it’s so hard to care . . .

March 8, 2012Karen Courcy

Tonight I am writing this blog and giving thanks to my therapist Andy who has truly given me the vision and encouragement to write about something that is so hard to write.

I was reminded that  “The truth will set you free”  no matter how hard or how bad it feels inside.

This entry is actually one of the hardest, and I am thankful that I was given the strength to help write it.

I have started this entry, I have deleted it, started over, I have edited, and I have stopped and I have cried. I have shut the computer, I have walked away, came back to it, had more tears, deleted more, added more! and here I am.

This quote speaks truth to my writing tonight and that is – “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

This photo above reminds me of my mom. It reminds me of the one time that my mom was a mom. It painfully reminds me of what could have been, and what is not; what I wish for, but will never be.

This photo above reminds me of the walks we took in the woods on the way to downtown Lowell to go shopping at Macy’s and have tea at the corner tea shop. It reminds me that at one time, I had a mom.

My mom is back in the hospital, it seems she has done a lot of damage to her organs when she tried to take her life two and a half months ago before Christmas.

She took 30 of her pain meds (oxycotins) to try and end her life. She was tired of living and fighting in pain.

My mom has been in bed most of my life. It’s the way it’s always been. There was a short period of time when it wasn’t like this, but this is the life I had. My time with my mom consisted of going into her bedroom, and sitting on the side of her bed. That is what a visit looked like, that is what time with mom looked like.

I was neglected when I was a child. My mom would put me in my room, throw food in, and lock the door while she slept all day. When she was working I was in the hands of the abusers. My dad worked the opposite shift as my mom. When my mom wasn’t working, she was sleeping. On the weekend she would always be taking a “nap”. I lived in a house full of fear and loneliness.

Going to family functions consisted of embarrassing lies to people who would ask “where’s your mom?” Danielle and I would take turns as to who would break it to the family that my mom was not going to be there yet again. Truly embarrassing to be at family functions where everyone else’s mom was there, but not ours. NOT MY MOM!

School functions when I was a kid were much like the same. Excuse after excuse. Seeing other kids moms being there, but my mom was home sleeping. When she did show up to any kind of event, there would be chuckles from other kids laughing at her weight. Kids would say “your mom is fat”! My heart broke into a million pieces because I loved my mom. I would run to the school bathroom and CRY that someone called my mom fat.

It got to the point that I started to become embarrassed. I loved her, but deep inside I was starting to become embarrassed of the mom I had, vs. the mom everyone else had. I hated making the excuses, I hated not having a mom to cuddle me and be there for me like everyone else’s mom was.

Time with my mom out shopping consisted of her having to sit every 10 minutes because her legs would give out, or she was too tired to last too long. She would want to go back home and go back to bed. Fun times out only lasted a little while until it was back home where she got into her nightgown and went to bed.

As time passed by, it got worse. My mom started to gain even more weight, she started to retreat and not take care of herself, and she pretty much gave up. Today, here we are, she has been house bound for 17 years, and bed bound the last 3 years. She has become so consumed to her space that she developed agoraphobia (afraid of the outside).

The doctors always said that she never took care of herself.. and she didn’t, she never did take care of herself. She just consumed within herself, and I have tried to help her many times to no avail. Alot of people have tried to help, she just made excuses after excuses.

It’s hard to have compassion and care for someone who has never been there for me like she should have. My mom was abusive as well. She did things to me that I never thought I could forgive her for doing – but I still loved her, because a daughter needs a mom, and that was a huge void that was in my heart. I was willing to take whatever mom she was, just to say I had a mom.

One of the most painful memories of my mom and her neglect towards me was when I was sick at the age of 8 throwing up. Instead of her being there for me and comforting me, she handed me a towel to clean up my own mess. I sat there on the wooden floor, throwing up, while cleaning up my own vomit!

Today I suffer a fear of vomiting because of that. I suffer from anxiety when I am sick because I never had anyone to take care of me, I took care of myself, I had ME and that is all I had. I took care of myself, and that is all I knew.

2 months ago, when I went up to NH to face my past, and to see my mom in the hospital after her attempt to end her life – I walked into her hospital room, and I walked over to her bed, and I cried into her shoulder and neck. I cried not because she was in the hospital or tried to end her life, I cried because I was grieving the mom I don’t have, and the mom I wish I had.

The 2 words that changed everything for me in that moment was when she said “Don’t cry”. When she said those words, I lifted my head and looked at her, and that is when everything changed inside. It was that moment that I realized I was going to come back to Georgia and turn my healing away from them, and onto me.

