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The Day I Killed My Mother

Updated on November 23, 2013

Happier Times

My mother and two-year-old me
My mother and two-year-old me | Source

November 23, 1983

I'm in my mother's bedroom combing my boyish Dorothy Hamill. I see her reflection in the mirror as she creeps up behind me.

She's wearing an eggshell silk blouse and forest-green slacks. Dressed to the nines with perfect hair and makeup. A stark contrast to the awkward pre-teen standing next to her.

She approaches in a semi-crouched position, her fingers outstretched in a claw-like, grasping motion: "I'm gonna cover you with ten-thousand kisses!"

I'm confused by this gesture; the days of playful affection have long since passed. This is a phrase I heard many times before, but when I was still her daughter. These days, I'm merely the chain connecting to the lead ball who betrayed her.

I should tell her now.

But I can't. She demands perfection, and the news will destroy this rare moment. A rare moment of tenderness.

My heart races as I try to confess, but the words stick in my throat. They refuse to ruin everything.

Moments later, I hear the garage door close as she leaves for work.

She's gone.

The Beginning of an Unfortunate Chain of Events

Two days earlier, Joey and I decided that band practice during recess was BS. We decided to skip the practice and enjoy a much-needed break instead.

A fellow band member dutifully trotted outside to fetch us. We feigned forgetfulness.

We tried this once before, but this time it didn't work. As we entered the room, our quiet-tempered band teacher, Mrs. Brown-Merrill (or BM as she was known outside the band room) was angry.

"You both have detention on Wednesday."

What a great way to start the holiday weekend.

An Easy Fix to a Tough Situation

On the morning bus ride, life takes a turn for the better: Jen, my closest friend and neighbor, has drama practice after school. Her classmate's mother is taking her home afterward. If all goes according to plan, I'll catch a ride and sneak home before Mom gets out of work.

She'll never know of my indiscretion, and maybe I can be her daughter once again.

Bus Envy

An otherwise-uneventful day continues. Classes are dismissed for the Thanksgiving weekend.

I make my way toward the band room, glancing through glass exit doors at yellow rectangles of freedom. Do I dare make an escape to the bus and deal with the consequences later?

Doing Time

The heavy wooden door shuts behind us with a slam as we enter the dim and musty chamber.

BM commands Joey and me to sit quietly in the corner of the room while she gives a private lesson. But today we're delinquents, so we make the most of it.

"Bang your head . . . metal health will drive you mad!" Joey performs a Quiet Riot number for his audience of one. He's thrusting his head back and forth, chestnut locks flailing.

Tears stream down my face. I'm dying of laughter.

And the consequences of my actions begin to unfold.

The Best-Laid Schemes . . . Oft Go Astray

A disappointed BM dismisses us from the detention-gone-wrong.

We barrel out the door like prisoners granted parole, saying quick goodbyes and heading in opposite directions. The school nurse approaches, scurrying down the hallway. One look at me and she stops as if she's met the edge of a cliff.

Fear drapes over her face. "Liz, what are you doing here?" Everyone knows each other in this small, backwoods New Hampshire town.

Her demeanor has me paralyzed. "I had detention. Why?"

"Your mother called and I told her you weren't here," Barbara Band-Aid's voice is trembling. "She's very worried . . . hurry up! Call her from my office."

I glance back at Joey, who is watching this anxious exchange. He knows the story. The fool-proof plan. He gives me a sympathetic look of "Oh. Shit."

"Good luck, Liz. See you Monday."

"Yeah. Unless I'm in the graveyard."

A Day at the Beach

My mother
My mother | Source

Beat the Clock

I'm shaking as I dial the phone.

Now I've done it. She's going to kill me.

Mom's co-worker answers. Pat's cheerful greeting quickly transforms when she hears the caller's voice.

"Liz! Your mother is so worried! I'm hanging up--she's already left, but maybe I can catch her".

Clueless Franticness

I dash through falling autumn leaves to the neighboring elementary school. I see parents and children talking and laughing--weightless beings, free of heartless band teachers and distraught mothers.

Let's go let's go let's go.

The Long, Two-Mile Drive Home

I study details of the car's beige interior as Kirstin's mother drives us home. Kirstin is in seventh grade, a year ahead of me. I know of her, but we're not friends. At this stage in life, I'm just a child in her eyes.

