Letter to my Mother

Best Friend!!!

Two years have gone by where I can’t aggravate you by singing and dancing, cook you food and have you rate and critique it, go shopping and meet random people, call and complain about your son, or sit on the phone with you just because I feel alone. You were indeed my person to experience life with.

As I navigate through some women’s health issues I’m even more emotional because I don’t have you here to discuss this part of life. I can’t beg you to come to my appointments with me or call you about my symptoms. Which would lead you to share every home remedy you can remember. When the kids are just being kids but my hormones won’t let me be patient, I can’t call and vent hoping you’ll let them hang with Nana for a weekend. When I can’t sleep, I’m bored, sad or lonely, I can’t call you and just sit on the phone talking about everything until I fall asleep. I don’t get to hear you laugh and joke with the kids and I don’t get to watch you get your elderly butt in the floor to play with them lol. I don’t get to watch scary movies with you in broad daylight. I don’t get to dream with you out loud and make plans for the future.

These last two years, I’ve struggled. A LOT. I’ve burrowed myself inside the house, I’ve not eaten, showered or gotten out of bed at times. I’ve been an antisocial hermit. But this year is a little different. My parallel sibling is home and we are able to get through the day together. I’d love to say the tears are less but they aren’t. Thoughts of you have not faded and you’re still the topic of many conversations.

You told us this…you said all the time that we’d miss you when you were gone. And Mommie I do!!! I miss you terribly. I truly thought I was your Genie in a Bottle, your Guardian Angel, your Shield/Protector, your Nurse, your Princess of Peace. But now I see you were all those things to me. It was an honor being your daughter. Even though you’re physically not here, the pressure to succeed still remains in me.

So save us a seat at the table next to you in the next lifetime…there’s so much we have to talk about and so many hugs I want to give you. Always missing you. See you again one day 💜💜💜

Happy Birthday Best Friend

Hey Best Friend. It’s me again.

I don’t know what to expect when your birthday starts to creep up. Will it be a day of remembering you? Will it be a day of remembering the pain? Can any holiday ever feel the same again?

I wanted to feel happy and calm today but I’m finding I feel completely different now that the day has finally arrived. I’ve placed heavy expectations for this day and find that my expectations aren’t met. Often I ask myself, “Who am I now that you’re gone, and how am I suppose today?” And then, I feel deep grief and sorrow and I’m surprised at the moments when I feel “ok,” which can sometimes lead to unwanted feelings of guilt.

I woke up and somehow made it through half the day, before I was reminded that it was your birthday. I’ve been thinking about this day for a while. Little Brother and I just talked about it this week. Now I feel horrible.

It explains why I didn’t sleep the best last night. Or why I woke up tired as if I didn’t sleep. I was irritated and upset by just merely having to get out of bed. Angry because I had to work. And I wanted to be hugged and loved and left alone all at the same time. In an attempt to wash away feelings, I took a shower before taking the kids to school. That rarely happens. I should have taken the day off work. Ugh.

Now that your birthday is at the forefront of my mind, I am feeling like the worse daughter ever. I remember that I asked best friend and another friend of mine to help me do a lantern release. Baby steps but I’m trying here. I wish I had the answer to why this is so hard and the antidote to grief and how it affects you as an entire person.

So first let’s see if I actually go through with the lantern release. The give up and cancel spirit is very heavy right now. And then let’s see how I feel afterwards. Should I fail to muster the emotional, physical or mental strength to do anything today I hope you know that I still love you. And while I haven’t planned a chill at home birthday party for you, with a cake that you never eat, and food you eat but talk junk about; know that you’re always on my mind and in my heart. I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing it is bringing you pure enjoyment. You deserve it.

I love you and Happy Birthday Mom!

When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.

Lee Ann Womack


I woke up this morning, not much different than how I went to sleep last night. No appetite, not really wanting to get out of bed and just feeling blah.

I got the kids up for school. Got the little one dressed. Got their breakfast on the table and I sat in the bathroom sobbing for what felt like hours. My eyes red, puffy and swollen and my head aching. This is a never ending and unpredictable cycle. But as usual, I have to push through because I have no other option.

I’m almost certain this is a result of speaking to my cousin last night unexpectedly. Trying to be supportive for her, stirred up feelings for me. Each time she cried I wanted to cry too. And as soon as I hung up, I wrapped myself in my blanket and did just that. Laid in the dark, in silence and just cried.

Its going on 2 years of a never ending cycle of grief. I have good days and I have bad ones. Sadly, today felt like it was going to be a struggle day. Not even in the mood to interact with others, I opted to drop my son off in the car drop off line rather than walk him to school. I went back home and sat in the car, inside the garage crying.

