Come Back to Me, Mom

Writing to Remember

This is a letter that's hard for me to share. I felt anger so my words were angry. I wanted to place blame so I did. I wanted to go down the rabbit hole of "why" so down the rabbit hole I went. This letter is the picture of a "work in progress". Originally written Sunday, April 05, 2015

Dear Mom,

I went home for Easter this weekend, and it was the first time I could really begin to comprehend how much of you is gone in our home. I’ve spent the last two and a half years barking at Dad and Austin to light candles like you used to, clean up like you used to, arrange things like you used to—even though really nothing has been unarranged. But it isn’t the same. And now I think I’m finally getting it. It’s another part of you that I’ve lost, and I didn’t even realize it.

It sounds silly, but I honestly believed that if we did things exactly like you did them— lit the same candles, decorated the same way you did for Christmas, set the table exactly like you would—that I’d still feel your presence, but I don’t because you’re not here to do any of it. The house is another thing that was “you”. And it’s not even the house itself but what you brought to it—you made it alive. The way it smelled, the dishes you cooked, the new lamp or vase you were “trying out”. It just isn’t the same. It’s another part of you that I’ve lost and it’s another “thing” I’ve lost because I don’t like to go home.

Home now brings pain. Dad, Austin and I do the best we can, but we’re still figuring out how to be a family without you. There’s a hole that is so deep in knowing you’re not with us. And the grief and anger that comes with that knowledge is intensified when we’re all together because it is right in our faces—you should be here.

Maybe I want to yell at you and ask how you could ever think we’d be able to be a family without you. I want to blame you for all of the hurt that comes with the grief. I hate watching Dad and Austin in pain—why would you leave them? Austin was 19. He needed you. I think more than any of us, his anger is so fierce and his longing for you breaks my heart. He has a picture of you and him on the dashboard of his car, and the only picture in his room is of you pressing your check against his face when he was a newborn. You knew he leaned on you and that he could talk to you. I think now he feels like he has no one—you were his person. Why would you leave him?

And why would you leave Dad? You knew he loved you. He would give everything and anything he had for you. And he had to find you. You knew he would and why? Why would you let him find you like that? That isn’t fair, and now he’s so sad. I can’t take it. He’s supposed to be enjoying these years with you, and he’s lost. Completely lost without you. I know he won’t tell me this, but he blames himself. He tries to say he only has moments where he does and he tries not to hold onto that, but I know he does. And you had to have known he of all people would—he was your partner. He was your husband for 28 years and you two stood by each other through it all. So how could he not blame himself for not being able to help you?

Why would you put all of these questions in our heads? Every day is such a battle. I’m so tired of fighting knowing that you gave up. Do you know how angry that makes me? Why didn’t you think about the life-long hurt, pain and emptiness you were going to cause? How could you not have known you’d leave us broken? I wonder if I saw you again would I spend time asking you these questions. I hope not.

I hope I would choose to tell you I love you and ask you about Heaven. I hope I would ask you about the things I won’t get to ask you. I hope I would ask you to tell me what advice you’d give me on my wedding day. I hope I would tell you that should I be blessed with a daughter she’ll be named after you. I hope I would ask how I can love Dad and Austin better—help them through their grief. And I hope I would ask you how I can remember how much you loved me. I hope those would be the things I’d spend my time sharing with you. Come back to me, Mom—if only in my memory.

Love always,

Meri Kate