Read about me
February 22, 2016 posted by littlewhitecottage

The white picket fence…


It’s strange the things you remember at certain important times. The smell of a perfume, the sound of a familiar song and a dress, worn repeatedly over many years that looks a little threadbare in the wardrobe.

I remember her hair. Long and straight and black in colour with a parting in the middle. When my hair is parted I look like her and that stings when I look in the mirror.

We are moving and the house is full of boxes. I say we are moving as we are literally moving today, the day after the phone call, as the boxes are being loaded up on the lorry so I was sat in the empty (ish) study looking at the message on my phone.

‘Can you please message me or ring me, it’s about your mother…’

It’s the kind of message where you stare at the screen and your heart starts to beat faster because you know what it means. As I dialed the number and heard that voice from the past I left a message in return saying I would call back.

She called back and the words ‘I am so sorry to have to tell you this…’ I heard as I stared across the road at the white picket fence and I sat there with my feet up on the silver bin being told my mother had died the previous week.

 As I heard the sketchy details I didn’t cry. It’s hard to feel sadness at a specific moment when you’re unprepared and you’ve not seen someone for 15 years and some years even before that.

It’s hard to feel sadness for someone who walked out of your life when you’re 14 who seemed to never look back and see the little girl standing on the doorstep watching the loaded car pull out of the driveway. The girl who sat in her parents room looking at the empty wardrobe with the hangers still there but not the clothes.

It was more than the smell of smoke that left that day. It was my entire family life.

As I sat in the study with my feet up on the silver bin I carried on looking out over at the white picket fence for some time after the call had ended. I was in a daze.

It’s finally over.

I’d like to think that she could no longer hurt me. There will never be the emotional abuse, the emotional manipulation and the downright nastiness. The shouting, the alcohol and her copious amounts of partners who she put before her children and her entire family.

There was never an apology.

There will never be an apology.

Even after all these years, that’s the thing I was still really hoping for.

And I’ve just realised it.

It’s hard when your mother doesn’t want you. At least not in the way that other daughters are wanted by their mothers. I was told my hair was nice so my mother took me to the hairdressers and had it cut off. I passed my grade 1 cello with a high distinction yet my mother grabbed the envelope from me, tore it open and told me I’d failed. She watched me as I stood in the kitchen crying but never said a word about the truth it wasn’t until my father reached over to get the letter did I know that I’d done well – why did my mother do that? Why did my father not protect me from her?

It’s hard when you find out that your mother goes through your room when you’re not in the house (my brother told me), when she shouts are you for things she quite liked yesterday but she might not tomorrow and when she does her darnedest to stop you playing an instrument that your are really quite good at – something she later admitted to whilst drunk at her father’s funeral 15 years ago. She actual said ‘I think me trying to stop you made you more determined and successful.’

I am confused now in a way that I never thought I could be.

How do I feel? How should I feel?

She’s dead.

Ding dong the witch is dead.

But I’m not sure I’ll be dancing on her grave…


  • Poor you, this was quite painful to read. My ex husband is a drunk and only cares about himself. Very selfish and has gone to live with a girl younger than our daughter in Thailand. I don’t think any of us will understand their total selfishness and part of me still feels sorry for him although he completely ruined our family. His behaviour still haunts me, but I have moved on and although it is very easy for me to say time will make things better – you will never forget and probably never forgive but it will get further down your list of importance. Your beautiful family are your future and I wish you all the best and send you a ‘hug’, you are not alone, although I am a complete stranger to you, I send you lots of love – Sue xx

  • I can feel the jumble of emotions in your post. My late mum could be very nasty and very often put me down or treated me as though I were worthless. I was at the opposite end of the spectrum in that she always tried to take over every aspect of my life and was very good at letting me know when she didn’t approve of my choices. Leaving home was the best thing I ever did and being 30 miles away made all the difference and she finally began treating me like an adult and in many ways our relationship changed for the better.
    Hang in there and take as much time as you need xxx

  • I feel so sad for you. My mother died when I was about 5 and I had a sister of 11 and a baby sister. Just after the funeral my father moved out – he’d been in a relationship for years, so my maternal grand parents gave up their house and furniture and moved in to look after us. Some weeks later my father sent a furniture van to collect all the furniture – it belonged to him and he was going to have it !! This meant that my grandparents had to buy new furniture and at their ages it was not easy. The most galling part was having to meet my father to get consent to marry – I was still 17. The only good part to come out of all this, was that I insisted that my fiance and I found my paternal grandparents, and we had some good years with them being part of my new family . Lots of love to you – just look forward and try to put the past behind you, where it belongs. Jacky .xx

  • Dear Emma, Please don’t let the past get you down. You have a wonderful family who obviously adore you. You are a wonderful mother and it shows in every thing you do with your children. I know what it’s like always needing approval from one’s mother and not getting it. No matter what I did it was wrong – my sister was the golden one who never did anything wrong; in fact she managed to twist my Mum round her little finger and against me. It did get me down, but like you, when I eventually had a family of my own I made sure to deal differently with them. I am glad I can say I never beat them, always treated them exactly the same and always kept my word, whether a promise or a threat to withhold a treat. In fact my grandchildren have been heard to say ‘You know Nanny always keeps her promises’
    Emma, you are very strong. Don’t take all this pain and negativity to your new home. Go with a cleansed soul with all the love your family has for you and you for them and build new, happy memories. You owe it to yourself and you will spread happiness and joy wherever you go. I’ve missed your blogs recently. I look forward to reading your new ones. I am moving in the near future – first time since I was married, over 48 years ago. One of my gorgeous daughters wants me to move near to her and her family. I hope to hear some of your moving tales so I can see what is ahead for me. With much love, a fellow sufferer. xxx

  • So sorry Emma…
    I’d been hoping my mother would start to love me even a little and now at 57, I have to accept it’s not going to happen, even after she knew I had breast cancer…well I just hoped and it never happened. I waited for a phone call, a letter, a get well card. There was nothing.
    I grew up watching her love my brothers, wondering what I had to do to please her, to stop her finding fault with me. I was well behaved, polite, pretty. I passed my 11 plus. I couldn’t make her proud though, ever. She mocked my hair, my singing, the way I stood, my friends.
    I blamed myself. I must be bad I thought and as I got older, it was just the same. She mocked all aspects of my life and then my children and when they questioned “Why does Grandma love our cousins more than us” I knew it was time to distance ourselves from her. My brothers blamed me for the ‘family feud’ although I tried to explain to them we were just staying away so we didn’t get hurt. They didn’t get it, why should they? They are loved. They mocked me and said I had brain-washed my children.
    I always sent birthday, Christmas, anniversary cards and presents. Mothers Day was difficult. I had to make a card…how could I send one that thanked her for all the wonderful things she did for me? All these years I have lived in hope that she would find it in her heart to love me a little but finally, facing cancer and knowing she didn’t care was the turning point. Throughout the chemo and radiotherapy I sobbed into my pillow. Like a little girl I wanted to be told it would be ok and be hugged and kissed by my mum. My children were scared they would lose me and struggled to cope. Did my mother ever consider their feelings?
    I’ve stopped the cards and gifts now. My health is better. I’m getting on with my life. I love ALL my children and grandchildren, unconditionally.
    BUT…that phone call or text will come and already I’m wondering how I will feel…

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