All I could think was: This cannot be my life!

I grip the steering wheel and just cry until my daughter opens the car door. As much as I try to conceal these emotions from my children, she usually catches me. She’s such a sweet girl. I hug her and just think why me? A Mother? Why?

A sea of my childhood memories creep in and I cry even harder. All I want is to give them what I didn’t have and raise them how I think they should be raised. Childhood should be enjoyable and memorable. Not traumatic and stressful. Aiming to be a little better than my Mother because she always told me to never strive to be just like her but to be better.

We got ourselves together and I started the car to get her to school. As we were leaving I tell her the potential plans for the weekend. We arrive to the school with time to spare so we rearrange her book bag. Looking through her notebooks and tablets, she has drawings in each one. I told her we would get her a sketchpad just for drawing so she doesn’t use up her notebook paper and tablets for non class related notes/drawings. She agreed, cleaned her glasses and exited the car. Before walking away she leaned in and said “Try to have a good day Mommie. Things will get better.” I nodded and told her to have a good day and I love her. “Love you too!”, she replied and walked across the street to school.

I drove off with the thought to go on my morning walk. But I felt more like hiding inside my house. I just wanted to hide from the world. Sit in my big comfy sweater, sweatpants and fuzzy socks, and cry. Cry all fucking day, getting myself together only to put on the “I’m ok!” mask before picking up the kids from school.

Grieving sucks. The shit is life changing and never ending. So treat everyone you cross paths with delicately. Be gentle with others and yourself. Some people are fighting demons larger than life and still attempting to appear OK.

I Need Peace

I’m struggling today. I thought the series of grief events were behind me after Saturday came and went.

I was hoping that having my Baby Love home would ease this pain or at least make it tolerable but I’ve been attempting to self cope and cycling never ending thoughts through my little head.

Appetite. I don’t really have one. But I’m back in the throes of trying to numb my pain. Nothing is working. I get tired of talking about it. So I feel like others are tired of listening. Others being the few that I even have to converse with.

Feeling like I’m on the brink of self destruction, a nervous breakdown, something that I won’t be able to control. This space I’m in sucks. I smile when I really want to cry and I say nothing is wrong when there is so much wrong.

I need some peace. Where the hell can I find it?

Time…We Don’t Have As Much As We Think

A year ago today, I remember heading to help my cousin I watching her kids so that she could work. I packed up all my work items, my kids and their things and headed to her house that morning.

I didn’t sleep well which wasn’t anything new at the time. My Mom had been released from the hospital and she was now a whopping 5-10 minutes from me whereas before she was in a facility in another county 35 minutes away. I was sad that it took such a tragic event to get her moved but nonetheless I was happy to have her close.

I wasn’t able to see her like I could previously because of the COVID restrictions but I could visit her through the window and that was enough for me. To be able to lay eyes on her and ask her if she was ok and to have her confirm with a nod or smile and sometimes an eye roll. She had been telling me for the last few years that I act like I think I’m her Mother lol.

Her last hospital visit hit me hard. I was processing a lot by myself. I was handling a lot by myself. And while I’m grateful for my aunts and uncles, it was different not having my Brother by my side through it all.

Even with my uneasy feeling on this day, I still tried to function normally. It was extremely hard so I played with Benji, laughed with the kids and my cousin. Tried to eat and worked.

My phone rang and I stepped outside to take it. My heart sank so deep inside of me. The words this lady spoke to me hit me so hard. “I need you to get here as soon as possible. Your Mother is not doing well and we are expecting her to transition in the next 48 hours.” I wanted to yell but I was outside my cousins house. Still concerned about others I didn’t want to have her neighbors trying to figure out what’s wrong with the crazy lady outside and call the police. I paced her walkway. I called my Brother immediately. He has to come home. I let him know that I was going to Red Cross him because he was in the field training.

I felt sick, hurt, sad, angry…I didn’t want to scare my kids so I tried to keep cool. All I could do was silent cry. I told my cousin what was going on and I got my kids and things together and I left. I began to call my family. At this point I had forgotten all about work. My life was crumbling and there was no gorilla glue or magic tape to hold this shit together.

I always said if anything ever happened to my Mom surely I’d go crazy. Was this a test? Her accident that began this downward spiral was one thing. But this was different. It even felt different.

Now I know we are all here on borrowed time. But this was my Mother. My “originator”. The absolute center of my life. She’s the reason why I grind so hard! To make her proud and to be able to care for any and every need that she had or could imagine. The mere thought of not having my Mom here whether she was well or not disturbed me.

