The Hotflash inc podcast

73. SOLO: I had a good mother

May 13, 2023 Ann Marie McQueen Episode 73
The Hotflash inc podcast
73. SOLO: I had a good mother
Show Notes Transcript

A solo episode where I talk about my mom.

She died right after she turned 53. 

I am about to turn 53. 

This has been a thing. 

This is a thing for people. 

Also: the gifts my mom gave me by dying young, the message I want to give you about living courageously, with fear, honoring the ones we love that we lose, energy, breaking generational barriers and some funny stories, possibly involving cakes intentionally made to resemble poop.  

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I wanna thank everyone for listening. You know, the numbers have been growing and I'm trying not to be obsessed with numbers, but it's closing in on 70,000 downloads, which I think is is pretty crazy when you think about it. If you'd like the podcast, would you leave a review? I would love it. I know everyone's begging for a little piece of your attention, but that would make me so happy. That would mean the world to me and, and rate it, because I really think that helps. Get it out there and share it if you feel like it or just listen. You know, I'm not gonna be mad at you. I'm not even gonna know. So, There's that. I've tried to record this podcast I think five times. The first time I recorded it in my car and I was sobbing through it. I recorded it a couple of days ago and a bunch of it didn't record I did it in this new app that I'm working on. And then I was just gonna edit one of the other, many, many podcasts I've recorded. Because I'm sure I have a D H D now, like I'm almost positive of it. You know, I went and recorded so many podcasts. I have podcasts through September. I just keep seeing people I wanna interview and then interviewing them and with no plan for, you know, how many podcasts I need or how much time I have to edit and process these things. It's remarkable. And every, you know, there's a D H V videos, A D H D. Video people on social media just talking about how great it is to the A D H D. And every time I watch one of those videos, I'm like, that's me. Yep. That is me. I don't want a diagnosis though. I just don't feel had enough diagnoses lately. Okay. So I have been working on this podcast for a long time in my mind because I wanna talk about something that's really, really specific to me. And I hope you get, you can get something from it. But it's something that's been going on with me. For the last year for sure. But you know, since 1997 when I was 27 and my life split into two. That's 26 years ago. I was 27, so it's almost like my life's split into it, you know? I was always very driven. I had started my journalism career. I was in a relationship that I'd been in for five years that was definitely headed to marriage. I was, you know, I was on my way in my life and my mom was a big part of my life as. Many people's mothers are, and like many people in their twenties, and I mean, I've seen people like this older, I hadn't really developed any coping mechanisms of my own, you know, like, my gosh, I didn't know how to soothe myself and I didn't even have one clue of the trauma that I was carrying around. That would only be dealt with later. But, you know, if I got upset, I called my mom. It's basically my coping mechanism at the time, when I was 27, when my mom. Was 53 when I was 27 and my mom was 52, turning 53. We found out that she had pancreatic cancer. She had been unwell for months and months and months, and. You know, I'd say 8, 9, 10 months. And she was a nurse, a longtime nurse, an emergency room nurse, a colorectal nurse. And she'd been sort of in and outta test, but they hadn't turned up anything. She was having a lot of digestive problems and found out she had pancreatic cancer. And I have to say, like at that time in my life, I was dumb. I just, didn't know that there were kinds of cancer other than maybe a brain tumor that, you know, you just get that diagnosis and you're done. Like there's. Really nothing. You could have done it for pancreatic cancer at that time. There some chemo to keep you going for a little bit longer. But my mom didn't want that. And then interestingly, she had retrained in palliative care, so she was very well-versed and my mom was not scared of dying in a really strange way, a great way, I guess. And there's a lot they can do for pancreatic cancer now. Outcomes have improved a lot. But this was just like dun, dun dun. And from that diagnosis, my mom died three months later, was just pretty much a, downward spiral. And anyone who's ever gone through that with someone in cancer knows what I'm talking about. It's absolutely heartbreaking and confusing and shocking and all of the things when it's happening. And you certainly don't process it until later. My mom was a lovely, lovely person and funny and caring and unique, really funny, you know, God, she was really, really funny. But she