My Mother Died by Suicide on My Birthday

My Mother Died by Suicide on My Birthday

By Michelle Sutton
Mental Health Association Oklahoma Volunteer

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? Everywhere we turn there are new age gurus, deep thinkers, and religious philosophers asking us to “find our purpose.” I mean, even Oprah spends half of her time talking about it.

Well, I finally figured out mine. My purpose is to SURVIVE.

I have often thought that the universe is conspiring to kill me.

On the way to the hospital to be born, my parents and I were in a car wreck. I was delivered by a cesarean section before my mom was taken in for exploratory surgery.

I suffered a myriad of childhood traumas or as we now call them, adverse childhood experiences. These experiences didn’t stop me from being successful, however. I was a great student and graduated from both college and law school.

The universe wasn’t done with me yet though. Months after graduating from law school, I was jumped from behind while unlocking the door to my apartment. A man grabbed me in a bear hug and tried to push me through my front entrance. How he was able to sneak up behind me without me hearing him, I will never know.

A few years later, I was car jacked in downtown Tulsa in broad daylight in a state office parking lot. The perpetrator beat me in the head with a board. I managed to raise my arm to protect my head and he broke my arm before pulling me from the front seat. He made off with my vehicle and purse. I developed PTSD from this incident (combined with the assault at my apartment) although I remained in denial for a long time.

The hits didn’t stop there. A few short years later, my Mom committed suicide on my birthday. She called to wish me a Happy Birthday and then hung herself on the front door of my childhood home with a dog leash.

My Mom had struggled with mental health problems for years. In hindsight, I realized she had struggled with these issues for most of her life. People felt especially bad for me because my Mom chose to leave this Earth on the day she brought me into it. Some even called her selfish.

She wasn’t selfish. She thought she was giving me a gift. She didn’t leave a note but I know in her delusional thinking that she thought she was doing me a favor. She considered herself to be a burden to me, both financially and emotionally. If she could only have understood that I would have given my last breath and my last dime to have her here.

My best friend and business partner, the man that performed my Mom’s eulogy died 30 months after she did, in a plane crash. I managed to hold on to our business and keep moving forward. In fact, our business flourished.

I guess the cosmos decided I needed another challenge, and two days after my birthday in 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was shocked. All of life’s challenges to that point had come from external sources. I understood that enemy. I knew how to fight that battle. I did not know how to fight an enemy within me.

But I learned. I was very open about my diagnosis and treatment and chronicled much of it on Facebook. I did my research. I flew half way across the country for a second opinion. I had all the available genetic testing done. I learned all the good and bad about my cancer.

I chose a lumpectomy and radiation and coming up on the five-year anniversary of my diagnosis, I still enjoy a clean bill of health and I am cancer free.

It might come back. Another tragedy might befall me.

If so, I will not ask “why me?”

I am a light in the darkness that whispers you too can make it through.

I am a fighter and the universe will not beat me.

— As published by Samada.com

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