Dear mama

I am 22-years-old, and barely
beginning to feel like an adult.
I’m openly overemotional, often un inspired, always aspiring, and busy throwing myself neck deep into anything I think will make me feel something. I pursue passion with a vigor that is un rivaled, but it doesn’t partner
with perseverance, and I feel lost
a lot. Some days I’m positively vibrating with all the radiant beauty and light in my life, and some days I feel so lonely I can barely stand up. I know how to take deep breaths and do what needs to be done even when it hardly feels worth it; I know because I spent my life watching you pick yourself up.
At times you have accidentally
invalidated me in your strength;
what a paradox. You’re so strong, so steeled and seasoned, that watching me revel in my pain contradicts you. It’s easy for me to understand. As often as you are strong, you are vulnerable. This is an inconsistency I have long valued in you. I know from watching for a long time that only I see that part of you. I know that you cry every single time we talk on the
phone not because you cry often,
but because crying in the comfort of my love has become a luxury, and you can hardly help but leak your doubts in the one safe place you know.
I am your child, and I have grown
from your heart, and as long as I
can remember, I have been your
best friend. I challenge you
overtly, make you laugh deeply
and honestly, listen to your fears, and offer whatever limited
perception I can of the worlds we
share, and the worlds we don’t.
I think about growing older a lot,
and though I try to deny it, I am
very afraid. Even now, I feel as if I am very close to the end of my
life, and I feel scared that
suddenly I blink and I’m looking
back on everything I’ve ever
loved, trying to piece together
how I’ll be able to let it all go.
This panic takes me over at times, and I would be trapped in it if something didn’t stop me. But every time, this thought gives way to another.
The uneasiness of my own
mortality is a flickering candle in
the distance compared to the
sorrow that consumes me when I
realize that before I will grow old, you will grow old.
It has been my nightmare for as
long as I can possibly recall… I
hear stories, or I meet someone
who has lost a mother and I
weep without constraint. I used
to keep myself up at night as a
child in terror, because I worried
that thinking about it would
make it come true.
In a sense I am frail. Stability is
fleeting within me, and my most
constant battle is one to
maintain my sanity in a world
that seems bent on robbing me of it. I’m self-critical, I know, but there are dark places inside of me that I am afraid of, and I’ve
only ever seen a few truly
brilliant rays. I worry that I would be utterly past hope without you.
I’m writing you this letter, while
you are alive and well, and while
your mother is alive and well,
because I don’t know any other
way to explain. With any luck it
will be decades before I ever
have to live my hell, but I need
you to know beyond all doubt,
right now, that I love you terribly,
that I have always needed you,
and that I will always need you.
I hardly think anyone is truly
worthy of a mother’s
unconditional love; I know I’ve
never earned it, and never had to ask. Though at times the trenches
I dig entrench me, and the paths
we’ve run together seem doomed, my heart is absolutely overflowing
with affection for my mother –
what a gift it has been to always
know your light.

I love you.


4 thoughts on “Dear mama

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