ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I became a mum overnight

Updated on June 30, 2016

Sophie and Sean are grieving for their parents


June 7, 2009

Today, my world collapsed. Mum killed herself. She put a coat on over her pyjamas, left the house and jumped in front of a train.

The last thing we did was argue. I was leaving for teacher training college and had just had enough. "You're putting your own problems before your children," I shouted. "If you can't be there for me, I can't be there for you." I'll regret those words forever. Did she kill herself because of what I'd said?

She didn't leave a note, but my brother Sean, 14, and I don't need an explanation. For the last 17 months, Mum's been consumed by depression - ever since my dad Rob, then 49, died suddenly after an epileptic fit. She stopped going to work as a carer and turned to alcohol to numb her pain.

"I just want to be with your dad," she'd slur, her eyes red from crying. "How can I go on without him?"

I'd begged her to stop drinking, but she'd drifted too far away from us. I have to believe she wasn't in her right mind when she chose to leave us.

Sean won't cry in front of me, but I know he's devastated and he's worried about being left alone.

"I'm not going anywhere, Sean," I tell him. And I mean it.

June 9

One minute I'm furious at Mum for leaving us, the next I'm choked with guilt. While I struggle to keep on top of the housework, Sean hides in his room playing computer games. Thinking of the old days physically hurts me. I remember so much laughter in our house before... why didn't Mum fight for our family? Didn't she love us enough?

Family members have asked us if we want to move in with them but our house in Rochford, Essex is home. All our happy memories are here - we don't want to leave. Each day, bills thud through the letter box along with the sympathy cards and I'm not sure what to do.

June 25

Mum's funeral was today. Saying goodbye was awful. She's buried with Dad - together again.

As much as it hurts, I know we couldn't have saved her - she didn't want to stay in this world without Dad. Being suddenly orphaned has left me and Sean wrecks. I'm drinking too much, but it's the only way I can cope.

My friends and family keep saying: "Don't turn into your mother."

I won't do that to Sean. But I'm only 18 and I just need time to get my head around all of this.

July 3

I'm not going to let myself get swallowed up by grief like Mum. Sean needs me. I have to prove I can be a mum and dad for him. So, no more drinking. I need to be strong and I can be.

"I'm going to look after you,"

I told him, as I stuffed his school uniform into the washing machine.

I saw the relief in his eyes.

My auntie will be Sean's legal guardian, and will look after our benefits and the money Mum left. I'll look after Sean and we'll stay in our family home. My friends have been amazing. I know I haven't been forgotten, and that makes me feel like the old Sophie.

July 13

Like a robot, I've been cooking, doing laundry and housework. I'm tempted to get a takeaway every evening, but I have to be responsible. Some nights, Sean helps me cook. We had to learn to look after ourselves when Mum was ill so we've slipped easily into a routine. Being in our family home is bittersweet. We love having photos around, and the chairs Mum and Dad sat in, but Dad died in this house, and Mum was very unhappy here.

I'm working part-time in McDonald's, getting up at 5am some days. It helps with money while I'm studying to be a teacher. Sean's in bed when I leave the house, but breakfast is waiting and his uniform is always clean. I feel like everyone's eyes are on me, and I don't want people to think I'm failing.

But the change in roles is taking its toll on my relationship with Sean. I'm the big sister suddenly telling him what to do.

I don't blame him for finding it hard. Today we rowed about his mess and his anger spilled out.

"Don't tell me what to do!" he snapped, storming off and slamming a door. "You're not my mum!"

He's right, I'm not, but I'm all he's got. Instead of screaming at him like a sister, I tried to work out what a parent would do. I'm going to look into organising boxing lessons for him so he can vent his frustration.

July 30

I miss my old life. Instead of thinking about what to wear on

a Saturday night, I'm nagging Sean to do his homework and trying to budget a week's shopping. I'm tired all the time. I had no idea it would be this difficult.

My auntie gives us an allowance from Mum's inheritance. It's not much but we make do. We do our best to afford things that Sean needs, like school trips. I do feel like I'm missing out. I can't go and work abroad like I wanted to. And I don't want to confuse things by dating.

The future overwhelms me.

I'll be the one meeting Sean's first girlfriend, getting him out of trouble when he loses his way. I worry about him all the time. He thinks I resent him but I don't, I just want the best for him.

Sean is about to go off on holiday with our grandparents.

"Have you got your swimming trunks?" I asked. "And be careful when you go in the sea."

Sean laughed. "You're fussing like Mum," he said.

I caught his eye and smiled. I always worried about him, but it's different now - he's my responsibility.

August 15

I stayed with friends while Sean was away, and loved not worrying about cooking or doing the laundry. But the novelty wore off. I missed being at home and I missed Sean. He came back today and dumped tons of dirty washing in the basket.

"Hey!" I chided gently, smiling.

"I missed you, Soph," he said, giving me a quick hug.

Sean's the most important thing in my life now. We're making each other feel whole again. I'm so proud of him.

August 23

I've slipped into a routine of being 'Mum and Dad', working at McDonald's and my teacher training during term time. Considering everything Sean's been through, he's doing well at school. He wants to be a paramedic one day. I want to do everything I can to make sure he succeeds.

September 20

Every day I get more confident in my new role, but I don't know what I'd do without friends and family. Their help means I can go out once a week, or have the odd weekend to myself.

Sean and I are determined not to let what Mum did make us bitter. We both get down sometimes, but we laugh, too. Sean has the same sense of humour as Dad and is always making me giggle, when I never thought I'd laugh again. Sean's not a burden - he's my lifeline. Mum and Dad would be very proud of us both.

SEAN SAYS: "Mum and Dad's deaths tore me apart. I started having counselling which really helped, and I learnt to trust that I wouldn't lose Sophie, too. I can't thank her enough for being such a great sister to me and I love her a lot."


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)