Remembering How My Mom Loved In Spite of Depression

“I love you! I love you! I love you!” she whispered some of her last words as she fought for breath. I still see her helplessness as a spinal stroke paralyzed her and took away her freedom to hug us. She loved to hug us.

My mom was plagued with depression through her life (My Mom, Depression, and Love), so my child heart had to work through insecurities. All the turmoil of wondering what I did wrong that I couldn’t make her happier. That I couldn’t stop her hysterical crying. That I couldn’t stop her from wanting to end her life. I didn’t understand why she had to leave to go to the hospital. When she clung to us after our Sunday visits and sobbed and begged my dad to take her home, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t take her along.

It took years before I worked through my guilt and feelings of desertion. But the more I healed, the more I realized what a wonderful mom I really had. Although depression sometimes snatched her away from us or plunged her into inescapable self-absorption, she loved us deeply. Now I am amazed how she even coped, knowing more of her past and all she dealt with. Now I can see how God still taught me about the real love through her.

Today it is 14 years since she passed away. February 18, 2006. She was only 80. I still have times when I miss her.

I am so grateful for my Mom’s love. Though not exhaustive, here are a few ways she showed it:

I often had ear infections. I remember being not very old and crying because my ear hurt horribly. My mom took me to the doctor. I still hear his words, “SHUT UP!” That only made me cry harder, and my mom hurt so much for me that we changed doctors.

She believed me when others didn’t. When I was a sophomore in high school, I ached all over and would run a small grade fever. I was so, so tired. Even our family doctor couldn’t figure it out. I started believing others that maybe it was just the result of emotional issues or of something I was avoiding at school. When I sobbed because someone called me a faker, she hugged me and said, “I believe you.” Later on, my feet and hands swelled up and I was sent to a specialist. Finally a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. It was a long journey through treatment, but she stood by me all the way.

When I was a junior in high school, I had a tonsillectomy. They were more spread than they had thought, so they had to dig and stitch. I couldn’t eat for some time, and I remember feeling Mom’s concern and bringing me popsicles.

♥ She never squelched my creativity and passions but instead encouraged them. When I found some baby frogs, she gave me an old canning tub to build a habitat for them before I released them. She allowed me to make terrariums. I enjoyed keeping an aquarium, raising hamsters, and nursing a duckling back to strength in a box in the corner of the kitchen.

She couldn’t protect us from abuse, and she was emotionally incapable of recognizing it or helping us through the effects of it. But she did care about our safety as much as she was able. Once my brother and I wanted to swim in a pond under a bridge, and she allowed us to but she said, “Keep your shoes on” as she was afraid we might step on broken glass or barbed wire. (I already mentioned before of an incident where she was more concerned about our safety than hers in “My Mom, Depression, and Love.”)

When she was present, she allowed us to pick which cake we wanted for our birthdays. I always chose confetti angel food cake. On my birthday last month, I thought of how she always sent a special birthday card even though her handwriting had become more wavy.

Her children and grandchildren were her pride and joy. She loved it so when we were all together.

Even though my kids were adopted, she never loved them less than the other grandchildren. Once when she was in the hospital, my husband and I went to see her. We didn’t know if children were allowed in her room, so we left them in the lobby. She immediately asked us where the kids were. When we told her, she pleaded that we bring them to her room and said they are just as important to her as the other grandchildren.

I was already working on another post, but my heart led me instead to remember my mom’s love. I’m so grateful she can now dance and rejoice fully in Jesus’ love where there is no more depression.

I love you! I love you! I love you, Mom!

Please share your story about your mom. If she is no longer on this earth, how did she show you she cared in spite of her imperfections? Or perhaps you have no positive memories of your mom, because she was absent or abusive in one way or another? Is there someone in your life that gave you the nurturing love like a mom should?

“Amazing Grace”

This was one of my mom’s favorite hymns. We sang it at her funeral.
Her name was Grace, and by God’s grace, she was amazing, too!

31 thoughts on “Remembering How My Mom Loved In Spite of Depression

    1. You’re welcome, Martha. Blessings to you, too! I thank God for the healing He gave me and the clarity to realize she did the best she could with what she had. I know I need to take that to heart myself. Sometimes it’s hard when we can’t fill all our children’s expectations of us, but we do the best we can, right? May we lean into Jesus who has promised He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!

