daily prompt

Writing it down

So, the daily prompt wants us to write a letter to our mom and tell her something we’ve never been able to put into words? That’s pretty daring of the prompt writers. Not everyone has a loving relationship with their moms. Some people actively dislike, shall I say hate? their moms. That opens the door to some intense letter writing. I don’t hate my mom. I never have. But I’m not overly fond of her either.

A secret once told is no longer a secret

Letters untold

Me? I’ve already written my letter. I wrote it a long time ago. I wrote it back when I was pregnant with my youngest child and my marriage was in turmoil. I’d finally figured out that my husband didn’t really marry me. He’d married someone he thought he could fit into his idea of an ideal wife.  And yeah, at age 17 playing house sounded fun, stay at home, clean, be a “housewife” and a mom. And it was a quick and dirty way to get out of my parents’ house (so I’m as much to blame as him…) But after the third kid and nothing to do all day but clean and watch kids, I knew that wasn’t the life for me (this was before the internet, you understand).  He didn’t want me to learn to drive. He didn’t want me to go back to school. Nor was I allowed to volunteer or get a part time job. Nope. My “job” was to keep house and watch the kids. That’s what I’d agreed to when we got married, so why was I bitching about it for four years and four kids later?

Anyway, I wasn’t even 21 at the time. I was scared. Terrified. I had no workable skills and three kids to take care of (pregnant with the fourth).  I was also dealing with untreated bipolar disorder (untreated because my husband didn’t believe in the diagnosis), which didn’t help anything at the time.  I turned to my mom for help. She flat out told me that I was not welcome back into her home unless I could get a job and pay rent. I didn’t even have a high school diploma at the time. I barely knew how to drive! It was then and there that I knew I couldn’t count on anyone but myself in this world.  But in order to do that, I needed to let go of some baggage. So I sat down and wrote my mom a letter. It was a long one. I won’t go into the details of it here because it was also an intensely personal letter and best left unshared. But wrote her I did. And then I sealed the letter and put it away for a while.  I wrote my husband a letter too, and also sealed it and put it away.

remind me to tell you about this quote one day

New life motto

Then I set out to do what needed to be done. Against my (then) husband’s wishes, I got my GED. Then I started learning how to work. Whenever he went out to sea, I went to work. I’d quit when he came back home. Then I went to vocational school (the nail in the coffin that was our marriage). Even with four kids. Even with untreated bipolar. It took me over four years to learn how to stand on my own. I kept trying to make things work with my husband, trying to find a compromise, but all the while I worked to have a foundation in place… just in case. Because I knew he had this ideal in his mind that he couldn’t let go of. He wanted the homemaker, the loving wife and the sparkling house with the adoring children to come home to every day. He didn’t want disorder of any kid. He couldn’t accept that my mind isn’t wired right and that he’d come home to disarray and kids playing quietly in their rooms instead of whatever it was he thought they should be doing. It never clicked with him. So we went our separate ways.

After four years, I reached out to my mom again, and met with the same stone wall. Even though this time the kids would be staying with my husband. She flat out refused to help me in any way at all.   So I dusted off the old letters that I wrote and reread them. I took more paper and wrote some more. Then, as I was moving from California to New Mexico for the first time, I stopped at a deserted rest stop on a starry evening and piled the lot of them in a barbecue and set them to light. As the ashes of my old life rose into the air, I knew that the Past was the Past and this was the Now. The actions of the Past would never hurt me again. My husband, my mother, no one in my past had the power to inflict their pain on me. I worked very hard to be able to stand on my own. Sure, I had a push from the powers that be, but I also had a lot working against me. I’m proud of the person I became and have become.

so true

so true

The letter to my mother and husband were cathartic, and I’ve written others to different people before and since for much the same reason. I’m sure my kids have a few choice words for me as well. After all, I abandoned them to their father (I had my reasons), who married the psycho amazon slut bitch from hell I mean his second wife (but I’m not bitter) who turned out to be crazier than me.  Literally. The woman is insane. But, did I know he would do that? No!Anyway! What I’m trying to say is that these letters are meant to be personal, not for public display.

That being said, there’s another side to this coin. This is what’s happening on my husband’s side of the family.  The link will take you to a photographer’s blog about my husband’s stepmother’s trip to Maui earlier this year (Hubby didn’t go with them). The stepmother’s name is Nancy. She is a wonderful woman whom I’ve only met twice but was very friendly to me both times. She has terminal cancer and is on her deathbed right now. The hubby went down this weekend to say his good-bye’s and the entire family has gathered around to await her last breath. Everyone who is close to her is near her so she doesn’t die alone and scared. By all accounts, she is meeting death with grace and dignity. I don’t even know if my mother is alive or not, though I’m sure my brothers will tell me when she dies. They’re closer to her than I am. But I highly doubt our family will gather around and support her as the hubby’s family is supporting Nancy. We are not made of the same ties.  All things considered, I’m glad that there are families like my husband’s out there. They balance those like mine. My thoughts are with Nancy and those closest to her. I wish her safe journey into whatever awaits her in the afterlife. I’m also glad that should her children write her letters, they are filled with the opposite of what I wrote in mine.

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6 thoughts on “Writing it down

  1. Deleting them isn’t nearly as satisfying, is it? I haven’t needed to write a soul cleansing letter in a long time, but they served their purpose when I needed them.

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  2. I’ve written letters to people before, letters that I never meant to post, just write. And yes I’ve burned my fair share of them as well (deleting a letter typed on your computer just doesn’t have that same cathartic effect). My husband always says that women are deeper and capable of keeping more inside than they are given credit for and I think he’s right. Kudos to you for sharing such a personal tale with us, not everyone is that brave

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  3. Years ago -in my childhood- back in Europe I went to a Lutheran church. The confession of the sins wasn’t public, like in the Catholic church. No the people were writing them down and then they all folded that piece of paper and they all were burned together. Burning the letters was like the absolution. Watching my letter burn felt the same way. Like I burned that bridge to that part of my past and there was no going back.

    I am proud of you, IF you don’t mind me saying so.

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  4. These early marriage — I married at 18, originally — are known in the shrink biz as “jailbreak” marriages. We don’t have the skills, money, or whatever to get out of our parents house, so we marry out. Mine wasn’t so awful, but he wasn’t a lifetime solution and I had one more hideous mistake to make before I finally got it right. I don’t talk much about my dark years and never will. I know a lot of people — men and women — and there are periods of our lives we don’t care to discuss. We have our reasons. They are usually very good reasons.

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    • Jailbreak marriages. I like that. I’ll have to remember that term. I also had a second mistake (I call him my manic mistake) before I got it right. This is my third and final husband. Third time is the charm, right?

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