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An Open Letter to my Mother

Dear Mom,

It has been 1 year, 2 months, and 24 days since you decided to leave us. For the first 1 year, 2 months and eh… 6-ish days, I reached for the phone at least once every day to call you. All of those fleeting moments ended in quick shocks to the heart, reminding me there is no more calling you.

So what has been happening for the past 18-ish days that has been different? I have gone my entire day most days and not thought of you once.

I have cooked breakfast, done dishes, gone on playdates, done workouts, made play dough, read books to the kids, had dance parties, gone on road trips, jumped into the pool, worked really hard on business things, and then closed my eyes at night in the silence of it all and jolted them back open when I realized: I never thought about you, not once.

It’s an odd combination of terrifying, freeing, and confusing.

The past year was full of amazing, beautiful days with dark, painful moments woven in. No moment was safe, not doing the dishes or laughing with friends. Any time and space could be over taken by a flash back to that night, a mental picture I can’t shake, a feeling of a knife in my chest.

Yet while I know I don’t want to live like that forever, I also thought I would rather have those moments every day for eternity than to go about my days as if I have no mother, nothing ever happened, no thought of you, you are just gone and that is it.

See, I told you… terrifying, freeing yet utterly confusing.

There is probably guilt too. What type of person just carries on joyfully with her days after her mother has taken her own life? What kind of horrible person could laugh and play with her kids all day with zero thought of the trauma, the devastation? Okay, not probably. There is definitely guilt.

I had resigned myself to the fact that my days, although good, would forever be laced with moments of pain and sadness, and feeling any different would be totally insensitive to you.

What the heck.

Ya know, I feel terrified to write this, as if you’ll really read it…I feel terrified at the thought of hurting your feelings or saying something that may unintentionally put you into bed for 3 weeks, not speaking to me. I spent the first 31 years of my life doing whatever I could to make sure I didn’t crack any of the non-strategically placed eggshells we walked on.

Yet now, after the thing I feared my entire life actually happened, I feel even more terrified that you may somehow know my feelings, and they may hurt you. Never mind my own, I still just wonder where you are and if you’re okay, and if what I am doing is making you happy or not. Ah, there are the tears I haven’t been able to produce in a while.

Here I am though, a 32 year old woman with a beautiful family of her own to take care of, lead by example, and protect. And I’m learning that one thing I have to do to protect them is to work on myself, to end this cycle. To make sure it stops here. To let go of the guilt before it consumes me.

So if I am going to be direct about my feelings with you for the first time ever in my life:

You hurt me. I am still mad. I needed you even more as an adult mother than I did as a kid. You made the wrong choice, and it hurt my children, and me, and I have not forgiven you yet.

I am naturally inclined to follow that with a but

There’s no but. Those are my feelings and they are not wrong. I deserve to feel them. They have nothing to do with what your feelings were when you made that choice, or what my understanding of it is. They are just my feelings right now, and I won’t apologize for having them.

If I could have called you today, I wouldn’t have needed to say any of that, but I would have told you I am super sick and barely have a voice left right now. I am going to the doctor in a little while and Chris took the kids out because he’s off today. I would have told you all of the mundane things about my day, all the cute things the kids have said and done since yesterday when I called you the last time.

Even when I’m mad, and even when I don’t think of you until I lay my head down at night, I still miss you… a lot. I wish you were here, and that things could have been so different for you. You were and are so loved, even though you never fully realized it.

Maybe you realize it now.



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