So many thoughts were flooding my mind. I couldn’t organize them. Some were just terrible. My positive talk was nowhere to be found. Guilt began to hit me again. Had I been on time before, the accident wouldn’t have happened and she would be ok and I would not be enduring this God awful pain.

The hospice nurse calls me while I was enroute to check in and give me tasks. I had to call the lawyer. I was trying to get my Brother home. Updating my family that is scattered all over and trying to still be a Mother to my own kids. I felt like a failure.

I thought back to when I got the news about my Dad. I remember looking at him and he just looked so sad. He looked like he had let us down. And although our relationship wasn’t the best. It still bothered me that this was the end of his life as I knew it. It hurt as well. But nowhere near as bad as how I was currently feeling. This was my Mom. I wasn’t a Daddy’s girl because I was my Father’s convenience child. His oldest. But he dealt with me when he wanted to. I was not a priority at all. Til this day, I remember hearing him say he didn’t ask for me to be here. He didn’t want me. And even though I knew this and never breath a word of it to him, in the last stages of his life I was there. Talking to the doctors. Handling his affairs and making end of life decisions on his behalf. Me. The convenience kid.

But now here I am facing this with my Mom. There’s no older child to help me through this. Just my little Brother. And while I have family they are very…rigid in their thinking. What they think is right, there are no other scenarios and they know everything about everything. They may have lost their Father. But I endured the lost of mine way before they experienced it. And now I was losing my Mom. I don’t think they truly had an idea of how I was feeling. The pressure I was under and how my mind was really getting the best of me. I didn’t need their dictatorship, negative talk or non valid opinions.

Speeding to get by her side. When I finally made it, for the first time since the pandemic began, I had to get tested. I could hear her now. “You not gone stick that shit up my nose. I don’t do cocaine and I’m not putting anything up my nostrils unnecessarily!” LOL. She was a character. I had to see her so at this point they could have gave me anthrax and I would have taken it just to get next to her.

I made it to her and I sucked up every bit of moisture I had trying to escape me before I walked into her room. This was my first time entering the new facility. The staff were exceptionally nice and maybe it was due to the nature of the situation but I felt as though it was genuine. I didn’t even take anything in with me. My phone was in my pocket and I immediately went to her side and grabbed her hand. Our normal greeting “Hey Best Friend” left my lips and she didn’t respond. My eyes started to sting and the tears I could no longer hold back. I squatted beside her bed and I laid my head next to her arm while I held her hand. I whispered softly “Mommie don’t leave me right now.”At this point I think I would of signed a contract sealed with my blood, given up an organ, anything to reverse what was happening. She opened her eyes. Still holding her hand I wiped my face because she would always tell me “dry your eyes, don’t cry my child.”

I sit and cry today. Feeling like there had to have been something I could have done to change the outcome of this. This pain that I have to live with is hard, unbearable at times. I feel so removed from reality. None of this feels real…because I don’t want to truly accept the idea that I’m a 37 year old parentless child. I lost the most important person in my life. And for the life of me I cannot get it together.

Month 9

The number of perfection

It’s been a hell of a day. And to top it off, the week itself has been a complete bitch. It has been 9 months, 39 weeks, 274 days, 6,570 hours and 394,200 minutes since you left me on this God forsaken planet with these humans.

The anticipation of today as well as yesterday was far worse than the actual course of the day. I opted to exit the house today to avoid wallowing in bed and crying endlessly into my pillow, smelling like Christmas Day or Christmas Eve (I can’t keep up) and just being completely sad.

Today, I made the trip to the cemetery to check on the area in which you lay. I’m not sure why I do this. I promise I can always hear you saying, “I don’t know why you come here to cry and be sad. I am not here“. Our beliefs on the “life after” were similar. However today, I just needed some peace. And being in a desolate cemetery gave me that sense of peace. Nothing but stillness and silence except for when the wind blew. Sitting at your feet as always, with my hands in the Earth, stroking the grass as if it was your hair. Truly weird Mother…I know. But you know, you have pretty weird children lol.

After sitting with you in silence for a while I was certain the kids would enjoy a day out since I ditched our Annual Christmas Trip. No worries Mom, they will definitely reconvene next year. This year was a blip.

To get my mind on a different track, I attempted to do a little retail therapy which ended horribly. I ended up buying the kids each a toy. It is the day after Christmas…palm to face. I know what you’d say. I rode them around the base showing them where I use to live and how the one time you decided to come into the area, I could not get you to come on base with me. You were not interested in the Army life I was living. You were still pretty pissed that you signed the paperwork to allow me to join at the tender age of 17. I’m sure as time went on, you were glad that you did. And as a bonus, I influenced my younger Brother to join and with much trial and error, you were finally able to see your youngest child and only son off into the Army as well. All you wanted was for us to get away and do something with our life. Yet here I still reside. But I came back for you. Now I am beyond ready to relocate. The obstacles just keep appearing in my path, but I will try to not let it deter me.

