Lessons from Laura

Lessons from Laura

Table for a Mother of One

Lesson from Laura by Carolyn Bradfield

This Mother's Day, I've been faced with the reality that for this Mother's Day and all others I will now be a "mother of 1". Losing Laura last year at age 29 has forever changed who I am as a mother and a person. When I'm asked, "how many children do you have?", I now have to change my answer to acknowledge that my nest is now half empty.

People are now wondering how long it will take to "get over it", to move past the grief and return to the person I was before this happened. There is a simple answer to the question - who I am as a person has now been changed forever. I can never be, nor do I want to return to be that person again.

Laura's death didn't happen to me, it happened to her. And it happened for me, not to me. It's now my job to make sure that Laura is remembered and that the pathway that lead to her death is a reminder and a lesson to help other girls and their mothers not walk down that same path.

Grief has both a dark and light side

The Dark Side

Grief is a mysterious thing. You can be going about your day as normal, then something tugs at you. You see a picture of a cute outfit and think, "that would look good on her.". You hear a song that reminds you of your loss. You see others post about their daughters and granddaughters, descending you into waves of silent sadness.

You are gripped with the reality that you will never hear her voice again, take her shopping, see how her day went, give her advice, or experience evolving to the next level of motherhood, friendship.

People don't want to talk about it and just go on with their lives, and the flurry of people that remembered Laura after her death are disappearing. You worry that they will forget who she was, that she lived, had hopes for the future, and that she stood for something. It now falls to me alone to make sure that she is not forgotten.

The Lighter Side

After spending time trying to navigate through the darkness, I realize that the tunnel has lights that are guiding me in other directions. My son, whom I love deeply, has friends, a home, and a fiancée that will make a great life partner. Hopefully, he will experience fatherhood in the future allowing us to grow our very small family.

I've also had the privilege of mentoring and caring for others when their parents were not there for various reasons. We've shopped together for prom dresses, wedding dresses, or just for fun. We've had deep conversations about things that matter. They have allowed me to step in and be part of their lives, filling a mother-like role, and although we may not be as frequently in touch, I get great joy at seeing the young men and women they've become.

I've been able to be open about Laura's struggles and have had the gift of translating my thoughts into writing. As a result, a number of people who are struggling with addiction themselves, with their children and with their families have reached out to me for advice and counsel. It's only because of my journey with Laura that I can be in a position of privilege to give that advice.

My Takeaway

I will never be the "normal" I was before December, and I will never "get over it". However, I will be evolved, more purposeful, and more focused on the path that God has given me the privilege to now walk down. Yes, I'm forever a Mother of 1, but want to be a mother to quite a few more when they need the wisdom and guidance of a mother who is in a position to share it.

InterAct LifeLine

InterAct provides technology for Virtual Care and Opioid Education Programs for use by treatment programs, state and local governments and non-profits.  Carolyn Bradfield founded InterAct LifeLine in 2018, shortly after her daughter overdosed and died.

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