wasn't well like, from as long as I can remember, my mom had a lot of problems. She had migraine headaches. She had, reoccurrent ladder and kidney infections, endometriosis, mono. Later in life she had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and. You know, I always wonder why she had to deal with so many of those things, and I always, oh, I just wish I'd known then what I know now, and even now I'm learning so much, but about how everything's connected and the mind and the body and God, we could have done so much and I'm sure. That's why I was always coming back to health and wellness and always in my reporting. You know, because when I set out, I had dreams of being like a foreign correspondent, or at least covering, you know, elections and government and that's what I majored in, in university, international relations and politics. So that's what I was thinking I would do. But surely after I lost my mom, you know, that's when I began to specialize much more. And I think I was trying to get to the bottom of this question of like, what's the root cause? But why are things really happening? What is in our environment? How can we. Eat and think and act and be in a way that makes us more whole and less susceptible to disease is basically what has been my quest. And I think I ended up launching Hot Flash Inc. So there's that. So I am turning, I'm 52 and in two weeks I'm turning 53. And my mom. Turned 53 and she was alive for about six more weeks. And shortly after she died, I, you know, I was like grease stricken. And there were not even half of the resources that there are now. There were like not even a 10th of'em for grieving. There was one book called Motherless Daughters that I read and it was helpful I guess, but I remember reading somewhere along the way, that. When I was the age that my mother was when she died, I would have a lot of anxiety. And I don't know whether that just like went in my brain and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy or, or what, but I've always known that that would happen. But then, you know, this year is the year that I've been approaching this juncture in my life and. It just coincided with me feeling just got awful because if you go a few episodes back, I talk about my health diagnosis, which was less like, Nothing super serious, but just a bunch of stuff that made me feel absolutely terrible. Hashimotos fatty liver, leaky gut, pre-diabetes readings, adrenal fatigue. And I'm probably missing something, but just like you do not wanna know how bad I felt six months ago, and I am starting to feel a lot better. I'm into the care of a physician who's a homeopathic, talk to her, and it's really something else. And I've been doing a lot of inner work too. But leading up to this birthday, have had just like such a cute anxiety about this fact that, you know, this correlation in age between me and when my mom died. And I just like also hated it because I hate being predictable like that. And it's also something I couldn't talk about with anyone because who, I just sounds bonkers to say, well actually I'm really stressed out because I'm the age when my mother died. And if you haven't lost a parent, and a lot of people still haven't lost parents. You're really clueless about this stuff. I was talking about this with someone yesterday who lost her mom and she said the things my friend said to me like, you just really don't get it. And it's, it's the only good thing about losing a parent early is that you can properly comfort other people. Instead of saying dumb things, honestly, if someone's mom dies and our dad dies and you don't, you haven't lost a parent, you don't know how it feels like, just say, I'm so sorry. Don't try to say anything else please. But I have had this acute anxiety of just like, oh my God, am I dying? Am I gonna die? Like, am I gonna die? It's crazy to say to you, because I'm essentially healthy except for all those problems I just told you about. But I'm gonna clear those problems up and I can talk about this now because it's looking like I, you know, it's looking, it's looking. I'm gonna be here past my birthday. A couple of months ago was listening to this podcast, American CNN n Newsman, Anderson Cooper's podcast on grief. Anderson. Cooper really knows about grief because his brother committed suicide when he was young. His mother died. His father died when he was young. And, so he has this podcast where he interviews people about grief and he had this episode with Stephen Colbert, who is a late night host in, in the us and who I, I really liked because he used to do this much better show called The Colbert Rapport, where he played this right wing Fox News type punt. And it was really, really, really good. And Stephen Colbert, also lost his dad and his brother when he was young. And he recently lost his mother too. And he talked about that she was quite old. You know, these are people who understand deep grief, deep, deep grief so