She turns around in the passenger seat to face Jen, wavy locks bouncing, braced teeth jabbering.

"So Jason is reading out loud and pronounces the word HYPER-bowl," She giggles hysterically and catches her breath, "I said, 'It's hyPER-bo-lee, you idiot'! Who doesn't know that?"

Note to self: look up hyperbole when I get home.

Jen offers a nervous laugh. We've been like sisters for years, and she's worried.

Undaunted, Kirstin continues to report on the day's events. Her energy a pleasant distraction.

Flashes of blue and red illuminate her face as the car slows down.

We all look over to the right: it's the scene of an accident. Emergency vehicles clutter the side of the road. And there's a car that I should recognize.

The End of the Innocence

But I don't.

We pass by my house. Mom's not home yet.

Kirstin's mother pulls into Jen's driveway. My father is standing next to his work truck, still in uniform.

Can things get any worse?

Jen's mother stays by the front door and orders her into the house.

Meanwhile, Dad remains motionless, his face fixed on me. He interrogates with restrained emotion:

"Where were you?"

"I had to stay after school."

"You're mother was in an accident."

"Was it the one on White Rock Hill Road?" I ask as if we're talking about a new ice-cream stand.

"You saw it?" Confusion joins the party of emotions brewing under the surface. "Get in the truck."

The Scene of the Crime

I watch the passing scenery on this clear fall evening as my father explains what has happened over the past hour.

Mom was on her way home. A man driving behind her--he was a ways behind her, too far to see exactly what happened--said she wasn't driving erratically. But all of a sudden she slammed on the brakes and careened off the road.

It was one of many quiet, rural back roads in our hometown. There were no other cars nearby. And no evidence of a deer or other creature darting out to cause a reaction.

She wasn't wearing her seat belt. She was thrown from the car.

Coincidentally, my father was on the same road, a mile or so behind the witness. Arriving at the scene soon after the accident, he knelt down to comfort her. She looked up at him and strained in agony to ask the question of the hour:

"Liz . . . where's Liz?"

The Verdict

We're in my dad's apartment where he lives with his girlfriend and her kids. It's later in the evening, and I'm in the bed I use during weekend visits.

I lie here in remorseful silence, tracing a dent in the wall with my finger. The weight of the situation has fully pressed into my psyche. The pleasant bliss of ignorance and denial has long since faded away.

Dad's girlfriend sits in silence on the edge of the bed. She's strokes my hair back behind an ear, the way my mother did to relax me.

She might as well be scraping my scalp with a red-hot poker.

The stillness is interrupted by a knock at the door that sends a chill upward to this second-floor apartment.

My father rushes down the stairs. The front door opens. Behind it is an unfamiliar voice. It's a man who asks for Martin. Only strangers call Dad by his first name. The man introduces himself as Officer Something-Or-Other. Dad walks outside and shuts the door behind him.

There's a brief, muffled conversation. Dad returns inside, gently shuts the door, and shuffles up the stairs. He mentally rehearses a dreaded scene.

This is The End

Dad takes me into his bedroom. He closes the door. He leaves the light off.

The darkness is so thick, it's like blindness.

"Dad, turn on the light." I move toward the switch.

"No. Leave the light off." He's holding my wrist.

My heart is pounding. The blackness. The fear of what happens next.

I cry in panic. "Why? Turn on the light!"

He gives in. "Ok. Go ahead. Turn it on."

But I'm frozen. The blackness remains.

"Dad, what is it?"

"Your mother. She's with Jesus now."


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    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      4 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ

      OMG... This is one of the most touching stories I have ever read. What a heavy burden to carry. So glad you have written this, I truly hope it has helped you on this life's journey. Blessings, Bobby

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Your story touches me to the core. I am deeply sorry for your loss and the burden of guilt you carry. I pray that, through some miracle of wisdom, knowledge, love, compassion, understanding--whatever it takes--you can shed that guilt forever and live in peace and a knowing that whatever else she might want for you, clearly your mother's last thoughts were of her darling daughter, and she would want you to have a joyously happy life.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      A very vivid memory that grabs your readers. I'm sad that this happened to you and your mother.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      4 years ago from Australia

      This could have happened to any of us, Liz.

      How many kids have been lucky enough to sneak back home with their parents none the wiser? Or perhaps been 'busted' at the door, and forced to tell what really happened? There's no way anyone could have predicted that tragic outcome.

