Letters

I wrote a letter to my mom after I called her on the phone the other day and blew up at her and Dave. I left it on my computer for a few days so I could edit it before I sent it. I wanted to make sure I didn't say anything I'd regret.

Here it is: (I've taken out a few things that mention how Mom has treated other members of my family, for obvious reasons.) 
Mom, 

I'm sorry I said **** off. Not because I didn't mean it, and really I meant it more for Dave and his intrusion in the phone call than for you, but I regret that I said it. Partly because it's not a nice thing to say, but mostly because it means I let this situation get the best of me and I let my anger speak for me. Again. And that wasn't the plan when I called. The plan was to calmly tell you what I think of who you have become, before I close the door on this part of my life. And I did that. 

I'm pretty sure you didn't listen to any of it though. So here is what I wanted to say. 
First, I'd like to thank the woman that was my mother and best friend for the first 36 years of my life. I miss her, and I imagine she must be still down deep in you... ... ... She's the person who loved her grandchildren before they were even born, and couldn't help but shop for them while Melissa and I were pregnant. She's the person who called me for big things and small things in her life, and who was always there for us when we had big things and small things to talk about. She's the person who went missing pretty much right away after you met Dave. And you can think this rift between us is all about how awful your children are, but the person who was my mom and best friend would never have done some of the things you have done, including not visiting Ang the day Becca was born. I have no idea who you are anymore. I find your actions completely shocking and confusing when I look back on who you were before you met Dave. Everyone does.
You shouldn't have to choose between your spouse and your kids EVER, but you have, time and time again. And you haven't chosen us. I could write a list, but you know it. You and Dave can go right ahead and put this all on us, but I know you know. You aren't stupid. You are deluding yourself, and doing it very well, but you're not stupid.

Last year I said I was done with you. I meant it. I gave up on getting back any part of the relationship between you and me that was such a big part of BOTH OF OUR lives for so long. We had a two-way relationship that was meaningful and important to both of us, but last year I finally gave up and let that go. Since then you haven't hurt me. You're actions make me miss Dad more, but I haven't let you hurt me. But you have hurt other people I love... ... ...

And so, I'm done again, except this time I'm totally done. I had told myself that for the sake of my children who still love you even though they barely see you, I would maintain some kind of a relationship. I am no longer interested in that. I don't think you are either. You've seen my kids 4 times in the last year, and on one of those times when I asked to do something with you on another day your answer was no. You and Dave were going to take out your new boat instead. That's not a sign of a grandma who misses her grandkids. You've spent somewhere around 12 hours with us, and how much of that was actually spent interacting with the kids? Half an hour? Not much, that's for sure. You're with him all the time, but you can't spare some of your time for your grandkids who you hardly ever see? And Becca lives nearby and you barely see her either, so it's not just because we live farther away and don't visit as often as we used to. It's not just your kids you've turned your back on, it's your innocent grandkids. And whether or not their parents are horrible, you've lost all interest in Ben, Sam, Hannah, Noah, Abbey, Nathan, and Becca too. And they're not horrible. They're amazing. More amazing than any of us deserve, but you show almost no interest in them.

So, I'm done. No more. You've been doing exactly what you like with no reference to any of us, and from now on I will too. No more feeling obligated to keep some kind of door open between us. I'm good with closing it. I think it's best for everyone, and honestly I'm relieved it's finally over.

That's all I had to say, I wish I'd just written you a letter in the first place, I should know better than to think I can keep calm when I am talking to someone who I am so angry with.
- Becky
I got a letter from her today before I had a chance to send my edited version. My mom didn't bother editing. She sent me a seven page letter. Express. My instinct was to return it without reading it, but since I had a letter of my own that I wanted her to read I felt I owed it to her to hear her out. So I read it.

And I wish I hadn't given her a chance. And I feel less remorseful about telling her to **** off. And I feel even better about my decsion to never see her again.

