The death of a parent is a tragic experience for people of all ages. Though inevitable, it comes too soon for some. Sydney Dixon was thirteen when her mom died of liver failure.
Middle school is an awkward and confusing time on its own. Your time and energy is spent growing physically and emotionally, and just trying to figure things out. Not for Dixon.
Though her mother and her were close in some ways, her mom was always more of a friend than a mother. She would talk to her like a friend and ask her favors like a friend.
“She would tell me when she was drinking and not supposed to be, or like when she would hide booze in the house. Then she would tell me not to tell my dad. I always did because I wanted her to get better but I was always afraid she would hate me,” Dixon said.
She loved her six children a lot, she just didn’t know how to care for them like a mom.She didn’t do “mom things.” Often most it was her father who took them out to eat, sledding, to the movies and cleaned the house and paid the bills.
Seeings that her mom didn’t have a job most of the time, Dixon’s dad worked a lot to have enough money to care for six children and an alcoholic wife. This often left Dixon to take care of the kids, since she’s the oldest. “It made me mad. That wasn’t my job. I should have been able to be a kid,” Dixon said.
Dixon’s dad had tried to divorce her mom three times but he was afraid he wouldn’t get custody and he knew that her mom wouldn’t be able to care for them all on her own.
Before Dixon’s mom passed away, she told her to promise her that she would never call her step mom her mom or her step sister, her sister. She told her that they are not her family, and to never think of them as more than close friends.
“She was dying, so of course I promised. I just wanted to make her happy. It makes me upset now that she would make me promise her something like that. It should be my decision. I still don’t call her mom, but she’s more of a mom than my mom ever was. I call Kyra (her step sister) my sister though,” Dixon said.
Then the day they all had been dreading happened. Dixon was at a friend’s house when her dad came and picked her up, informing her that her mom had died. She was mad at her mom, but sad that she was gone. No one expected it to happen so quickly.
“It was really hard losing her, but she was always the weight on everyone’s shoulders. We worried about her. She caused a lot of pain. So in a way I guess I was relieved.
It effected the other five less than Dixon because she was the closest to her. They pushed it aside. They didn’t think about it.
Her social life became non-existence, she became quiet. She was embarrassed at school because it seemed as if everyone else had a mom or dad to take care of them. Her relationship with her dad had never been the best, but after the death, it got really bad. They were fighting everyday.
“He didn’t know how to listen. He always had to fix everything. He wouldn’t just listen,” Dixon said.
One day Dixon got tired of just sitting in her room, because that was all she did. So she decided to do something about it.
“I had been cutting. But it didn’t help like I hoped it would or needed it to”
Dixon took several tylonal, purposely overdosing.
“I thought it would be easy-suicide. And I thought overdose would be the easiest but after a couple of days, my stomach was killing me, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I was throwing up every hour… It distracted me at the time. I could focus on the physical pain,” Dixon said.
When asked what was wrong by her dad she told him it was probably just the flu and that she would be fine in a couple of days. He didn’t believe her and took her to the hospital, therefore finding out she took the pills. He was more mad than anything because he didn’t know how to react or what to say. It took the family longer to get over Dixon’s episode than it did for them to get over the death. Dixon was put in a hospital for troubled kids until it was safe for her to return home.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t do it because even though I learned from it, it hurt the people around me a lot too. I wasn’t thinking about them. I was thinking about me, I wasn’t worried about them. If none of that happened, I wouldn’t be as mature as I am not. It made me grow up too fast,” Dixon said.