I was driving one night in Abu Dhabi and I was listening to this podcast and. Just like sobbing to hear them talk. And it was so amazing to hear two men in their fifties talk about grief, and just be so tuned into it. But both of them talked about this, and it was just like, oh my gosh, it isn't just me. And this one thing I read years ago, they both talked about this incredible like barrier in their life basically, that they couldn't see past. They just couldn't feel or see past it. And it just connected with me on the. Deep in my cells because that's what I've been feeling. And Anderson Cooper has, I think he's adopted a child or two children, and he said he had to wait till he was 50 until he was the age that his dad was when he died, till he felt comfortable enough to do it. And I completely get it because now I kind of feel like, I can see the rest of my life unfolding. I feel like I've just been hampered in every way because I just couldn't move past this. But, you know, I've had a lot of things happening in the last couple of months as I've healed, and I think I understand it now because, you know, there's a lot of things coming into play here. There's the fact that I watched my mom die at the age I am now. I cannot believe that she went through that. She was so stoic too, like honest to gosh, she didn't want chemo. I found a note from her that I think, you know, she'd written, just written on a piece of paper, like, don't forget me. I, I feel like I'm slipping away. But she was just very, like, she was very okay about dying. She just, man, I know she didn't wanna die, but I've just never seen someone who's, she was just a deeply spiritual person. And I guess I kind of get it as I'm getting older because I'm starting to, I'm starting to really. Wrap my head around the fact that, you know, I didn't, I didn't know where I was before I got here and it wasn't horrible. And I know energy go somewhere cuz I've seen my mom die. I've seen my uncle, uncle die. And in both of those experiences, I'm quite sure that energy goes somewhere when, when you see someone who is alive, who's not alive anymore, you know, you get it. And so, I am less scared of dying and I can just sort of feel my life. It's continuing. You know what? I'll probably get up by a bus between the time I record this and turn to 53. I don't know. It's just I'm settling into it. It's been looming over my head the whole time and I'm settling into it. It was very comforting to listen to them talk about it. Sometimes you just have to listen to people who went through something almost like you did, to feel like it's real. And the more I started to think about this, the more sense it did make to me because, you know, my mom died. My mom's mom died, and I don't know about my great-grandmother. I can't find it on my dad's. You know, the stuff's at home in Canada and I need to go through it. I have a feeling my great-grandmother also died young, but I can't say for sure. But regardless my. My grandmother and my mom both died before this age, so I don't know what you would call it, I am raking ancestral barriers, you know, like I am forging ahead in a way that has not been done on this line. And my father's mother died as well, young, in her forties. So, you know, this is new terrain. So this feeling I have the trepidation of going past 53 is not crazy. I've already talked before about how I'm at this time in this menopausal transition where I'm processing so much from the past. And a couple of months ago I had a family constellation one-on-one with this woman Laura Geeta in Dubai. And it's the strangest sort of therapy, but it's so cool if you ever get the chance to try it. And essentially, Essentially she explains that you have the energy of these women inside you because their d n A is in you. And so you feel the trauma that they feel. And we had this session and it was essentially like pieces of paper on the floor. And when I went to these spaces, I could feel this unhappy energy. Particularly from the Great Grandmother. It was really profound and I know I'm gonna sound crazy, but I felt it. So that was one of the most powerful things I've done and I felt some things for my mom that day that I hadn't processed. And I've had some revelations for my mom recently and I'm just becoming a lot more comfortable with the idea that there's energy all around us. We are energy. I think that we might just be like an energetic field, and then there's another energetic field where people go when they die. I have no idea, but I'm getting less scared of it. I think it's all culminating with the fact that, you know, I'm turning 53 and there's nothing I can do about it. But, all this has been going on, so I wanted to talk about it in case anyone's got something similar. Or has any similar feelings, but I've just literally never been able to see past 53 and I think I've really shot myself in the foot that way. You know, like long-range financial planning has just