I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I guess that’s only natural with Mother’s Day coming up, but it’s more than that. As I grow older I can’t help but think of how you felt at my age – married and raising two children in the back woods of West Virginia, hundreds of miles away from family and friends.
Did you really have a say in moving so far from home? Did you have regrets with the choices you made? Did you feel like you had any choices? Were you happy? Are you happy now?
I often think about that last night before I left, but I can’t really remember what was said. I know whatever we said was meant to wound, to inflict as much pain as possible. Most likely because we were both in so much pain we needed to make someone hurt as much as we did.
Ah, but there’s the crappy part about all of this. I am finally old enough to understand things from your perspective and have no way to make things right. I’m also old enough to know that I probably couldn’t make things right even if I did get the opportunity.
So, I’m writing this letter…
I’m writing this letter because somehow, someway I need you to know how sorry I am. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry things ended the way they did. I’m sorry if you ever questioned your parenting.
I’m sorry you never got to know the woman I became. I’m sorry I never got to thank you for everything you taught me either on purpose or just by me observing you.
I’m just sorry.
I also want you to know that I do have good memories of my childhood. As much as I bitched and moaned my way through my teen years there were moments even then when I was happy. It was usually when I was able to work on projects with you and Dad.
‘What happened?’ You may be wondering.
I wonder that myself sometimes. One minute I was content living a very structured, sheltered life and the next minute I was questioning everything and so far from being content. I was angry and sad and confused. I wanted so badly to go back to being able to blindly do what you told me to do, but I just couldn’t. And I knew that if I stayed I wouldn’t survive.
The worst part, though, was I couldn’t explain it to you. I couldn’t explain it to myself so how could I explain it to you. All you knew is that you had an out-of-control teenager on your hands and you didn’t have a clue how to fix me.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There was nothing you could have done or said. I may have been able to find a better way to leave, but even after all these years I can’t see how.
I knew you would never let me go if I left halfway. I knew I would never find out who I was if I stayed. I knew that if I stayed both of us would end up being hurt worse than we already were.
I want you to know that I’m not angry anymore. I don’t hate you and I don’t hate Dad. You were making choices and decisions based on what you knew at the time. You were trying to protect me. You were doing the best you could with what you had.
I never remember seeing you cry. For a long time I thought it was because you had no feelings. You didn’t care. Now I’m beginning to wonder myself. Now I think maybe you were just really good at keeping all that to yourself because you knew someone had to be strong in our family.
Even if I saw you tomorrow I’m not sure I would be able to speak to you. To say our relationship would be complicated is an understatement. Maybe it’s best this way.
I just needed the world to know in spite of everything I’m still grateful you were my Mom. And you deserve at least some of the credit for how I turned out.
You taught me wrong from right. You taught me to respect myself and others. You taught me how to go through the hard stuff. You taught me that sometimes you had to do what was right even when I felt like giving up. You taught me the value of hard work.
I love you, Mom.