To my beloved Mother,
I want to start by telling you something you already know to the -nth power; I love you. I love you so much, I cannot even put it into words what that means to me. The amount of joy and love I have for you brims my heart unendingly. Knowing that you are my mother assures me that I always have a home. I feel blanketed by your warmth and worry and I do my very best everyday to make you proud to call me your only son.
Last week, I witnessed you falling. I saw you in a state I had not seen for over 10 years. In this realization, my whole childhood flooded my head. I was panicked, terrified and so very confused. The past was behind us and things were sooooooo good for soooooooo long. In an instant, all of that was undone. Your state of being was not that of my sweet mother. It was of the negligent, nasty, depressed, boozy single mom of 3. My mother would have never gone back to this. My mother was supposed to be here. My mother swore that she would never fall like this again.
Currently, we are in the recovery phase. The part that seems the hardest because the bruises from your fall are still so fresh. This part, believe or not, is not the hardest part. Your apologies are not unnoticed, and your ability to spring back up and stay strong has been wonderful so far.
While everything looks hunky dory on the surface, I think we are both cognitive of what’s lying just beneath. To sum you up would be close to impossible. The part of you that is under the microscope currently is the part I know to be suffering. You have been no stranger to life’s most unkind woes. For that, I am truly sorry. If I could take all that pain away from you and put it inside me, I would. I would 1000 times over.
Mom, I know what this feels like. I know because I have been there. I have been there without anyone else knowing either. I have been to the point of intentional acts of hurting myself. There was a time when the big nap was at my fingertips and all I had to do was give up.
The pain you feel is as great as all the caring you do for me and my siblings. I believe your sense of self relies solely on what you do and have done for your 3 children. I believe that you put 100% of yourself into us, leaving no room for yourself. I believe your intentions to be so generous and honorable, but ultimately; I believe this existence is hurting my mother. Furthermore, I will do anything to stop my mother from hurting.
I am now a 35-year-old man. I feel I have reached an age where I am not misinformed anymore. I have lived and experienced enough to where I can reflexively give solid advice to anyone about how to make a life worth living and how to be happy. I have done and will continue to do work in this area. Not because I am procrastinating, but because there are so many things to be happy about and I simply have not discovered them yet. Whether you realize it or not, you have this in you too.
Now…..you say that you feel much better and that everything will be ok. While I really want to believe you, I don’t think that is our best plan of action. I am asking for you to take the thought of counseling seriously. I want you to really want this. And I know it’s just about the most frightening thing imaginable, but I have some really, really great news: It’s euphoric.
When I started to realize that things needed an overhaul I sought the services of psychologists. I tried multiple doctors until I felt a rapport with one of them. Her name was Britta. She was 50-ish, blonde haired Danish woman that changed my life. In the brief time I was under her guidance, I achieved so much. I made massive changes, I felt excited about every breath of air I was able to take. I found myself wanting more, aching for the process to speed up. I embraced the changes and I could not wait to make you infinitely proud of me. I became my own happy thought.
All the good was not without its equal heaping pile of bad. Sometimes I drove to my appointment with Britta and sat in the parking lot. Sometimes I didn’t dare go inside to see her. While I never completely missed my appointments with her, I certainly confined myself. I was still terrified of what I was going to say or what I would hear. But, as goal oriented as I had recently become, I never missed an appointment with her because I knew 1) These were MY words and MY feelings 2) I somehow convinced myself it was irrational to have any fear about it. 3) I was going there for her to help me, and goddammit, that’s what I was going to get.
If you do this, if you find your own Britta, I want you to know something. You will be better. What that means to you right now may change, but please understand that its all a part of it. You have to search, Mom. You’re not going to like what you see at first. You’re not going to like what you see perpetually, but I promise you this……you will be better. You will begin to see what I see. A beautiful, intelligent, deeply compassionate, empathetic, funny, marvel of a human being.
We need to move forward and make more rich memories, Mom. If moving forward is our direction, the car that’s driving us is forgiveness. Once we can see ourselves as both people that forgive and can be forgiven, we can then starting really living. The kind of living that gives us peace and in turn, gives the one’s we love most the same kind of calm.
I am asking you to give yourself permission to become your own happy thought. I am asking you to concentrate. I am asking you to focus. I am asking you to look inward. Let go of fear, embrace the healing, lean on me, lean on all of us. Have gratitude for yourself, rethink what is possible, and most important, do it all with your heart wide open. In this moment, you are first, you are the only one that matters and there’s more good news: that’s the way it’s going to be forever.