not, not something I'm interested in, but all of a sudden I feel like, whoa, you know, I'm gonna do some long-range financial planning. I, I like, it's, you know, things like that are springing up before me. I never could think about my retirement ever. And I'm not crazy about retiring cuz I like working. Cause my work is what I love. But, You know, to think about where I might wanna live. Like all of a sudden these things are opening up to me as I'm getting closer to this birthday and I don't think it's an accident. So there is that. You know, I had a conversation yesterday, as I said, with a girl who lost her mom at thir 35. She's, I guess she said six years ago, so she's 41. She said the coolest thing about her mom is she was talking about how she feels, her mom showing up and she has a picture of her mom in the windowsill of her apartment and she, her mom loved coffee, so she will often like put some coffee beans, I think she said, or like coffee grounds near the picture. I think it's the most beautiful thing, and as I'm recording this, I'm looking over into my kitchen and on the top shelf by this funky stuffed cat. I got an embr. There are a pair of my mom's glasses, my mom's only glasses because she wore contacts. But these glasses are just like absolutely hideous from the seventies and we used to always think she was scared when she wore them, but she wasn't scared. These glasses, I cannot let them go. And I just, so I put them on the shelf and they're there and I look at them sometimes. And so I think if you have lost someone who is this pivotal to you, like it's really helpful to honor them whatever way you need to. And I've become a lot more comfortable over the years with the. The concept of my mom is aone. I didn't grieve her properly in the beginning. I just drank and worked, and that caught up with me. But I certainly have grieved her and sometimes I still cry really, really, really hard because I miss her. And you know, my mom lost her mom when she was 19, and I would find her sobbing sometimes. And I'd say, what's wrong? And she'd say, I just miss my mom so much. And I would think, woo. Wow. Like, you know, if you haven't lost someone, you don't understand how powerful grief is and how powerful a connection is. And I'd think, wow, that's crazy. And I just wanna tell my mom like you'd find me crying, sobbing over you. Cause I miss you. So incredibly much that it takes my breath away sometimes. One more thing about my mom, when we had her funeral, That night we had everyone back to our house and we didn't normally have parties in my house. We're not like a party family, but it was a packed house and when everyone was drinking and acting crazy and you know, sort of awake and the lights in the house went down and up, like someone was turning a dimmer probably I 10 times, and everyone who was there that night was like, that's your mom. Still, people will still say, remember the lights? And of course there were people saying, oh, you know, we're just using a lot of electricity. But I'm telling you, I'm telling you, there's energy, energy from everywhere. Okay? So my life is split into two and you know, on good things come out of bad things. Losing my mom. I was absolutely lost. And I know a lot of you listening will probably be losing parents and you'll be lost too. It doesn't matter how old you are. We've known these people since we were opened our eyes on this earth. They were there if you're lucky. And losing them is like losing a limb. And part of the stuff I put on myself when I first lost my mom was like, You know, you're meant to lose your parents. Like, why do I feel so bad? This isn't like I lost my child or a sibling. And that's just stupid because you can't measure grief because you can't measure love. I read that somewhere in the years after when I was floundering and I, I've watched really close friends lose their moms and they're floundering too. So, you know, if you're going through that, my heart goes out to you. There's nothing to say. It's the hardest thing and the only thing that helps is time and knowing how much your parents loved you. So when my mom died, honestly, one of the good things that came out of it, one of the very best things that came out of it was that I thought it, what if I die at 53? My God, what if I die at 53? How do I want my life to be? And honestly, before my mom died, I think I was on a path two mediocrity because I was very much listening to the messages from outside of me. And although I was like obsessed with my journalism career, I was in a relationship I was. I was telling myself was fine and it was fine. It was a very nice relationship, but we were mostly friends and the guy that I was with was not that motivated at the time, and I was, I felt like what, however you feel in a relationship where you just don't feel like excitement within the relationship, whatever that feeling is, it's a perfectly valid feeling. I couldn't vocalize it then, it was