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  1. What a beautiful love story, Trudy! I’m so glad you opened yourself up to work through the desertion feelings to grow in clarity of how much your mom loved. My mom seemed distant but as I have gotten older I realize her shyness was a factor as well as her inability to fully explore her creativity. Now I see how much I am like her! I’m glad you followed the prompting to write this today. It opened up my heart.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. Also for sharing. You bring tears to my eyes. I used to feel upset when someone said “You’re just like your mom.” I know I am a sensitive worrywart. But after I worked through more, it doesn’t upset me. I admit that in ways, I am a lot like her. Other ways, not. It’s an honor now to hear I’m like her. 🙂 Isn’t it wonderful when God gives us clarity? By the way, I also struggle with being able to explore my creativity. I think sometimes life’s hurts can stifle it. May God help us to grow in Him and use the creativity He’s given us!

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  2. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your mom! My mother turns 90 this year. I remember as a child, as things were tough, she made all my clothes, even my winter coat. She cooked and baked and showed her love in many ways. When I was in college she stayed up late as I wrote term papers…i wrote & she typed but usually I fell asleep with my head on the table!
    Thank you for stirring readers hearts with your moms loving memories. I hope to honor mine as she deserves, esp on her 90th!
    God bless you Trudy and your family. 🌹

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    1. Thank you for sharing these ways your mom showed her love, Lisa Beth. Such precious memories. That’s amazing how she stayed up late as she typed out your term papers. I’m so glad you still have your mom. Give her an extra hug for me on her 90th birthday. 🙂 Sometimes I wish I could give my mom one more hug. But I’ll treasure all the hugs she has given me. 🙂 God bless you and your family, too! May God help us to love like He does!

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    2. I love your last post, Lisa Beth. It’s a great reminder of following the God nudge in our hearts. It’s amazing how He closed the door to what you wanted and opened the door to where He wanted you to be. Love and blessings to you!
      P.S. I commented, but perhaps it went to spam? I’ve been having trouble with that lately. I tried it again today, but now it tells me it’s a duplicate comment. I couldn’t find your email, so I figured I could maybe reach you this way. 🙂

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  3. Oh Trudy, this brought tears this morning as I read it, especially as I have been thinking and remembering my Mom also. What gifts the Lord brings to us when He pulls the curtain back and shows us things that might have been hidden from us before. There was so much love present! And I did not realize that you were diagnosed with Juvenile RA! God has woven our paths together in so many different ways. I am so thankful for His great grace along the way! Blessings, love, and hugs dear friend! xoxo

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    1. I love how you put that, Bettie. “What gifts the Lord brings to us when He pulls the curtain back and shows us things that might have been hidden from us before.” I’m so grateful for that. The more we work through our pain, the more our vision clears to see how God has worked all things to our good. I’m certain I didn’t have the pain you endure, my friend, but I do know the pain was brutal sometimes. Perhaps that’s why I feel an empathy for all who have RA. I was in the hospital for a while and then I slept for some months on a mattress in the corner of the living room as I couldn’t go upstairs. I missed so much school. It was so hard to walk. I also remember how upset I was that I couldn’t be a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. I was on high doses of Prednisone for some time. In later years, I was told I was fortunate my hands didn’t cripple from it. I say it was a miraculous blessing. 🙂 Yes, thank God for His grace along the way! He gives and gives and gives again! Blessings, love, and hugs to you, too! Through all we have endured or are still enduring, may God grow us to be more and more like Him!

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  4. Trudy, I cannot tell you how much I love this! (I’m guessing this does not surprise you one bit.) It touches my heart to read all the ways you can now see that your mom was loving you all along. (Good for her to push through and believe you until you had the correct diagnosis of RA.) I’m grateful to God for bringing you through the emotional healing process and giving you the perspective that you now have. I have some similar stories about my mom … someday, maybe I’ll make a list like you have done for us. Hugs, friend.

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    1. I’m so grateful it touches you, Lois. I’m so grateful, too, how God continues to bring me through the emotional healing process, and He has opened my heart more to “God-sightings,” as you name them in your book. I do so hope you will share stories about your mom. Hugs to you, too! May we keep looking for and taking to heart those “God-sightings!”

