I have gone almost 11 years without you. I have known my stepmother longer than I knew you. How does it feel knowing that? How does it feel knowing that another woman was a better mother than you were? You abandoned your family and your children, and because you’re dead, you can’t see the pain we’ve been through because of your actions.
My teacher once said that suicide is the most selfish act a person can commit, because those who kill themselves are only thinking about their pain and not how their actions will affect others. And that describes you perfectly.
Growing up without you, I didn’t think about you much. I just thought of your death as something that happened. I didn’t feel much emotion when talking about it. But once I became a bit older—at the stage where most children learn they can have different beliefs than their parents—I grew increasingly angry because of the things I missed out on. I struggled because you weren’t there for me.
I had to go bra shopping with my father. He left me in the pre-teen section, and as I stared at the bras, not knowing how they worked or what to do, I began to cry. I needed you, and you weren’t there. When I got my first period, I had no other female to go to, so I had to go to my father. He told his girlfriend (my now stepmother), and I had to awkwardly explain to a woman I didn’t even like at the time what had happened.
I had to be subjected to stares in my classroom in elementary school when I told the teachers I couldn’t make a card for Mother’s Day and they demanded to know, in front of everyone, why I would disobey them. I had to watch during Girl Scouts all of the girls with their mothers selling cookies and bonding over earning badges such as sewing and cooking, while I had to learn quickly that these were memories I would never have.
I didn’t know how to apply makeup. My friend always offered to help, but I was too embarrassed because I didn’t know anything about it. I stood in the makeup aisle of the store with my stepmom, who barely wears any makeup, and I didn’t know what to do. I choked back the tears, wishing you were there to make me feel less like an idiot. I ended up texting my friend’s mom, who explained to me what to get and what colors would work best for me.
You weren’t there to see me dress up for prom. You weren’t there to see me graduate high school. You weren’t here to see your husband’s family start a bitter feud with each other over property and money after Grandma died. You weren’t there to watch me grow into a strong woman.
You won’t be here when my little brother graduates high school. You won’t be here for my college graduation. You won’t be here for my little brother’s college graduation. You won’t be here when I get married. You won’t be here when I begin having children of my own. You won’t be here to watch me struggle to be a good mother because you definitely didn’t teach me anything about being maternal.
Dad always says that I don’t understand what depression is if I hold this amount of anger toward you. He says you couldn’t help it, that you weren’t in the right state of mind. But I have one question for you….
The night you left, the last time I ever saw you, you fought with your husband about where you should eat—should you stay at home or go out? You got into a stupid fight. And you left.
Tell me. Out of everything you had been through, the emotional and physical abuse by your father and the waste of space your alcoholic mother was, how did that stupid fight drive you over the edge?
You didn’t see the police officer interrogate my father. You didn’t see how he accusingly looked at your worried husband. You didn’t see how the officer clung to every word I said about that fight, hoping I might reveal some evil about my father to explain your disappearance.
Sometimes when I really need a mother, I get sad. I go to your piano and sit there, playing the last song you taught me before you decided to quit teaching me because I was too stubborn. At times, if I sit there long enough, the piano electronics turn on and begin playing the last song you recorded on the floppy disk before you killed yourself. I secretly love telling people that you were a concert pianist.
I wonder a lot. I wonder if you and I would hate each other if you were alive. I wonder if you and I would have a good relationship. I wonder if you loved my little brother more than I, something I’ve believed for a very long time because family members have said you spent more time with him than me and he’s the younger one.
I am protective of my little brother. I would gladly absorb his pain and hurt that he feels about you to prevent his heart being broken by the first woman in his life. I don’t want him to think badly of you, a person he holds very close to his heart. He’s always been a better person than I—always kinder, always believing the best in people. I want him to continue being like that, without your death making him into a bitter person like me. I know he’s angry, but I know I’ve always been the child with a chip on her shoulder. I want him to always believe the best in you, hoping that he never finds out about the skeletons in your closet.
Dad is right when he says I don’t really hate you; I’m hurt by you. I want to be the strong person, never crying or allowing myself to feel the pain you’ve left in all of us. I wish you were here. I wish you could answer my questions. I know you listen to me when I cry and talk to you. I know you’re there in the room with me. I sometimes get a chill while crying, and I know it’s you trying to comfort me in your arms. As angry as I am about what you’ve done, I know deep down that I’m heartbroken. And I don’t think it will ever be mended until the day I see you again.
Some days I think of you. Those days I’m usually super-quiet and am in my own thoughts for the rest of the day. Some days I don’t think of you, and I live my life not thinking about the event that happened 11 years ago around Christmas.
Overall, I’ve sadly had to make it this far without you, and I’ve still got a long way to go before we meet again. My parting words to you in this letter….
I love you. You hurt me. I’m angry with you. I wish you were here. I wish you weren’t here. I can make it without you, but I know it would be much easier if you were here.