not a passionate relationship. And my mom told my dad later that she was actually worried that I was gonna marry him. And so after my mom died, I'm like, geez, what would I do? And I just, I just decided to live for the moment and I ended up breaking up with that fellow. That was probably the biggest decision because I think that would've led to marriage and probably children. And then my life would've been very different. I said to myself, you know, this might be the only chance I have to get married, but I didn't really think it would be my only chance to get married. And I know still don't, you know, I think I'll probably get married. But you know, marriage and children, I rolled the dice. I did a lot of thinking about the road lust traveled and. I broke up with him and people were shocked, I stepped off of the track. When I did that, I stepped right off of the conveyor belt that takes you where everyone else is going, and I just decided I wanted adventure, I wanted travel, I wanted, I wanted it all, all of it. And when I came outta the grief, I was really kind of unstoppable. I was also a wreck. Like I always, had trouble processing my emotions and I worked too hard and I exercised too much. And I drank too much. And I was a party girl. And I had a whale at a time and I was a bit like a character in a TV show, you know what I mean? Have you seen that show? Well, mania and Netflix. Australian girl. She's just playing this crazy 39 year old woman who's greeking havoc. I was a bit like that, but damn, I had a good time and I have had so much adventure and excitement and I got something I wanna read cuz around 30 I wrote it out. It's from a Joan Barfoot novel. Something's about flying. And I wrote it out because this was how I felt. This is what I wanted. I want, she thinks I want more. She wants brilliance and electric existence. She wants to make her own hair stand on end. If she goes on without love of a certain kind, she will still sustain a full heart. She will absorb colors and lights and impressions and will not put words to them necessarily. Not every experience will have to make sense. Not every action will need to be scrutinized. This seems to her an outcome that is so far both acute and calming. And that is what I did. And another thing I wanna read was a quote by Mark Twain that became my motto because I was very, very scared of everything because they'd been sort of on the safe road before this. Before my mom died and jolted me into, babe, you might only have 26 years left. You've gotta make the most of them. So the Mark Twain quote, courage is a resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear, knowing that everyone is scared and some people let that stop them, and some people just keep going, was how I did it. And knowing that and then experiencing that, that is true. Every single time I've done something new has just ended up making me less scared. Things become easier, and knowing that, something I really know in the last couple of years is that my brain will just kick up ridiculous excuses. It will actually create physical pain if I'm doing something a little bit too much. Like when I went to go hiking in Turkey last year, and then my body just like invented this pain in the top of my foot and I was thinking, I can't go with this pain. I've, I'm gonna have to cancel. I'm canceling. And then I thought, no. Oh, I see what you're doing. You don't want me to go hiking in Turkey. My brain is very crafty. Our brains are very crafty. So no wonder as I'm approaching this birthday, At the end of May, I couldn't see past it because at 27 and 28, as I started to feel outta my grief, I, I just had that as a goal just to get there and make the freaking most of it. And I almost killed myself trying, like, no wonder I have all these health problems now. I would always drink, I would always go to the party. I would stay late. I would drive three hours if you had a party. Sleep over on your floor and come back and work the next day. And I would, you know, I remember my best friend got married and I threw a bachelorette until four in the morning and the next day I did a television freelance story. We had to go, I think I had two hours of sleep, went with a freelance cameraman. 