I saw Brother for a brief moment today. I think he feels as though he owes me an excuse for not hanging around much while he is visiting but it’s fine. After all he is an adult. He spent time with family today, since I had no desire to do so. His appearance is for the both of us. You know like how I use to show up for you. Smh. We’d play rock, paper, scissors to see who would make an appearance lol. So I’m thankful he went. However, I am sorry if they badgered him with questions but I think he’s well equipped with how to answer. (If you want to know, call her and ask…) You taught him well Mother lol.

This month was no easier than the last. I had to remind myself a bunch of times that I didn’t need to get you a gift. These holidays are really fucked up. I have therapy this week so I’m sure this will be at the top of the list of topics to discuss. I feel emotionally exhausted, with waves of excessive thinking and just a serious case of grief overload. Tomorrow’s another day to try and move through the stages of grief feeling as though no one understands this pain, and my disinterest in wanting to explain it. Retreating to my bubble..

Christmas Without You

Although it is sad to reminisce
On Christmases we once knew,
This year I tried to celebrate
All in memory of you.
I attempted to put aside my sorrow
With every unshed tear,
And concentrated on all the time and love
We shared when you were here.
Our time together, though very short, taught me
What Christmas time is for,
And that's what I will always remember
Until we meet once more.

Month 5

It’s 5pm. And I’m excited. I’m not sure why, this guy never does what he says he is going to do. But I want nothing more than to be around him. This guy is my Father. I’m 9 years old. I’ve testified in court and now my Mom is sitting across from me crying because I am being made by a court order, to go stay with my Father, his wife and children. In our house, it’s just me and my Mother. She feels like her everything is being taken away from her. She silently sobs and picks at her jeans.

I stare out the front door of our house watching the tree limbs sway back and forth when the wind blows. I begin to wonder why is my Mother so sad? Why is she crying? He is my Father. I have no idea what my Mother goes through behind closed doors. I’m just a kid. And I just want my Father…I want him to want me.

I move from the chair to the floor in front of the stereo. The sun is going down and I ask my Mom if I can play some music while I wait. She motions for me to go ahead. I’m playing music for her, not for me. I can physically feel how sad she is. My chest feels heavy and I want to cry every time I look at her. She is so sad. As bad as I want to go with my Father, I do not want to leave my Mother like this.

I find Kenny G’s Breathless cd in the organized shelf of cd’s. I pop it in and I forward to track 9, “Even If My Heart Would Break”. She and I have listened to this song on her good days. She would grab my hand and dance with me around the living room. After it starts to play, I walk to her and I extend my hand. I begin to sing terribly “I’ve been around this world, I’ve been a lot of places…” At this point, I’ve forgotten about my Father. I’m more worried about my Mother and right now I want nothing more than for her to smile. Just so she can have a moment where she isn’t crying. If she feels how I am feeling, then I know she is truly hurting even if I don’t understand why.

She looks up at me and place her arms on the arms of the chair. With her head tilted slightly she asks, “child where have you been? Talking about you been around the world“…she chuckles, grabs my hand and rises from the chair to dance with me. We sing and we dance and we fall in the floor. After our dance, we cook and I fell asleep on her bed looking at clothes in her Spiegel catalog. We were ordering clothes to take pictures for Labor Day. She would pick my outfit and I’d pick hers. (Real Best Friend Shit)

My Father never came. This was nothing new. He always sold me the most elaborate dreams to never cash in on them. And when he saw me, I’d get the brush off and he’d tell me another lie or make another empty promise.

It’s been 5 months and this morning, I dreamt that exact day all over again. And I’m not really sure why. What I do know is that I held my Mother a little longer and I danced with her like I’d never dance with her again, because it felt so real.

I don’t share a lot about me or my childhood with anyone. And there is so much that I have buried. In therapy yesterday I was told that in order to heal and move to a more positive place in life, I have to address these things. They happened. I can’t change it but I can’t heal myself holding on to anger, regret, and resentment. So today, I accept the fact that this healing is one that will never end. The pain won’t ever go away and time won’t heal anything. I will always cry. The 26th will always be a sad day. My birthday will never be the same. A lot changed. And I have to change too…

Today I’m accepting that I have to let things from my past go, really make peace with them and release it. I accept that I have to let someone in or I’m going to drown myself in regret and sadness.

Mother and daughter hugging

“Be YOU. And be good at it. Because there is not another YOU in this world.”

— Award Winning Mother of a Lifetime