[TRIGGER WARNING: The following letter was written by a client of mine; a young survivor of sexual abuse who lost her mother to suicide when she was an infant. Now, at 21, she tries to remember the mother that she never knew but misses every day. She is currently getting the help she needs to heal from her childhood trauma and move on]
I know you’re happy wherever you are and I hope you’re doing good. I have been wanting to write to you for a really long time. I wanted to apologise to you for all the times I could not help you. I wish you had waited for me to grow up, so that I could stand up to all the people that wronged you. But I was too young then to stand up for anything that happened to me, let alone for you. You had to fight your battles all alone against these monsters and you lost. I wish I could have been by your side, listening to your misery every night when you sat with that bottle of whiskey and a bowl full of nuts, drowning all your sorrows in every glass. My heart aches when I think of how you used to wake up every morning covered in your own vomit. I don’t think you ever blamed my father for that, but Dad was never on your side. I wish I could’ve done something.
Every time your brother touched you, I wish I could’ve done something.
He touched me too, you know and I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t even know it was wrong.
I just thought this was something that happens.
I’m sorry Mom for all the times I got mad at you for beating me up when I went to see my Dad. I should have known you had your reasons. My brother taught me to lie to you, but now as I look back, I wonder if you would have understood that I needed a father too. I needed the both of you to be happy. It hurts every time I see someone’s mother packing lunch for them, combing their hair or giving them a kiss before they go out. I know your life was a mess, but I’m struggling with my own mess too. Maybe it would have been easier for me to get through this had you been with me?
Why did you give up so early Mom? You could have raised me and maybe then I would have had a voice to speak up. We could have had each other’s backs and overcome our challenges together. I know it’s hard to be married to a man who thinks you are insane and wants to send you to an asylum and instead of loving you, sends off his kids someplace far so he can take care of his business. But that wasn’t my fault Mom. I wish that you had looked at me once before you did what you did, and thought for a moment about what would happen to me without you. I’m sorry that despite knowing all the suffering you faced, I can’t stop blaming you for my own suffering. Maybe if you’d had the courage to survive for a few more years, you would have had a better life with me. I wish you had not been this naive and thought that if you were no longer here, everyone would be at peace.
Nobody even talks about you any more, do you know? It’s as if you never existed and it breaks my heart that people can forget someone so easily. I know that bright smile of yours could’ve lit me up. That zest for life you once had and all those little quirks would’ve made home a loving place for me. Why did you take that away from me Mom? I would have never let anyone harm a hair on your head, all you had to do was wait.
Did I do something wrong? Was I not enough?
I’m sorry for blaming you for everything and not being there for you. I hope we meet in the next life, and I promise I’ll never let anyone hurt you again. I promise to protect you and show you how to persevere, as I do every day. I promise to not let you give up on life for people who aren’t even worth it.
Wherever you are today, I hope you know this: I’ll always love you, no matter what.