March marks the month you passed last year. Knowing you are at peace now eases the sadness of grief that quietly gripped my heart when I first thought about how you left this world and the loss of you. First, know I’ve kept my promise to look after my sisters and nephew. Second, know I accept and appreciate all that has come and gone. The only way to move past pity is to connect with gratitude and silver-linings. With all great fires that turn to ash, new blooms arise, seasons change, and time continues.
I never knew how to honor you when you were alive, so I am honoring you this month with a Passion Project called, “Letters to my Mother.” Each day for thirty-one days I will write you a letter and share it. I am sharing it because I want people to know they never have to be alone in this world and to bring awareness to mental illness; I’m sorry you died alone, Mom. That breaks my heart.
Additionally, I will also write a letter to someone who is alive and send it to them. More than anything, Life matters most and should be celebrated, and letter writing is a great way to connect and share life with each other, and who doesn’t love getting a good old-fashioned letter in the mail?
At the end of March, I will have written sixty-two letters total; thirty-one to you, and thirty-one to different people I hold dear to my heart. Let’s begin the journey.
Mom, I miss you. Possibly one of the greatest and most complicated relationships is that between a mother and her children, and more so between a mother and her daughters. Our relationship wasn’t the easiest, and I always wished it were better, instead of accepting the way it was. We did the best we could, though, so let’s not beat ourselves up. Ok?
Your passing woke me up and helped me understand how precious, delicate and finite our lives are, and that there’s no time to waste. You were only forty-nine, so young. Your passing surprisingly softened my heart. Well, I chose to soften. You can love greater when your heart is soft, vulnerable. As we age, we either soften or harden: the choice is ours. I realized I had a lot to let go of, Mom. Did you ever feel that way? I was so angry and mad at you for so many reasons. All I wanted was a connection with you, a relationship, to hear you and be heard, to have mommy-daughter-dates. I also wanted to see you happy and at peace. I didn’t understand why you couldn’t just be…a normal mom…
I wish I understood your mental illnesses more. I know you suffered a great deal to the extent that you wanted out of this life. I can’t pretend to imagine how that must feel; I only get a knot in my heart thinking about what you must have gone through. I know you were diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia and that you became an alcoholic. Mom, it’s ok. I didn’t love you any less. I did back away from you quite a bit, though; it became too difficult for me to handle…
I’m sorry you suffered extensively. I’m sorry I backed away. I wish I understood more…please forgive me. I forgive all that I was mad at you for. I forgive myself for being mad. I’m not angry anymore. I had to let this all go because I want the memories of you to bless me the rest of my life, so I had to let go to find the good, chisel away the rock to find the diamond. Thank you, Mom, for opening my eyes to love, forgiveness and seeking the Good. Thank you for bringing me into this world. I love you. Talk to you tomorrow!
Love Your Eldest,