      If ever you write a book telling more of the story, please let me know. I'd like to buy a copy. You told this part of the story extremely well, and I am left wondering how that sad little child managed to cope with the cards you were dealt.

      I am extremely pleased you are a survivor. :) Voted up +++ and sharing.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Kenneth :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, imtii,

      Radcliff is like you, a very gifted writer.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you so much, imtii.

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 

      5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      I very sad story Radcliff. When I was reading your story I just imagined how does it feel to be a part of your life. Your life must be very hard from the beginning. Writing your story and sharing tells us that how strong you were all the time. I really really loved your writing. Giving you a vote. Thank you.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Victoria. I appreciate your compassion and kind words.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Sorry I didn't see this comment right away, Jaye. Yes, writing this helped out immensely, more than I ever could have imagined. And all the words of encouragement from thoughtful readers like you have been a blessing. I've healed more over the past several months than I had in the previous 30 years. Thank you, Jaye!

    • Victoria Baughman profile image

      Victoria Baughman 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Your story weighs heavy on my heart. It brought tears to my eyes. Simply one of the most heart felt stories that I have ever read!!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I came straight to your profile after reading your memories of grandma and her kitchen. This title popped up in the Featured Hubs box and, of course, intrigued me. I'm not sure what I expected, but wasn't far into it before I encountered feelings of dread. Something terrible was going to happen. Is this fiction or reality?

      That title can't be literal, can it?

      But, tragically, it was--or, at least, it was in your memory. Your mom's death was an accident, but how does a child understand she didn't cause it? The fact that her reason for her erratic driving, slamming on the brakes and skidding wasn't determined held back a piece of the puzzle, allowing--almost forcing--you to believe it was your fault.

      As your answers to comments indicate, you still feel that way to a certain extent even though your mind knows you weren't to blame for the accident. What a dreadful burden of guilt and grief to carry from childhood!

      I only hope that the writing of this story--so vivid the reader is clutched by a growing sense of impending disaster, then horror when it arrives--served as the catharsis you needed to expunge any lingering guilt.

      Voted Up and Awesome (no other word will do)/Shared


    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Venkatachari M.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      5 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very breathtaking hub. I am still wondering whether it happened really. Hard to believe. Your narration is so lively. It appears in front of me, the accident and her lying on road side. Very good narration.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Sha. No, I don't blame myself anymore. We never found out why it happened.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Liz, I don't know what to say. The story is extremely well-written, but the reason for the story is beyond sad. I can't even begin to imagine the pain you felt. I hope you no longer blame yourself. Did they ever find out why your mother slammed on the brakes?

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you so much, lrc7815. You're right--it could have happened to anyone. Writing this piece did help a lot.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Health Reports. I wish I always believed that. I appreciate your words of support.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, teaches12345, it has helped more than I had imagined. It definitely taught me that tomorrow holds no promises and no guarantees.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Jodah. I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      always exploring, thank you for saying so. I'm glad I wrote this because it helps to hear those words from kind people like you.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Kenneth: I just saw your comment. What a sweet thing to say. I really appreciate it.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Such a tragic story but one that any one of us could have written if even one minute in our youth had been different. Life sometimes deals us a hand without giving us the ability to understand until much later in life. Like others have said, I hope that in telling your story you have found some healing. Beautifully written with love in every word.

    • Health Reports profile image

      Jane Wilson 

      5 years ago from Geogia

      Beautifully written; I have tears in my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss, and that you should feel guilt over what can only be seen as one person's destiny.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Your story is heart felt. It reminds me that none of us has the promise of the next moment. I can't imagine the ordeal you must have endured through the years from this tragedy. I hope writing this helped to heal your wounds. Hugs and prayers.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow Liz, I just came across this shred on Facebook by Bill also. It is an emotional roller coaster ride for the reader. The fact that it is a true story makes it even more vivid and heart wrenching. No one could ever forget that moment. Wonderful writing, thanks for sharing.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I came to read your story because Billybuc said that it was great writing, and it is. I am so sorry this happened. You are not to blame. You were a child being a child. Thank you for sharing your story..

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Hi, Kenneth,

      Thank you for the compliments. I truly appreciate your words of encouragement!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Radcliff,

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be precise.

      I loved every word of it. Very touching. And moving.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it. You have such a gift

      for writing. Just use it without a selfish motive and no telling at how far you will go and how many

      people you will touch.

