I listen to it I hear her voice cheering me on from the sidelines.


14 thoughts on “Battling Insecurity

  1. I had never thought about losing a mother and not having that person that speaks your truth. It must be so difficult for you. I sometimes think that way about my grandmother (who I lived with for a time), I think I’ll go visit her or call her and realise I can’t. But then I realised I have thought about her because she has been near and thinking of me to, and that’s comforting.
    Beautiful song too.

    1. I’ve been keeping that line in my mind – “I realised I have thought about her because she has been near and thinking of me too”. That’s such a good thought, thank you!

  2. Losing a parent at any age is trematic! When Laurie lost his parents ( and he was in his 50’s) all he kept saying to me is “I’m an orphan”. That never dawned on me until he said it. When I hear the word “orphan”, he wasn’t exactly what I pictured. I thought long and hard about what that new title meant for him.
    Although our parents role changes through the years, and at some point we may switch roles with them, becoming the caretakers, you are right, they are the ones that cheer you on! They are always on your side, supporting you in all you do. No matter how old you are, or they are, just knowing their love is always there, is comforting and gives us confidence and strength to carry on. You feel connected to something bigger.
    I am so sorry that your relationship with your Mom ended way too soon in your life. I know you’ll find a way to succeed with the memories and example she left behind. She was a wonderful Mom and she was very proud of you! Hang on to those things!

    1. Thank you so much for telling me these things! It is really amazing to hear from someone of my parents’ generation that you have experienced similar things – it’s comforting and makes me believe that I can get through it. Thanks for always being one of my moms!

  3. Well written… I can definitely relate to experiencing insecurity after “losing” my own mother. I wondered if I could ever have a healthy, loving relationship ever again if I didn’t have one with my own mother. Like grief, insecurity takes time to get over. After about 6-7 years, and being a loving relationship, I can say that I have gotten over that insecurity. Though now there’s a bit of fear of losing relationships, especially after having experienced how fragile and precious they are.

    1. What a process! It’s encouraging to hear that you have moved passed the insecurities. I definitely understand the fear of losing relationships too… One thing at a time I guess, right? I hope your journey continues to surprise and amaze you.

  4. “even if a mother’s love isn’t verbal, even if her children don’t recognize it, chances are she is the one person who will ALWAYS take them back no matter how loudly they slammed the door on the way out.”

    Truth. <3

  5. I like that you wrote that grief isn’t concrete as you thought it would be because it definitely isn’t. It isn’t a straight path to journey down nor is it an easy progression through the “7 Stages of Grief”. It is a rollercoaster, a tidal wave, a constantly moving force; definitely not concrete and sturdy!

    I agree with you that it opens your eyes to the depth of their love once they are gone even if their love was obvious. Its sad that it takes a death to realize the true magnitude of it but I suppose that is meant to comfort us in some way.

    I can sympathize somewhat with you about losing your mother and feeling forced to pick up where she left off because I lost my dad 15 years ago. This was well before I learned to drive, graduate high school, have my first boyfriend, etc…. all things he should have been there to guide me through. All you can focus on is picking up the pieces and what she taught you will come back to you in the most random of moments. Let her continue to work in your life and shape your future even if she is gone.

    1. I can’t imagine going through significant loss twice in a lifetime, you are so strong. The fact that you are here, writing and learning and talking about it… it proves your strength! XO

  6. My dad died about two months ago. What you’ve written has helped me to clarify what I’m experiencing. I think I’m transferring my need for my Dad’s reassurance onto my boyfriend. I need to stop because I’ve become so insecure and needy in my relationship. My Dad was my main supporter and my biggest fan. It’s really hard to be confident without his ongoing encouragement.

    1. I really relate Julia! My mom was my cheerleader; it is so hard not to put pressure on others to fill the void that is now there. I have especially put this expectation on my husband many times, it is so strange to suddenly feel needy in a relationship! I will be thinking of you and wishing you (and your boyfriend) patience through the journey… It can be very trying to get through this part. Nearly four years later, I’m still searching for ways to fill my void in healthy ways – it comes eventually, but I have a feeling it will take many more years still. Thanks for stopping by Julia, take care.

  7. I know this is an old entry on this blog, but I just wanted to thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t. I just lost my mom 6 weeks ago very unexpectedly. She passed away suddenly 2 days before her 59th birthday. My mom was my best friend, and I am lost. I am so lucky because my parents were still together and would have celebrated 40 years of marriage this spring. I have 3 amazing siblings, and we are all very close. I cant even begin to figure out how to go through the rest of my life without her. I told her every single thing, every day. Her, my sister and I went thrifting every Saturday. The gaping hole that is left is the scariest thing I have ever felt. I always knew that no matter what terrible things happened I could always count on my mom to make it better, even when I am almost 40 years old. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for a few years, but she always stayed positive, even when I was at my lowest. I don’t know if we will ever conceive, but I don’t know how I will handle it if we do now that she is gone? It gives me so much hope to read your story. I feel like I am reading my own story when I read about your relationship with your mom. There are many days right now that I am so overwhelmed with feelings I have never felt, that I don’t want to open my eyes. There is a whole other side of this grief, and that is watching my dad go through this. He lost his other half, and his best friend. It is so heartbreaking watching him try to pick up the pieces and try to fit them back together. My mom was the caretaker in all of our lives. My dad worked and fixed things, and my mom took care of their lives. We are doing everything possible to help him figure this out and also having to deal with the loss ourselves at the same time. The line you wrote above about having to become a grown up now hit me the hardest, because that is something I have felt so strongly since this happened. My mom loved treating all of us like we were still her little kids, and we loved being able to still be kids in a sense. Now we have to be grown up and do grown up things like plan funeral services and take care of our dad. It is truly amazing to me every day that in a matter of one phone call my entire life changed forever. I woke up that morning one person, and went to bed a completely different person…no one ever asked me if I wanted to be a different person. Thank you for your blog!

    1. It truly breaks my heart to know that you are without this amazing woman and that you have had to experience such a tremendous loss. Thank you for reading and connecting through the blog – your words also bring me comfort, knowing that we share similar thoughts and feelings. I will keep you in my thoughts, and if you would like to chat further, please don’t hesitate to email me: Take care, lots of love.

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