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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dear Mom

My mom holding me

Dear Mom,

Well, it's my 5th Mother's Day without you. I'm pretty sure you won't read this, but the universe works in mysterious ways, so maybe you will.

I do miss you. Not as much as the first year, I must admit. That first year was tough. There was so much confusion in my head; you weren't a great mom, but you were the only one I had. It was weird, really, trying to put it all together. The sadness, the sense of loss, the sense of relief, the knowledge that you would never hurt me again.

There are good memories. Going to Disneyworld with you and Dad, swimming in the pool in Longwood, most of the visits in Reston. Even the week I was there before you died, we had a few moments of happiness.

Why were you so angry at me just for existing? What did I ever do to make you hate me when I was a kid? It's funny-you became your tormentor when you had a child and I railed against being anything like mine when I had my son. I struggled to leave your legacy behind in order to be a better mother, and I did it, Mom. Your grandson is loved and safe and amazing.

I'm doing well. Still married, against all odds, mentally and emotionally sound 95% of the time, living in a small town back in the Midwest. Are you happy wherever you are? Is your pain gone? I don't know if I believe in Heaven, but if there is one, you deserve to be there.

Mom, I forgive you. It took a long time to get to this point, but now that I've crawled out of the hole and into the sunlight, I see what you must have gone through. You were pretty messed up when I was a kid, and I did blame you for my own struggles, but I think at some point, it just doesn't make sense to hold onto all that anger. So, I let it go. I wrote you a letter last year, took it outside and set it on fire. Watching the little pieces float into the air, I hoped that you somehow understood and got my message.

So, that's that. Your picture hangs in my office at the house, and every once in awhile, I look at you and smile. The photo I love the best is the one of you and your grandson, sitting on the hide-a-bed. He's about 3, dressed in his pajamas and you're reading to him. He loved you so much, Mom, and you were an amazing grandmother. I like to believe that loving him kept you around a little while longer.

Happy Mother's Day. I love you.

[I am publishing this because I know so many people who have lost a mother with whom they had very complicated relationships. Feel free to insert your own words or details into this letter, and read it to the memory of your mom. Release the anger, just let it go.]