May 27, 2019
Issue 06 2019

The Club Nobody Wants to Join

Hi, I’m Bella; you may know me from being that local annoying busy body around campus. I’ve got a finger in every pie and I’m in every club. However, there’s a club that I don’t talk about, the one that nobody wants to join - The Dead Parent Club.

I joined the Dead Parent Club at eighteen. As twenty-somethings, we tend to think that we’re invincible. Nothing can hurt us; not hangovers, not crushing student loan debt nor the impending doom of climate change. But grief changes a person. The more steps I take through life, the more I notice she is not there with me.

Being a first-time mother was hard enough; going through it without the motherly guidance was heart-wrenching.  When I met the father of my child, I connected with him straight away because he lost his mother in his teens too. Does that mean I’m going to update my Tinder to say ‘Orphans Only’? No, but finding people who can relate to your lived experience is very useful in the grieving process.

My midwife would ask me, “Is there a family history?”

I don’t know.

Reading ‘Motherless Daughters’ was a revelation and one phrase has always jumped out at me:

“The motherless daughter, when she is pregnant, will consciously or subconsciously desire to have their own daughter in order to repair their own relationship.”

Woah, A little bit TOO real. Let’s bury that trauma deep. When we were getting our 20-week ultrasound and decided to find out the gender and the tech told us it was a boy, I literally blacked out. I was in such a state of shock for the rest of the scan that literally nothing registered. The whole time I had been pregnant, I’d been picturing myself with a baby girl cherub. I would be able to repair what had been lost for me and get that mother-daughter relationship I never had.

The disconnect to my whakapapa has a real toll. I never got to ask my mother about her biological grandparents. Like, who am I? I’ve phoned my biological grandmother once and then heard of her passing through other family. Obviously, there is found family - these days I’m closest to my stepdad and I hodgepodge together a group of friends, but I’m always wondering - is it enough?

I wanted to write this to let anyone going through the same thing, that you are not alone. We don’t talk about this enough, even though are so many thoughtless posts about ‘REACH OUT TO SOMEONE !1!!!1!!’

But what if you can’t?

Sometimes we are just comets floating aimlessly through space while it seems that everyone else has a whole solar system of support.

Withdrawal is real too. When my mother died in 2011, I didn’t go to her wake. I didn’t even start dealing with her death until 2013. And I’m writing this piece in 2019. #Growth.

The emotion I feel most potently isn’t sadness or grief or even anger. It’s jealousy. I am jealous of people with happy, stable families. Today as I am writing this, it is Mothers’ Day, and I can’t even go on Instagram. Every damn story is people thanking their mums or posting photos and I am green with envy and jealousy for those who have what I don’t.

This may seem trivial but another factor in having dead parents is not knowing my accurate birth time. For you non-astro hoes, your birth time informs your whole chart and is especially significant for your Rising Sign and the houses within your chart. I’ve been able to wheedle a vague “late afternoon, early evening,” out of my dad and stepdad, but nothing so concrete as actually knowing. Let it be known, however, that I AM a Leo Rising, and that truly does make me THAT BITCH. Everyone comes to me for astrology knowledge; it truly is my personal brand and at least 60% of my personality. So, how can I go forward without that knowledge? I guess I have to fake it til I make it.

This is a really depressing column and I don’t want to end on a downer, so here is the uplifting plot twist. Turning Twenty-Classified has been a real trip into my own mortality - I have lived half my mum’s life. So to celebrate, I made my Funeral Playlist and it is full of bangers. It starts out really sad with a bit of Sign of the Times (Harry Styles), and The Water (Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling). After passing the sheet masks around for the puffy eyes, I start to put the ‘fun’ in funeral with some Taylor Swift, Robyn and One Republic. Ryan Tedder takes us out with;

I owned every second that this world could give.

I saw so many places the things that I did

with every broken bone I swear I lived.

This column is not actually about death, it’s about living. Taking every moment and living to the max, because we don’t know what’s to come. Dare I say it - YOLO?

Skylight has a lot of resources and information surrounding grief and loss which can be tailored to individual needs.  

0800 299 100

You can also free text 1737 for free messaging with a trained counsellor 24/7