7:00 AM you know, just stuff like that. I would do, like, I just would be like, I'm here, I'm living. I gotta pack it in. And I don't regret a second of it, but no wonder, like, no wonder I felt like my life had a deadline, like a limit. So, you know, I've been to like, I don't even know how many countries. I dislike it when people count how many countries they've been to, like some sort of badge. You know, that happens a lot. I went on a trip to Kurdistan a couple of years ago before the pandemic, and there was the most tiresome people there. There were some great people on that trip too, obviously going to Kurdistan, which is Northern Iraq, but there were a couple of people on there. Just seem like I've been to 75 countries and was like, are you enjoying any of these trips or are you just like checking them off? My traveling isn't like that. And I also don't have any check. Like I just go, I, I think some people invite me to Jabi. I go to Jabi. Someone invited me to Turk Manan. I went to Turk Manan. I saw that there was a trip to Kurdistan. I go to Kurdistan. This is the press trip to the Maldive. Go. But I'm very, very excited about this birthday. I feel, I feel really good about it, and hopefully I'll make it. It's looking good. I just wanted to talk about it and I wanted some people to hear it, and I hope you found something in it. My mom's name was Christine McQueen. She loved cats and she called me Mu, and when Bottled water came out, she put a bottle of Evian in our fridge and my brother, my dad and I would drink it and we'd say how delicious it was. And she told my boyfriend at the time that she just kept filling it with tap water and killing herself when we would rave over it. My mom was for a lot of her career, colorectal nurse, and she told us really disgusting stories at dinner, And I remember sometimes my dad just putting down his fork. Like he couldn't eat more dinner. at work everything was about poop. They. I would want to each other making disgusting birthday cakes. For everyone's birthday And I remember. The one she made for someone and she was so proud of it and it was a slab cake. Covered in. Chocolat icing. With cut up. Chocolate bars. I was with like new gut. And nuts, just look like a big disgusting poo cake. Cake. My mom was a great seamstress and she made me loads of things both my graduation dresses out of Taha and all my skating costumes, and she would put sequins on them and, she always did things last minute. And I'd go to bed thinking, oh my God, like I have nothing to wear to that skating competition. And I'd wake up and it would be hanging on my door all done. And I think she stayed up all night doing it her name was Christine McQueen. I miss her and the gift she gave me is that I lived my life to the fullest. And the gift I'm gonna give her is that I'm gonna give whatever time I have, everything I have, and no one's gonna tell me I'm too old or over the hill and I'm not gonna listen to any of the noise. And I'm just gonna give her like I did for the last 26 years, I guess for another 26 years. I really hope that you can, realize that courage is a resistance of fear. Mastery of fear are not absence of fear because if you haven't lived like the insane way I have for the last 26 years, and you probably haven't because chances already got married and had kids, but you might be feeling like a fire and a burning in your soul and some external thing is telling you that you're too old or it's too late. And I just want you to know now is absolutely the freaking time for you to have the brilliant existence that you're yearning for, my mom made me a book with all sorts of little snippets in it. It's like a scrapbook, and she gave it to me when I was 26, a year before she died. It's got so many beautiful things in it. I've read it 9 million times, and it's what I would save in a fire. And she made it for me because she found a similar book after her mom died. She wrote to me, I hope this book will soothe you and you need it. I could not love you more. And I feel that love. I feel it all around. I hope you feel that kind of love too, whether your mom is with you or not.

Ann Marie:

Thank you so much for joining me. If you like this conversation, I hope you'll check out some of my other interviews on the Hot Flashing Podcast, subscribe, give a rating, maybe a review, and come back for more next week. Hot Flash Inc. Was created and is hosted by Annemarie McQueen, produced and edited by Sonya Mac. The information contained in this podcast is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any disease. Before using any products referenced on the podcast, consult with your healthcare provider, read all labels, and he all directions and cautions that accompany the products. Information received through the podcast should not be used in place of a consultation or advice. Care provider. If you suspect you have a medical problem, ie. Menopause or anything else or any healthcare questions, please promptly see your healthcare provider. This podcast, including Annemarie McQueen and any producers or editors disclaim any responsibility from any possible adverse effects from the use of any information. Contains herein opinions of guests on this podcast. Are their own, and the podcast does not endorse or accept responsibility for statements made by guests. This podcast does not make any representations or warranties about a guest's qualifications or credibility. This podcast may contain paid endorsements and advertisements for products or services. Individuals on this podcast may have direct or indirect financial interest in products or services. Referred to here in this podcast is owned by Hot Flash, Inc. Media.