My mother passed away a few years ago. Tomorrow would be her birthday. So I decided to write her a letter to tell her all things I never said.
Growing up I was not close to my mother. By the time I arrived, ten years later than my sisters, she worked nights. I would only really see her when I was getting off the school bus and we would pass in the driveway. Her night off was Sunday and there always seemed to be something going on. My parents divorced and i stayed with my dad. As I grew into a defiant teenager I really did not see my mom much. I guess I was mad or something stupid like that. But once I got married, at the age of 19, we reconnected. She ended up being my best friend.
I’m crying already as I write this letter. I find it hard to talk about you, even after all these years, as losing you has been an epic loss. There are a few things I want to say and I hope you can read my heart from heaven.
Firstly, happy birthday.
Secondly, I am truly sorry.
I took you for granted. I assumed that you would always be here. I thought your inner strength would have taken on the disease that you fought. I never considered that maybe you were tired and were ready to be done with all the pain you endured and all the heartbreak you lived through. I never realized that sometimes your body just gives out.
Toward the end I was so consumed with all the troubles in my life that I was blind to what you were going through. I kept thinking that if I could just get my life under control that we would all be ok. I ran in circles trying to get where I needed to but where I needed to be was next to you. I have many regrets in my life but not being as present with you as I could have been is my biggest regret.
I wake up some mornings and my first thought is to call you. Oh how I miss your voice and your sense of humor. What I would not give to hear one more Barty the cat report. You used to call me at work in the morning just to let me know how the cat was. I was sometimes so busy that I couldn’t really talk and I am so sorry for that. When I got home from work, I was usually so tired I would just stop for a visit and head home to crash. I should have stayed with you longer. I miss those evenings watching Wheel and Jeopardy. I took those times for granted.
I got so busy with work and going back to school. I was stressed all the time. Never had enough money at the end of the month and it consumed me. Now after a major life change I see how futile my life was and all the things I missed because of my poor choices. You should never have been shortchanged. You gave me your all 100% of the time, you deserved nothing less in return. But the chaos I called my life did not allow for that. I can never apologize enough.
Thirdly, I never truly understood your difficulties in life because you always tried to spare me from them. I wish I would have been there more for you. Your shoulders were always so big like Atlas. You had the weight of your world on them and I should have shouldered more of the burden. But I was too selfish. I should have seen your stress but all I saw was my own.
Fourthly, I made a lot of mistakes and I assumed a lot of things I never should have. I thought you would tell me when you were really sick but I should have seen it without you telling me. I saw your fear in the hospital and I had no idea how to deal with it. You were always so strong and I was so weak. I did not know how to handle what was happening. I was completely useless when you needed me the most. For that, I am forever sorry.
I have made some major changes in my life. They seem good. I am still working on the stress and am learning to be more present every day. The old me was a bag of messiness and uncertainty. I had no idea what I was doing or how I should act. I had no clue. I am starting to get a clue and I think you might like the new me. I wish I could have made the right changes while you were here but I guess it was all part of a bigger plan.
I miss you every single day Mom. I have kept this all in for years but part of me getting healthy has to let it out. I feel guilt and remorse so badly. I walk around like I’m getting better but I have to let go of my mistakes. They are like a toxic wasteland inside of me. I, unfortunately, cannot go back and change anything even though I wish I could. I have to be honest with myself. I did not do things right, for that I am sorry. But I also have to move forward. That’s not to say I will ever forget you….no way! But I have to let go of the negativity and the self-loathing I feel.
This new life of mine is good but it does not allow me to bury things inside me any longer. I have to deal with things or they fester. I buried my shame for too long. I am so sorry Mom that i wasn’t always there for you. I should have been. I’m sorry for the tears you shed over me. I’m sorry for the worry I caused you. But I hope you knew I loved and adored you always and I still do.
Happy birthday! You are missed!
Your loving daughter,