Goodnight by Angela Varney

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That day started out as any other day. It was a Monday in the final days of winter. I had gone to school like any other Monday. My mom had picked me up and took me home after school, just as she had done every day. We got in a fight that day, over something that didn’t matter, it was just harmless teenager and mom bicker. Something, I knew we would forget about quickly. 
I left the house that evening to go to a sports banquet, I was there most of the night; my mom and sisters remained at home. I didn’t notice anything different or out of the ordinary with my mom or her personality. It had been a relatively normal week for us. We had our talks about life and how after winter- things will get better for us. “Just a couple weeks Mom, then spring will be here and things will be better!” They would’ve been better. I was so sure of it. Life was not easy for us during that time, but I knew things would be better. 
I talked to my mom all day, everyday, and we were together all the time. We were the same person and it was actually scary at times how much. Our laugh and our sense of humor always had us laughing hysterically.
When I got home after the banquet that night. The front door was locked. This was unusual. I was banging on the door and my mom finally opened it. She didn’t say a word to me. I went upstairs and changed in to my pajamas and got ready for bed. My mom came in my room to talk to me. I never knew, in any way, that this would be the last time I heard her voice. The last time we would talk to each other. We got distracted by my dog who decided to relieve himself in the house. My mom cleaned up the mess. We said goodnight and that was it.
That was it. I had no idea what I was about to face and I would never think that last moment together would be it. That “goodnight” was our final moment.  
About an hour later, as I was laying in bed, our dog started barking at me. I felt like something strange was going on because the dog is always by my mother’s side. I got up to see what the dog was barking about. I went downstairs and my mom wasn’t there. I saw the basement light was on……I went to check why. 
Within moments, I was collapsed on our front porch as the ambulances were approaching my house. I was screaming for my mom. I knew it was too late. I was too late. All I could do was scream. My younger sisters were upstairs. I made them stay upstairs on the second floor. I made them stay. I would never want someone to experience what I had when I found my mom. Now, in an instant, at 16, I am the one that needs to protect my sisters. I was left to pick up the pieces.  
The days after were mostly a blur. Friends and family, people I didn’t know approached me with an awkward “I’m sorry for your loss,” not knowing what to say. Everything seemed surreal and a blur. Life doesn’t do this. But it had, and it had done it to my sisters and me. 
In the end, my mom wasn’t happy. She hid this from us a lot of the time. I wish she hadn’t. I loved her and would have done anything for her. I was devastated, my sisters were devastated and after she was gone I honestly didn’t see happiness in my future. We were heartbroken. I was in shock. It was the hardest days and months I would ever go through. 
The support of my family and family is the only thing that made me want to survive. And I did. I survived. At my mother’s one year anniversary memorial, with the most important people in my life, I thought to myself – how did we get through this?  How did we survive? I  wouldn’t wish this on to anyone or anyone’s family. Depression is just as real as any disease. People may not show it on the outside but it can tear your life apart inside of you. You can be screaming but nothing is coming out of your mouth. You can be standing in a crowded room but feel so alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My mother was so loved by everyone she met. She was such a special person that I will cherish knowing her and having her for the rest of my life. Everyone is a fighter, so let’s fight this. Let’s fight depression by showing kindness, and spreading love to everyone you meet.
Sometimes I look around my life now and I wonder “how did I get here?” ….and within moments, I realize that this is my life now and I am going to keep on living it for my mother. She would want that for me. I will live it for her and for me.  I will be her voice now for anyone who may need. I may be 17, but I am beyond that in years for what I have lived through. I am here to help any young adult I can, anyone I can. I love you, mom. 
Anne-Marie Varney April 2, 1979- March 30, 2015

7 Responses

  1. Dianna Matzo

    Angela, My heart breaks for you and what you have gone through. Your article is open and honest and true. You said:
    “Everyone is a fighter, so let’s fight this. Let’s fight depression by showing kindness, and spreading love to everyone you meet.”
    This is how I have chosen to fight since my sister died by suicide, so I am right alongside you.
    Love and healing to you.

  2. Julie Harris

    Angela, I’m so touched by your writing. My heart aches for you. You are so young to have suffered such a devastating loss. I can tell you have a beautiful heart and wisdom beyond your years, although you’ve had to grow up way too quickly. Stay strong dear one.

  3. Jessica fairfield

    Ang this is beautifully written your mom would be so proud of you. Your an amazing person and very strong to go through all of this seeing what you’ve seen and still have that beautiful smile always shineing. Your mom looks down on you so proud I know it she was super proud of all her girls. Stay strong beautiful. Sending love your way ?

  4. Joann Jungels

    I read your article and feel that you are a very brave person at 17 to write a piece about your mom that you obviously loved so much. I am so proud that you have chosen to share your story with us. I am so sorry for your loss, and pray that you keep moving forward with your sister’s on your journey through grief. I lost my only daughter at 34 years old, and can relate to most of your feelings, and we all grieve differently. You are strong, and I wish you serenity in your future as you go through this most difficult loss. Thank you for sharing your store with us.

  5. Rebecca Huff

    Angela, Thank you for sharing your story. It is well written and from the heart. There is healing in writing and baring your feelings and thoughts as well to the reader. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my 35 year old son on June 1,2015. And like you said after 1 year I asked myself how did I make it through. You are an amazing young woman and I wish and pray for the best for you and your sisters. And yes like other comments made, your mother would be so proud of you! Know that you will see her again. Love to you and your family. ❤

  6. Jennifer Lane

    I am sorry you have lost your mother, Anne-Marie. There is nothing I could say to make it better. It seems silly to comment. This is very well written. Thank you for sharing your story. Love and prayers.

  7. Barbara Buckley

    Angela you are so loved. Your mom would be so proud of you. I love you.