      I am going now to leave you some fan mail and become a follower.

      I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

      I am so honored to meet you and follow you.


      Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Randi. I appreciate your kind words and sympathy.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Liz, I am so sorry both for your loss and for the way it happened. What a terrible burden for a child to carry!

      This was so beautifully written, the emotions were so strong, almost palpitating. Thank you for sharing what had to have been one of the most difficult days in your life. Up++

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thanks so much, Cheryl. I believe that's true.

    • Author Cheryl profile image

      Cheryl A Whitsett 

      5 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      A very sad well written story. I hope you have forgiven yourself. Everyone has a destiny and it was her time to go. If not out looking for you it would have been something else. Hugs friend.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Nell!

      Thank you, Audrey. Writing this hub was cathartic. I feel as though it changed my entire mindset and perspective in a variety of ways. The encouraging words of kind people like you have been an amazing help.

      Thank you, Shyron. That is a wonderful compliment.

      Shelley: I know it intellectually, but sometimes--especially during the anniversary of her death--I get that feeling in my gut that points a finger at me. Writing about it surely brought healing and peace, and I'm thankful I decided to share the story. Thank you for your kind words and compliments!

      Thank you, Starbright!

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 

      5 years ago from Scandinavia

      Best hub I've read in ages. Thanks for sharing.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      You have written a beautiful, courageous piece that I hope has had a cathartic effect and given you some peace. You do know you didn't kill her, don't you? You have a marvellous talent that I'm sure your mother would have been proud of, and in using your gifts you honour her. With love, Shelley

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Liz, what a sad burden you have to carry. Awesome writting, but sad that it was true. My heart ached for you, I lived every moment of this through your words.


    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Liz. This story is so surreal. It sounds like fiction but far from it. Your storytelling is filled with emotion and the truth. Your descriptions are spell binding. I hope you have forgiven yourself and know you did not kill her. I hope by now you have worked through the situation, or at least have the peace you did not have at that time in your young life. Nice to meet you and witness your talent. Blessings. Audrey

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Came back for another read, and to share again, as it such a powerful and sad story, nell

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Rosie writes. That is quite a compliment. It did feel good to write and share this life-altering experience.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Amazed and in awe of your writing ability. Saddened by your experience but feel fortunate that you have written about it and shared it.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, DDE.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Day I Killed My Mot is an incredible write and you certainly know how to keep your reader reading on.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you for your kind and compassionate words, Sage. I truly appreciate it!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      Oh, Liz, I was hoping this was just brilliant fiction but even as I read it I could see the very painful truth behind your words. I'm so sorry for your tragic and sudden loss and the feelings it left you to wrestle with. Your writing is so powerful and moving, thank you for sharing.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Wow, Nellieanna. That is quite a story. It's amazing how details of these situations stick in your mind as if they happened yesterday. There are definitely some commonalities there that are difficult to convey to others who haven't had the experience. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for sharing your experience.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Such a powerfully told story that it's like being in your mind at the time, partly like in a dream, somehow disjointed, yet with crystal clarity. I lived through an incredibly shaking death of my much older sister who had master-minded my life during college. I'd fled her hold after graduation (at 21) and 6 months later, she and her entire family with whom I lived part of that college time, died in a massive car-train accident. She hadn't forgiven me for running away and I was well aware I'd have been with them and would have also died, if I hadn't.

      It was 60 years ago Dec. 13th and still vivid. The details of finding out about it are still haunting and its aftereffects literally changed my life.

      I'm sure it's not like losing your mother when you're just a kid, but there are aspects in common which are hard to describe if one hasn't experienced them. Thank you for sharing this. Curiously, I feel I know you, Liz, though this is the first I've visited your hubs.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you so much, Msmillar. I'm grateful for your words of encouragement!

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Vista. Writing the story out and publishing it for all to see did more for my conscience than I expected, or else I think I would have done it a long time ago. Thank you for sharing a tidbit of your story here; many don't understand those of us who were raised to have an overzealous guilty conscience. I'm looking forward to seeing your article--it holds a crucial message for many who need to see it.

    • Msmillar profile image


      6 years ago from Wilseyville

      Powerful writing! You have excellent writing skills. Clear topic, interesting and captivating. Regardless if it should be filed under fiction or non-fiction, you have talent.

