(Please be aware that this is very unpoloshed and raw. I wrote this letter as part of a therapy assignment today.)
August 8, 2017
Tomorrow would be your birthday. I know you hated celebrating this day. While you were alive I could have easily forgotten it if it wasn’t for the effects it had on you. For some reason I seem to have absorbed all that pain and depression. I have absorbed a lot of pain.
I wish everything about you wasn’t so damn complicated. I wish I could just love you, or just hate you. I wish my life hadn’t been shattered by your death, and yet, I know that your death has let me start healing. I hate that it was only in the last few months of your life that I started to feel like you actually were starting to accept me. I hate that I will never know if that could have happened. It isn’t fair that I am always going to be stuck with the memory of you telling me I was disgusting and perverse for being bi. Like it was something I could change. You have no idea how hard I tried to change it. You have no idea how much these words haunt me. There is still this part of myself that I hate and resent because of you.
I have to give you credit for keeping your promise not to tell Dad. I am both glad and broken because when I told him about that and about being poly he started pulling away. Now, I live haunted and stuck. Why can’t either of you ever make anything simple? At least I never believed the lie of unconditional love. I know, have always known, that love only comes with strings and terms. As long as I fit your narritive of who I was, should be, I was loved.
At the same time, I want to believe that you both did always love me even when you didn’t like what I did. I want to believe the lies we told ourselves throughout my childhood. That things were as perfect as they looked to the outside world. If our clothes were clean and properly pressed would we behave perfectly too?
I still long for you. You taught me about mental health days. You gave me my love of movies. You tried so hard all the time. I understand what that is like, now. I wonder what would have changed if you had gotten help sooner. What could our relationship have looked like if you had been able to deal with your pain and trauma sooner? If Dad and his addiction hadn’t thrown fuel on the fire?
I said, when I gave your eulogy, that you were love. I meant it. I still do. You wanted, desperately, to give the world all the love that you wished you had. Just some of that love was the messy complicated kind. You taught me that those you love the most also hurt you the most. I regret every time I have proven that true. I resent every time it has been proven to me. Even now, with the best healthiest relationships of my life, and I am still reminded of this. I seem doomed to only receive love and pain in equal measure from everyone I love. What really sucks about that is it is often your voice in my head that creates the pain. I know, from you, that I can’t possibly deserve them. So, I keep fucking up and pushing until they push back. I wish you had taught me that love doesn’t have to mean conflict and pain.
I wish I didn’t still want you when I am sick or afraid. No one could comfort me like you did. No one even tries anymore. I have succeeded in fooling everyone into believing I am capable of surviving anything. You taught me how to do that. People can’t hurt you if you dont need them, right? I think this is part of why I have always picked partners who can’t meet my emotional needs in one way or another. It forced me (and them) into situations where I can prove to myself that I don’t need them. And, hey, love can’t exist without being hurt, right?
It sucks that you taught me how to be so independent. I punish myself for needing anything. At the same time, I never would have survived this long if it wasn’t for all you taught me about being independent. I know, now, how much the loss of independence cost you as you got sick. I will never know what kept you going. I am glad something did. I am glad you started to see my boldness not as something to be afraid of but as something to celebrate. I wish my independence could have been treated like that. I learned your lesson, only depend on yourself.
Did you learn something else in those last few years that you never told me? Were you afraid that I would reject you? I know that your attempts to squash my boldness when I was younger were an effort to protect me. Your life had taught you it was dangerous to be seen. Is that why you were afraid to see me? Is this why I know I will never find someone who truly sees, and loves, all of me?
Oh Mom, my heart is breaking I miss you so badly. I would give anything for one more hug. You hurt me more than anyone has but you also loved me more than anyone has. It was a messy broken love, but it was the first I ever knew. I don’t think anyone gets why I miss you so much. They can’t get past my pain. They never met the avenging mom angel who would flatten anyone else hurting us. I really do get that you were doing the absolute best you could. I get it because I am you in how my kids view things. I loved them with fierce protectiveness but I have also hurt and abused them more than anyone else in their lives. At least I am getting the chance to tell them that I know that. At least I am getting the chance to heal some of the wounds I inflicted. I am envious of my kids for that. I wish we had gotten more time for healing.
I have become so much like you. Maybe too much in some ways and not enough in others. I wish I had your passion for penmanship now! I learned something interesting today. I learned that I never fully trust anyone who has a less complicated set of feelings about you than I do. I find that to be darkly amusing. It took my first real true cancer scare to make me see this. I just don’t trust simple. How are the two related? Timing. I think if I had gotten this potential problem any other time than today I would not have made the connection. I wouldn’t have been pushed past breaking and into the land of no feeling if it wasnt for events all coming together at once. I can’t always see my patterns until I get pushed into cold logic. I learn more about myself when dissociative than when I am myself.
I wonder if you could have understood that. I wonder if there had been more time would you have been able to see all of me? I may never get to know that. I want to pretend that we could have that. I want to pretend that it could have been possible to develop a less complicated relationship. I can only tell you that I can accept that sometimes complicated is all we get. Would you be proud of all the healing I have done even if it meant accepting that I am never going to be who you wanted me to be? I do know you would be proud of your grandons.
I don’t know what else I need to say. I feel hallow right now. I love you. I am angry. I miss you and I wish I had gotten more time with you. It would have been nice to ask you some of this. It would have been nicer if you could always answer like I pretend you would. I know you loved me but it wasn’t the kind of love I needed. I am still grateful for it because it was the best you could give. I am angry at what you did to me but I am also angry that you were taken away too soon. I will always be your complicated and messy daughter.