Those 2 words made me see the lies I have lived my life behind. Those 2 words made me see the very reason why I couldn’t cry at my Nana’s funeral when she died. Those 2 words made me see that I needed to walk away, and heal for ME.

In that moment I realized that nothing is ever going to change. My mom is still going to be the mom in bed; the mom who puts herself first, and the mom who will never allow me to feel how I need to feel.

When that happened I texted my therapist right away and said “things are going to change when I get home”. He was a little excited by the text, didn’t know what it meant until I got home.

I sit here today, 2 and a half months into changing my healing towards ME, and I get the phone call that my mom is back in the hospital. What hurt the most? I almost didn’t care. When I realized I didn’t care, that is when I broke down! I realized that I really am on my path towards me, I am not running towards my mother or my family like I used to.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am the most caring and compassionate person out there. I will do anything for anyone. I care so much about other people and their feelings, but when I was given the phone number to my mom’s hospital room a few days ago, I just couldn’t bring myself to call. It hurt, and I cried about it. I cried in session saying “Why don’t I care? Why am I not calling her?”

Deep inside I know why. I just cannot do it anymore! I cannot put myself 2nd; I cannot have any more hopes given to me that my mom is going to get better. I cannot continue to hope for something that is not there, it hurts too much.

When I came home from NH after seeing her, I shifted my healing towards me, and I swore I would never look back. I have suffered; I have cared for far too long. I have cared more than I should have given the life of neglect I was given.

When I was asked to call her, I prayed about it. I talked to my support about it, I left the paper on my desk for days!

When I prayed about it, God kept saying to me “do the right thing”. I called my mom yesterday. I upped my voice, I put a smile on my face, I put on the optimism, I opened my heart and I said “Hi Mom, How are you? Are you doing OK? What do they plan to do? Are you comfortable? I want you to know that I am going to say a prayer, and I love you. I want you to know that I am having the church pray for you too. I hope that they will be able to do the surgery and get you well again, I love you mom“.

I hung up, and I cried! I did the right thing. I am a child of God, and I opened my heart to do the right thing for my mom. But when I hung up, I knew no matter what the DR’s fix, no matter how well they get her, no matter how many operations they plan to get her to where she can be healthy again, it will never change who she is.

My mom is not the mom she should have been, she will never be the mom I need her to be, and sadly enough, she will never be able to fix it. My heart is broke


  • …..

    March 8, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Oh Karen, I so so so get this. I didn’t have a real mom either, and in a lot of ways, it feels worse than the sexual abuse.

    My heart feels sad for you. Good for you for speaking your truth, though. No more secrets.

    Praying for you!

    1. Karen Beth Courcy

      March 8, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      Thank you ….

      I have been so hurt over writing this piece. It’s the one thing that I have longed for more than anything in my life. I need a mom in my life.. even today over 40 years old. People often ask me, how can you long for something you never had? It’s a thing inside we are build into us.. we need a mom’s love. I never had it, but I want it.

      Thank you for your nice comment… and YES I agree with you, it does feel worse than the sexual abuse, because a mom is SUPPOSED to love you, sexual abuse is not supposed to happen, so when you are neglected and cheated by those who are supposed to love you, it feels WORSE.. yes you are so right!

      This was hard to write, this will be hard to be with tonight, but thank you for your prayers… 🙂

  • …..

    March 8, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    And I wanted to add…I had one of those moments with my mom too a couple of years ago. She had been missing for days, and when I finally found her, she was in WalMart cheerfully talking on the phone with me as if nothing had happened. I told her how scared I had been and how I thought she was dead, and she started screaming at me. I felt something just shut down inside, like someone flipped a switch. I knew right then that she would never be who I needed her to be, and that I just had to accept my caretaker role, do what was necessary, and let it go. It was sad, but a relief too.

    You are doing what’s right for you. I hope you can take a big breath and know that it’s okay to do that.

    1. Karen Beth Courcy

      March 8, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      WOW, your mom was missing and never told you where she was? that would have scared me as well, that is horrible! so your the caretaker? boy do I know what that is like. I am sorry for your loss in your mom too.. I hope I can take a big breath too

      your comment was so nice, thank you for sharing your story..

      1. …..

        March 8, 2012 at 10:51 PM

        Yes…but I’m an adult, and it helped me see where to draw the line…just like with you and your mom in the hospital.

        I hope you find some peace tonight after being so brave and sharing your story. <3

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