August 22, 2020

An Open Letter on Grief, Trauma & the Weight of Childhood Wounds.

I know things have changed.

I do feel different; I feel happy almost every single day. However, there is still a small bag of sadness sewn onto my heart. It is a special place for the feelings that will stay with me forever.

I don’t want my daughter to know how wild I was. The meth was just a mechanism I used to cope with the constant trauma that was my life. There was more, though; it was a lifestyle to be addicted to chaos. My grief gave me the belief that I was fated to only experience pain.

Sometimes I still feel that way. I don’t feel bad for myself, though. This is not a pity party; this is grief. 

I still get stuck in my childhood depression. There are things I just cannot deal with, and it is overwhelming. 

But my purpose, my daughter, who is the light in my eyes, is why I must keep it deep inside.

If I could talk to my biological mom, I would tell her:

“Mom, I am sorry. I wanted to do better in my life, and I feel like I am doing that now. But I still feel bad for all the times I got high and drove around. There are so many times I feel like my actions would make you turn over in your grave. To this day, even though I know you died from a drunk driver, here I am having another glass of wine.

I am sorry that I am not everything you probably hoped for me to be. I swear I have tried to connect with you in my darkest times. If I ever felt alone, I would go to your resting place. It was my childhood safe space. I felt like you were there when I sat on your cold stone in the grass. No matter what the hell was ravaging my life, time would seem to pass so peacefully there.

Mom, I felt you there at my wedding, though; I could feel you smiling down at me. This has been the most amazing month of my life. And I can thank you for that. You always made sure that, even if you weren’t here, we would be taken care of. Your family misses you; I miss you. I love you, mommy.”

I wish I could talk to others too—really talk to them. I would say:

“You have come so far, but I will never forget the times you kicked me when I was down. Or when you made me break down, even though you knew my soul was already shattered. I never want to be like you. I want to think about what is best for my daughter. I always thought something was wrong with me, but honestly, now I think it was you. As soon as I made my peace and got you out of my life, I changed—became genuinely happy. You were an anchor holding me down as I drowned.”

If I could, I would call my stepmom every day and say:

“You are the second best thing that ever happened to me (the first being my daughter). You raised me like your own, and I will forever thank you for that. I have an angel in heaven and an angel on earth. Sometimes I want to call you after a hard day and cry—like I used to. But I won’t because I refuse to break down in front of my daughter.

You always taught me to be strong. I want to be a stable factor in her life like you were in mine. So I will bury it inside and study for hours to provide her a better life—just like you did. The only difference between you and me now is that I let him go. I know you can’t, and that’s okay. I will always love you. Thank you for being the best mom I could ask for; you have earned my respect forever.”

So I will focus on the things I need to do. I will get my release by doing the things I want. 

I will climb the highest mountain in my valley and look at the landscapes. 

I will sit by the fire and listen to the silence

I will watch the hawk spread its wings, gazing over its sacred kingdom. 

There will be moments when I look out my window and see the most beautiful sunset over the west. And these moments will keep me loving, laughing, and praying. Each day I never forget to smile because these are the things that make life worth living. 

And, to my small pocket of sadness: I will keep on giving you light until you fade into dust. 

I do hope the winds will carry you away someday.

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