I can't tell you everything she wrote, it was too awful. She was determined to show me that she's the victim and not only am I a horrible daughter, but my dad was a horrible husband. She went into intimate detail. Things that she'd hinted at before, things that had happened when she and my dad were crazy partiers walking far from God, she now went into intimate detail describing. Because, in her view, I thought my dad was a saint, and it was now her job to disabuse me of that notion.

I wrote her a new letter. I didn't edit it. It's long, so I won't post the whole thing here, but I will post a part of it:

I'd like to thank you for the lesson you just taught me today. I will NEVER tell my children any of the things their father has done to hurt me. I never intended to, it seemed obvious that it must be unhealthy, but this has locked that intention in solid. Your letter has shown me what an incredibly selfish thing that would be to do. (Especially if their Dad is dead and can never hurt anyone again.) Just so my kids can think that our crappy marriage was ALL his fault and not mine? I would hurt them like that? NEVER. So thanks for that. Now that I know that pain first hand, I can at least spare them. I will NEVER tell them the intimate details of our marriage.

There's another good reason that I won't "tell on" Glen sometime in the future, and your letter has taught me that lesson too. (I knew it before, but now I really KNOW it.) The fact is, people who try to make someone else look bad so they look good often find out that the opposite happens. They look bad. You told me this because of the "fact that (you are) shit under my feet"? Trust me. I have never thought that, and if I did this letter would most certainly have only confirmed it.

You have also taught me that I need to either forgive Glen and really love him again or GET THE HELL OUT. That's my choice and it was yours too. All those years of your anger and bitterness that I thought was just you and sometimes that I thought was all my fault, all those times you screamed at us sometimes out of nowhere and I promised myself I would never do that, the time you called me a "stupid little bitch" for stealing your socks, I can look back and imagine that if I was you, I might do the same thing. Your years of "unprovoked" (I thought) anger was provoked by my Dad, but you chose to push it down and store it up and then scream at us and now throw it all in my face in a letter. But thank you again. The next time I am really mad at Glen, but want to yell at my kids, I will think of you and your bitterness and what it has led to. And I will find a way to let his sins go FOR GOOD, for my sake and my kids. I don't want to be like you someday. I don't ever want to hurt them like that.
I still feel pretty shell shocked. WHO DOES THAT? What kind of sick do you have to be to describe things like that to your daughter? Nevermind that I'm an adult, and I know people aren't perfect. I'm not that shocked that any of it happened, I've been around long enough to know things happen. Mom said in her letter that she kept her mouth shut, but she has told me things before... Vague, undetailed hints at things that happened when I was quite young. Her letter blew me away because I was shocked that she would throw it at me now in descriptive detail. And of course, that wasn't bad enough. She also made sure to imply there was more and it was worse.

And then there was some ranting about how we all expect her to be at our beck and call, and jump to do what we want... Yeah. That's the problem. It's unreasonable of us to expect her to remember our birthdays and show up when babies are born. I'm a hateful horrible person for expecting that meeting someone new wouldn't change our friendship. Why should she have to call me when she gets engaged? What kind of daughter am I to think that my mom should come take care of me when I broke my ankle and was stuck on my back, or even call just once in more than two months to ask how I was healing? I mean, her boyfriend of a few weeks was expecting a new grandchild. She clearly had more important things to do. Busy busy.

She told me off for calling Dave disgusting, which was actually meant for her since I hadn't realized that she hadn't just put Dave on the other line, but handed off the phone completely. She won't stand for any more of my anger and "judgementalism." So that's that. Since I am angry, SO ANGRY, and I DO judge her the break is mutual and I don't have to feel guilty about cutting her off. She signed off that she just wants to "be and live in peace." I told her I was okay with that.

And I am.

The only thing is that for my own good I will have to someday find a way to forgive her for this, and I don't know how I will.



(P.S. In case you're wondering if it was deliberate, I did notice that I've finally come out and said Glen and I don't have a good marriage. Frankly, it's probably about time, and I'm sure it was pretty obvious to most of you. I'm also feeling an intense aversion to covering up crap like this right now or going into details. I really am thankful for the lessons I learned today. That wasn't sarcasm. She has done me a huge favour.)

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