My guest today is Sue of Cookie’s Chronicles with a letter that is both moving and heart wrenching.
Is it silly to write you a letter when you’ve been gone so long? Perhaps, though I can’t hand it to you, you’ll hear my words. Hopefully, the act of writing them down will bring some peace, if not to you then perhaps I will feel some sense of closure.
I wish I could go back as I am today. I was ill-equipped to be your primary caregiver – or anyone’s for that matter – but it was left to me to fill the role. The truth is, I would have fought for the right had anyone challenged it.
I looked after you. Not well, perhaps – I was barely old enough to look after myself – but I did all I knew how to do. I used the tools I had – the ones you gave to me.
I drove you to doctor’s offices and your dialysis appointments. When you tired of me, I moved you into your brother’s house and drove four hours each way every weekend to visit you. When you felt neglected there, I moved you into a home nearby and continued the long commute.
I did what needed doing, but nothing more. I had nothing more to give.
Today, I would sympathize with your struggle. Back then there was too much resentment, too much anger. You had already left me. I needed you, but you needed me more.
Today, I would allow myself to feel the weight of it all. Back then, I kept a wall between us – or we held it up against each other.
I wanted so much to take your pain away, but I had nowhere to put it. Today, I might carry it for you, but what purpose would that serve? The pain of a generation passed on to the next to be a burden through another life – through eternity.
I am sorry that I could not help you – sorry you were so alone in your struggle. I wish someone had reached out to you – to us – or that you had been able to open your heart to others.
I kept expecting you to fight back, not with anger, bitterness and blame, but with hope, with promise, with a will to live. Instead, you descended further into the abyss until one day it claimed you.
Dark visions of the end of time haunt me, yet as the years pass a light grows stronger. I have seen what fear can do to a person – how it can literally pull a soul down into the depths of the darkness. I have also seen what love, hope, and forgiveness can do.
I could not help you then, but I can change the course of our family’s history. I can ensure that your life was not lived in vain.
I will cast off the shadows of our ancestors, and turn away from fear and anger and toward love, hope, faith and tolerance. When death comes, I will have left behind no regrets and nothing of my heart except that which lives on in others.
I will live the life you were meant to, until you lost your way and time ran out.
I have lost my way many times also, and time is running out for me too, but it is not yet lost. There is still time for me.
May you rest in peace knowing that you did the best you could, and that your best was good enough. Know that your spirit lives on in me and in my son. He is so like you in ways, but he is fearless!
Though I walk alone now, I hear your footsteps with mine. The strength that you could not summon in life, feeds my soul today.
I hope that at the end of my life you will be proud of who I have become.
And I will be eternally grateful for your sacrifice – a sacrifice I have only come to understand since becoming a mother myself.
Rest now, mom, knowing that all is forgiven. Lay your burden down now, mom. You needn’t worry that I will pick it up – I won’t – for you have taught me well.
Your loving daughter