Ten Years

Dear Momma,

10 years is a long time. I feel like there should be a better, more poetic way to start this, but that’s the only thing that really feels right. Finding fault isn’t the best action and I’ve stayed away from it for a while, but sometimes I wonder if I should be mad at you for leaving, for abandoning me, for not being here for such critical events in my life. I’m not mad. You never planned any of it. You just made a poor choice and didn’t think the consequences would be there for you. It happens. But, in this case, that means that the consequences hurt everyone who loved you so much more because we have to live without you. You don’t have to feel that pain anymore. You’re not sitting here crying and being a generally miserable person right now. You’re gone.

I’ve needed you so much to help me through my life since you. I was in a relationship for four years that broke me apart in so many ways that I think you would have gotten me out of sooner. Granted, if you hadn’t died then I never would have met him or needed him. In the beginning he helped me because he was the only one that would let me talk about you and he would listen. In the end he was a chronic liar, a thief, and mentally abusive. He kept me from feeling completely alone, which might be what saved me, but then he made me feel worthless and tried with everything he had to try and sabotage anything that would let me be strong independently. But for the longest time I couldn’t step away from him because I was afraid of losing someone else. These are the scars your death left on me.

Thinking back, I know that you know exactly what I mean. You lived that with Wayne, except that you married him, too.

I wish you could have been here for me for my three miscarriages. For most of your life before me, you were told you couldn’t have children. I can. I can make babies. I just can’t make babies that are able to live. I have a doctor appointment to try to find out why and I want you there. I’m afraid that there is nothing they can do. If it’s true, I will adopt. I have plans. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t tear me apart.

There is a part of myself that I don’t talk to many people about. For most of my life, I felt defective. I know now that I’m not; I’m just different. I have Asperger’s. Discovering that there was a reason, that I wasn’t alone in this, that there were things I could do to help myself step past triggers… it has changed me for the better. But that didn’t happen until I was 25. For a while I wondered if you and my dad ever noticed the things about me that were different. There was no way you could have missed them, really, but I was your only and you probably brushed it aside as personality. That’s what I’ve told myself to understand why it was never brought up.

Yet, in the last few days as all of my memories of you have sifted through my mind, I’ve wondered if you were too. I was so naive back then and so much of what you told me about your life went over my head. In retrospect, and in remembering your mannerisms and ways of handling things, I think I understand. Did you not notice that I was different because you just thought I had taken after you? Did you spend all 50 years of your life thinking yourself defective, because you never discovered that there was a reason? Are we even closer to being the same person? The difference is that I know and I’ve grown. My self confidence is strong where yours was weak. I know to avoid certain situations that you didn’t, that I watched hurt you. You never got that chance. I wish that you had. I wish that we had been able to face this together.

When I wish that you had lived, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like. I never would have moved down south, met the jerk or married Mike. I would have gone to college up there, been a teacher up there. Would I have ended up with the guy I confided in you about or someone else? Losing you was hell and my dad was hard where you were soft and comfortable. With no disrespect to him, I was a wreck while I lived there both because of my grief and the triggers that I didn’t understand then. But it did force me to find in myself the strength to persist, to take control of myself and my life, and become who I am. When I let myself, I wonder if I ever would have managed this strength if you had lived. I hate myself for wondering and having you would be worth it, but I can be thankful for what I have accomplished as well.

I still miss you. I will never stop loving you. Ten years is too long, but it is only going to keep growing. I don’t know if you’re in Heaven, reincarnated as a butterfly, or just the ashes spread over the mountains, but I will still talk to you and hope that somehow you know–or, at least, that you knew before you died–how much you mean to me.

Love,
Heather

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