When a mother dies young.


When you lose a parent at an early age, you soon find out that there are a lot of people who want to step in.  When my mother died, the two people who wanted to take over most were my maternal grandmother Rose Nord and my paternal aunt Miriam Kurmen. As a 13-year-old, I didn’t understand why since my father was alive and well and certainly capable of raising my brother and me.  They saw it differently.

Kurman Family in 1955

Philip, Cindy, Ruth and Charles Kurman in 1955.

The fighting started almost immediately. While I sat upstairs at my uncle Albert’s home in Pittsburgh, I could hear my grandmother arrive, hysterically crying at the thought of her oldest daughter’s untimely death. My father was numb. And aside from the, “how could this have happened?” conversation, talk quickly turned to who is going to take care of Cindy.  Philip was in his freshmen year at Penn State. But I was in my last year of middle school. No one as far as I could tell considered what he or I wanted. Her body was still warm and they were fighting. It was a mess.

Not that I want to bring up unpleasant memories, but I’m sure that I’m not alone. Life and death is certainly an everyday occurrence.  I’d like here from those of you who experienced an early parent loss and from professionals who deal with children and parenthood. I know what happened in my family and I’ll be telling the story as this blog develops. But I welcome your stories and advise to help others in similar situations. What do you think?

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10 Comments

Filed under Aging Parents, Death, early parent loss, Mommy Blog, Senior Lifestyle

10 responses to “When a mother dies young.

  1. Karen Struzzi

    My comment has a little different perspective than yours, Cindy. My father died when I was 10. He was sick with brittle diabetes for at least 5 years before he died.

    Anyone that has ever lived with a parent suffering from this form of diabetes will understand. One minute the world is wonderful and the next minute, depending what his blood sugar does, the family is living in hell.

    The poor man suffered from this and the guilt of his actions ate him up at times. He would buy gifts for all of us very often and spend money we didn’t have (which haunted us when he passed). He would be in a coma one day and the next time his body went into shock and he would run around screaming and trying to open doors but not knowing how to use the handles. He would pass out and we would have to give him sugar and other days my mom would have to get him a shot of insulin so he wouldn’t die. He was blind about a year before he died.

    This is not about me right now, it’s about my mom. She lived this hell all through her 30′s. She had lost her mom and dad in her early 20′s and had no brothers or sisters. Only an old German aunt that never was married to guide her. I remember her crying all of the time. I did much better than my brother through all of this. I would go to the neighbors and stay there. They would talk to each other and laugh and interact. My brother stayed to himself when it came to his feelings. He didn’t seem to need to talk about anything. I loved my dad and all of his passion and fury. I was a replica of him. My brother was more like my mom. They were easy going, didn’t like arguing and definately didn’t like to talk about what had happened to us. I needed that more than ever.

    I gained weight and would argue at the drop of a pin. I had a lot of built up anger. I didn’t realize until I reached the age of 50 that my anger throughout my life came from my childhood. When my mother became older, she ended up “a vegetable.” A radiation therapy that she underwent to take care of a brain tumor destroyed a good part of her good cells in her brain and she was not able to move over time. I took are of her for 2 years and had to have her put in a nursing home. My children were young and it was all I could do to take care of them. She lived for 4 years in the home. I would take my kids to the home 3 days a week to visit. She hated every minute of living there. I lived with that guilt of putting her in the home until about the same time I figured out my anger problem. I have told my children that I love them but would rather not have their help in my later years. I would love to see them on my birthday though. haha For those who say get over it and move on. God Bless You! You must have been given a different lesson to learn in life.

    • Karen,
      Thank you for telling your story. For everyone reading Karen’s story, Karen and I went to high school together. We were friends. Good friends and majorettes together. We spent three years on a squad and I never knew that her father had passed. It was years later that I learned that she too had experienced a tragic loss. I didn’t know the details. This is the first that I’ve heard her story. I hope that her talking will help her heal and get over some of the anger, that is internal as she’s one of the most fun people that I know. Getting it out has to help. I love you Karen. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can relate. I lost my dad when I was 14 and my mom when I was 22 after a 7-year fight with cancer. I felt parentless at 15.
    After dad died and mom get sick, my aunts and grandmother–God love ‘em–descended upon our house and became stand-in moms and dads. It seemed natural at the start–they were always there, “helping.” It also felt rather smothering, looking back on it all. But mom had a tough time coping after dad died and I’m convinced the stress of managing two kids alone contributed to her own demise.
    I love my mom and dad, and they both did the best they could raising us. But my mother’s experience taught me the importance of having the emotional and real life skills to manage with or without your mate.

  3. Marsha

    Losing a parent at an early age is a terrible experience. I lost mine when I was only 13 years old. He had a stroke when I was 11. To only have a mother was quite scary. I feel that my childhood would have been a lot better had my dad been alive. To live without him for most of my life and not to have known him, still makes me cry.
    Cindy and Karen are both friends and classmates of mine.

    • Marsha. I had no idea. This is really interesting. I was so alone in high school. I thought that I was the only person without two parents. How many of us were there! We should have had a club! Instead of being editor of the Oscar, a majorette, and on who knows what committee, we could have been dealing with our loss and getting a heads up on the future! Remember when Stinebiser was killed? I thought it was the end of the world.

      Educators. Are you listening? There’s more to education than books. We need to start opening up. Karen, Marsha and I could have benefitted. Anyone else from JSHS in the same boat. Just curious. Thanks for commenting Marsha! Hope all is well. Happy Easter!
      Cindy

    • Karen Struzzi

      Marsha
      I didn’t realize that you also lost a parent so young. When you said you still cry for him, you touched on a part of me that I don’t share with anyone. I remember crying the day I got married because he loved me so much and I remember him talking about me getting married some day. I stopped crying for him when I took care of my mom. She had a brain tumor and I cared for her for 2 1/2 years and had to place her in a nursing home because my children were young and I had a hard enough time raising them and also having to change my mother’s diaper and feed her. She lived for an additional 4 years in “the home”.Now I look forward to death so I may have the chance to know my father again. That may sound sad to some but if you lost a parent at a young age, it’s actually a little bit exciting. Through the years that I cared for my mom, I had time to get to know and love and time to say goodbye to her. I never had that with my dad. Marsha, Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. i just thought that senior living is quite a lonely life because of limited physical activities :

  5. senior living can be costly if you have not found a very good company or that offers a great deal *,’

  6. DK

    My mother was died when I was 3 years old. My father divorce my mother after I born. Then my grandpa (mother’s father) force my mother for secodn marriage and there she was killed by her second husband. I was brought up by my mother’s parents and I live in that home for 30 years. I did everything for the family where I brought up. My father still alive but he never ask about me. He has his family, kids. I was married in 1994 and I stay in nanny’s house upto 1999. i have a lovely wife and 2 kids. My mother had 3 brothers and they expected so much from me as they believe that I have to do everything for them. I have my business . but since 2008 I am in horrible trouble due to recession and business collapse. My uncles dont want to keep relation with me as they think I am not doing anything for them . Due to heavy losses in business I have to shift my family tmy home country and now I am struggling again. I have to live without family for long time and I think this is the destiny of my life. I am not sharig this story of my life for any sympothy but I want to release my sorrow and frustration. I want to ask that is any issue about my mother whether she had incomplete desire in her life and she may expect frm me? Because I am not happy from inside. I love my family so much. I miss my kiall the time. i want routine life but dont know when it will happen. Sorry about my sad story. Thanks for reading.

  7. ;,, I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information “‘.

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