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  5. Trudy, I just had to go back and reread the first post about the challenges your mom faced and remind myself how she wasn’t able to get the kind of support and treatment we might expect nowadays. Her lovely warm smile reveals a radiant, loving personality. Your eulogy here is so tenderly told and it brought tears to my eyes. What a gift it is to note the hard but be able to see beyond it all to the pain that caused it to happen! I’m still a work-in-progress in this area.
    In fact, I still struggle to do just that when I think about my own mother and the pain she inadvertently caused me because she was unsettled herself. But, like you, I aim to view her more through a lens of compassion and grace, and to see her as a flawed, hurting person like myself. May God enhance the positive memories in both of us above the hard and equip us to see where we were cared for and loved! Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo ❤

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I’m grateful it touched your heart. It is not easy to find the good in the midst of the hard, is it? My mom was rejected by her mom. That’s something she never did to her own children, even though it did feel like it as a child sometimes when we couldn’t understand what depression can do. It’s harder for me to find the positive moments with my dad, but by the grace of God, I’m working on it. I try to remember hurt people hurt people. That doesn’t excuse their hurting actions or the lasting effects on us, but it it does help a bit. I pray with you – “May God enhance the positive memories in both of us above the hard and equip us to see where we were cared for and loved!” Amen! Above all, even when we didn’t feel it, God still cared about us and loved us with an everlasting love. 🙂 I’m so glad we know that faithful love in the midst of the struggles of this healing journey. Blessings, love and hugs to you, too!

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      1. Trudy, I’m thankful for your understanding. My mother was a cherished youngest daughter of three, and her own mother was lovely. But I think what probably soured my mum’s soul was in losing her first husband and then having an unwanted marriage of convenience with my father when my twin sister and I came along. I’ve written a few posts and poems about her over the years, though they’ve tended to be less than flattering.
        However, I do try to view her more compassionately now. And yes, having God’s everlasting love has totally transformed my life and altered my perception of a dysfunctional upbringing. I’m also aware of the ways I overcompensate to some extent with my own children and grandson. It really is a “healing journey” more than a destination, isn’t it?! 😉❤️

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  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your mom. Your memories point to all the love she had for you and as children that is one of our biggest desires. In spite of her weaknesses and depression, you still saw how your mom cared for you and loved you. Sending you hugs and love sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Hugs and love to you, too! I’m so grateful God helped me to work through some things and opened my eyes to see how truly she loved us as much as she was able. Depression can be so crippling. May our hearts open more and more to Jesus’ love that is forever faithful and perfect and may He make us more like Him!

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  7. This is such a beautiful post, Trudy! I loved reading all the memories of your mom and the ways she showed you her love despite struggling so much with illness. I’m glad you’ve known such healing and are able to see her love for you. My mum has struggled with depression too (though not as severely as yours) but I know she has always loved me. Learning about the different love languages has been helpful as it has helped me to recognise when she is trying to show love even when it’s not in the way that comes most naturally to me.

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. I need to check into those love languages again. It’s important for us to remember we don’t all show love in the same ways, isn’t it? Lately, since I’ve been hearing more about Enneagram personalities, I have been thinking about the effects abuse must have in stifling our true personalities. I hope you are seeing the beginnings of healing among your ministry with the abused. May we bloom with the love God has planted in us wherever He places us!

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    1. We certainly do, Donna. It comforts me to remember that God has the power to heal our lacks or failures. I’m glad God helped me work through my childhood feelings to remember the good. May God help us to open our hearts to the good around us, even when things seem so discouraging!

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  8. What a beautiful tribute. My mother also suffered from depression…but how beautiful to focus on – and celebrate – all that our mothers could do and all she longed to do, rather than the depression and its impact. What a gift and blessing mothers are. All mothers!!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I’m sorry you went through that, too. I love how you put that – not only to celebrate what mothers could do in spite of depression and its impact, but also what they longed to do. May God give strength and guidance to all mothers who struggle with depression and long for it to be different!

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  9. Oh, your precious memories are making me cry, Trudy! What beautiful acts of love from your mom. My mom suffered with depression in her later years, after I was out of the house. But it made me wonder if she also felt it while I was growing up, and I just wasn’t aware enough to notice. 😦

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    1. Yes, I’m grateful God has opened my eyes more to those beautiful acts of love. I’m sorry your mom suffered with depression, too, Lisa. Even though we may miss them, it’s comforting to know both our moms are now with Jesus where there will never be depression. May God’s amazing love and compassion fill us and spill out to others who are suffering!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your special memories of your momma. Yes, she did love you despite her own struggles. It is so beautiful that you can look beyond your hurts and see she very much loved you. Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth.

    I remember the back rubs at night when my mom tucked us in. She had lots of pain in her life, but I always knew I was loved.

    Maree

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    1. I’m so sorry your mom had lots of pain in her life, Maree. It’s wonderful that you still know you were loved. Amazing grace! May God bring more and more beauty out of the ashes in our lives that we may show love to others in spite of our pain!

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    1. Thank you, Nicole. Yes, she was a beautiful, loving person and mother in spite of her difficulties with depression. I thank God for her and also for helping me to remember the good things in my childhood. May God help us to open our eyes to the good in the midst of the difficult!

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