    • Vista15 profile image

      Tiana Dreymor 

      6 years ago from Columbus, OH

      Liz... I was going to say, 'You did not kill your mother.' but somebody else did. I hope writing it out has absolved your guilt. I had a way of taking blame for things that happened in my life, because in some way or another I was led to believe everything WAS my fault when I was a child. My brother stole a car. How could that possibly be my fault? But it WAS. Things like that. I was expected to be perfect. But it didn't apply to my siblings. Then I 'came forward' at Bible Camp when I was 13 and was baptized the next Sunday... and for several months things were no longer my fault.

      Well, I am working on an article for teens where I bring out these things and although it isn't done yet, I think it is helping ME to realize I was not guilty... I hope this happened for you. Wonderful, heartbreaking Hub.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Sha. It is a true story, and sometimes I do feel guilty. But I also know that I could never have predicted how that day would turn out, otherwise I would have made different choices. Maybe the same thing would have happened had I told her, who knows? Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Lizzy, this is writing at its finest. I so hope the story isn't true. Your mother is gorgeous. She has such an exuberance of life on her face - in both pictures. If it is a true story, I hope you don't feel guilty. Something made her put on the brakes in a hurry. I guess we'll never know why.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Angela. Intellectually, I know that I didn't. But sometimes my feelings say otherwise. I'm grateful for your comment and kind words.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      6 years ago from United States

      I'm sorry for your loss. But you didn't cause your mother's death.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Nell. I commented on one of your hubs a while ago about a recurring dream I had as a child where she disappeared from the car while she was driving. Seeing your comment reminded me of it. It was a terrible experience, but it felt good to share it. Thank you for your sweet words.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Radcliff, I am also awestruck at how you told this true story. This must have been unbelievably terrible, all I can say is I am so sorry. Your telling of it was so moving.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Rebecca. I appreciate your kind words.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I hope it's not true, but either way, it is a very moving and well written piece. It shows a lot of talent.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Sallybea. I'm grateful for your kind words.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Crystal. It was very therapeutic, actually.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Martie. It's been a tough road, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger right? Thanks for your kind comments and votes.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      6 years ago from Norfolk

      Such a courageous piece of writing. No person should have to carry a burden like this - my heart goes out to you. Your Mum was a very beautiful lady - I am sure she would have been very proud of you.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, how courageous of you to write this. Thank you for opening your heart like this to us.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      And now for coping with grief and the nagging feelings of guilt....

      Voted up and well-written :)

      PS: Just read the comments. So sorry, Radcliff. Gosh, this was a hard blow by Faith :(

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      You're right, Carol. And even at 41 I fear peoples' reactions. I assume guilt in situations where I shouldn't. Not sure why that is--just a glitch in my mind, I guess. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, ChristinS!

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Oh my goodness, I do love you, Joe. You are far from a poor excuse of a friend! When we first "met", you said you could tell I was a survivor. I will never forget your intuitiveness--you're not a person who suffers fools or fakes gladly. You're always so supportive, and today is no exception. I appreciate you more than you know. Yes, this was very difficult to write, but as you can imagine, also liberating. When this day comes around this time next year--and of course I always say: granted we're all here--others will know what I'm feeling. And that's kinda cool.

      Aloha and mahalo, my dear friend.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, TripleAMom! I appreciate your comments.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, fpherj48! I appreciate your kind words and compassionate spirit. Thanks for the votes and especially the hug :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      From your hub--it seemed you were very afraid of her and her reactions. I am just sorry you had to go through this. I know you have had many emotions and feelings about this...

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      So beautifully told. I'm so sorry that it was something you had to experience. Truly an amazing hub.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Dearest Liz,

      Impressions...and most likely in random order...because I am filled and overflowing with so much right now...

      I'm sorry...hugs are in order...your mom was and your dad, in the darkness, a scene both literal and metaphorical...more hugs, dear friend...the overwhelming guilt...feeling for the little sixth-grader whose life must have taken a dramatic turn...the title, the cruel yet perfect this must manifest itself every single day of your life...the Liz I know, the very brave and beautiful friend I know, carrying all of this, her HP friends never knowing...the moment of vulnerability in deciding to write this amazing account of what happened...the staccato scenes, haunted with a portent of things to come, the title never far away from a reader's mind yet suspended in the hope that Liz is being symbolic here--oh, please, God, don't let what the growing fear suggests be true!...and if it is, how in the world do I gather what I want to say to her so I can be as perfect a friend as her mother was?, Liz, the truth is that your mother, like the rest of us, was never perfect, and you've got to liberate yourself from that untruth because it's stemming from your guilt...and, no, Liz, you didn't kill your mother! she died in an was what it was, and it's NOT your fault, and I know, weakly, that I'm just a &%$#@?+ sonofa+&%@# right now because, yes, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about...andI'msosorryLizdon'tbehardonyourselfLizIcanjustimaginewhatlifewasandhasbeenlikeeversincethatdayLizandnowIunderstandwhyXandYandZwerethingsyouwentthroughasaresultofthatdayLiz...and I hug you with a hug that just won't quit because I love you, my dear friend, and I don't know but can only imagine what it took for you to write this...I can taste the salt of your tears...

      Anticlimactically, voted awesome, socially media-rized, and shared. One more thing, HP notwithstanding, voted HUB OF THE CENTURY!


      A poor excuse of a friend right now

    • TripleAMom profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      I know the hub will be good when Bill comments :) and true to form this was very good. I can only imagine that this time was very difficult, but I hope you had some good support along the way.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Liz.....I'm very glad to meet you, although I wish it had been through a different hub.....I absolutely LOVE your style of writing are seriously talented......I enjoyed this hub until the end, when it gave me such a jolt. I quickly convinced myself at that point, it was a work of fiction. And then, the 2nd jolt, as I read that this is, in fact, a true story from your childhood.

      My heart is so heavy, realizing the egregious tragedy you were forced to experience at such a tender age....and especially, under the situation that had occurred at school. Your young mind and spirit must have been crushed into temporary hell.

      I cannot imagine....but I can send you a hug.......UP+++

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Suzie. I appreciate your comment.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I don't know what to say. Very beautifully written.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      @carol: Looking back, I believe so. It's difficult to say for certain because I was just a kid. But I remember times when her behavior didn't seem quite right, even viewed from a child's standpoint. She grew up in a very dysfunctional home, filled with domestic violence and religious fanaticism. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      i was trying to figure out what was wrong with your mother..Did she have emotional issues?

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Sharyn, what a beautiful comment. I'm amazed that I was able to touch you on some level. Trust me, I wish I could tell you that I made the whole thing up, but it's true from start to finish. Thank you again for your thoughtful words.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Wow wow wow, I came across your story that Bill Holland shared on FB. OMG. I truly hoped that it was not a true story. I'm so sorry that it is. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life with us. And please know that I am also in awe with your writing. You kept me hooked from beginning to end. I could see and feel the "hair descriptions." I felt like I was there watching you and Joey separate in the hallway at school. And so much more that continued to draw me in.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, chrisnstar. I appreciate your comment. Mother/daughter relationships can be tough, especially when a marriage goes bad. xx

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Aren't we just the kindred spirits, Wayne? It's funny how the alarming nature of those lights makes the memory stick. And yes, it's a true story, as I remember it. I'm glad I was able to move you in some way, because your writing often has that effect on me! I hope you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving--we might be dipping down into the 60s! Brrrrr!

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Yes, Sunshine. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I have detailed memories of many events during my younger years, especially of this day.

    • Radcliff profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Well, you know by now that it's true, Billy. It's weird how the mind retains details during times of stress. I feel like this is just a mess of word confusion, but thank you for the compliments, my friend. And yes, it was and still is a heavy load.

    • chrisnstar profile image


      6 years ago

      Similar relationship with my mother. I understand. Xx

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 

      6 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Liz, I just posted a story from my life in which I also used the description of blue and red lights reflecting off a face, so I immediately knew what you were seeing here.

      I guess like the others, I am assuming this is true, but not sure. If so, I feel for you. I've never seen writing like this from you, and I can feel the raw emotion. I hope all is good, and my thoughts are with you on this Thanksgiving Holiday.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Same question as Bill' this true? Oh my I can't imagine the guilt this young girl felt. You brilliantly shared this story with us...detail for detail, which tells me that this is your memory or that you are an awesome storyteller. My heart is so sad for all involved, whether this is true or not.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Is this a true story? Wow! Whether it is or not, great job of writing. If it is! What a load of guilt on a kid for just being a kid. If this is a story, great writing. If it is a true story, quite the heavy load. Well done Lizzy!


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