Sunday, April 10, 2022

A Letter to My Daughter — 4/10/2022

 Dear Daughter,

Yesterday was your 29th birthday and I missed it. More than that, I miss you. I have been bottling up some thoughts and feelings for quite some time, and through these means, I intend on speaking on them.

It’s hard to know where to start. I can’t really say that I know what to say at this very moment, so maybe I should just start from the beginning.

I missed you terribly yesterday. Your Sweet 16 came to mind and I thought about how I threw that together in such a short amount of time and how happy you were when it finally came to life. You looked so beautiful in your dress. I remember slaving over it tediously as I sewed it. You probably remember that too. I remember cooking all the food and then renting the location and all the hassle that came with that. But more than anything I remember your smile when you entered the party looking like a Precious Princess in Red and Blue.

But truth is, in retrospect, I feel like I failed you.

I failed to give you a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. I failed to show you that you deserved more. And I probably failed to show you that you were loved. Because of this, you chose such a glum life path.

I remember when we used to be so close. Like best friends. We did everything together. We laughed and cried together, we had our movie franchise that was “our thing”, we only had each other for the longest time.

Daughter, we grew up together— I was just a teenager when I had you and my family life was so heinous that I didn’t have very many tools in my arsenal to know how to deal with some of life’s struggles and hardships as a young mother. I certainly, was not equipped to deal with the men that I had chosen; from your biological father to the one that raised you. I am not making excuses … I am simply stating the fact of why and where I think I went wrong.

Thus, you grew up in turmoil, in treacherous waters, drowning in misery. Seeking a lifeline out of the sea of despair in with you were sinking.

But the choice that came was not a good one, and you latched on to it. I tried to accept that choice. Even cared about this person to an extent. Probably because the face that he showed was one of humility and concern for your wellbeing. He was a lie. A fallacy that eventually stripped you of any tidbit of self-worth you may have had. Still, you held on.

I’d even decided to intervene and gave you both the opportunity to live with me. But in time, you both threw me out of my own house and forced me and your two little brothers to live in a room no bigger than a single bedroom. That hurt me more than words could say because not only did I feel betrayed, I felt robbed of my life once again. This time, by my own daughter and her significant other.

Yet, I moved on with my life and let you move on with yours.

You stayed with him, continued to suffer hunger, homelessness, poverty the likes of which you’d never experienced with him. I never wanted that for you. I never wanted you to suffer the way I did. Much less become an addict and a person of a bedraggled nature.

When the day came that you told me that third party individuals were being introduced into your union, I flinched — recoiled in concern for you. I knew, in the pit of my stomach, that this would be a huge issue.

Then you became pregnant. I would lie if I said that I was happy. I tried to be … for you. But I was honestly petrified. Terrified at what this would mean, not just for your ability to care for a child, but for my grandchild itself. I distressed that he would be caused to endure a life of chaos. I knew he would be loved, for I knew the amount of love you had to give and how much you desired to have a child of you own. What I fretted about was the pandemonium that surrounded you — the life of a vagabond and an unsavory union, at best. A despicable one, at worst,

Your state of living was vile, repulsive. The smell of your home … putrid. The dirt, the uncleanliness, far beyond anything I’d ever seen. And though the stench permeated your skin and clothing … you stayed. You stopped bathing, stopped caring for yourself. Began to live under the same beliefs as he had, that bathing was only needed if you were dirty in excess. Meanwhile, there was cologne/perfume. Retched.

By this point, you and your husband had a live-in girlfriend.

Shortly thereafter, my grandson was born. My beautiful, precious, grandbaby that solely reminded me of you. Not of his father. Period. Soon your husband claimed to no longer be in love with you but to be in love with your mutual girlfriend instead.

Though broken and downcast, still you hung on. Yes, there was a trail separation, but could it really be called that when you decided to live with his mom and refused to be away from him? No. Because for better or for worse, although you suffered an agony that I could feel in my bones, you held on. You agonized day after day seeing how he was treating her, yet still coming back to you for sex and counsel whenever he had an argument with her.

I kept telling you, you need to leave that place. Just go to my mom and dad’s house. Leave that place. Since I lived in another state altogether, there wasn’t much I could do. But you refused. It was like you’d become an all-out glutton for punishment.

This is when the begging for help started. On a weekly basis you would reach out to me for financial help. $20 here, $40 there … this, that and the third. Diapers, wipes, food money. The seeming “need” never ended. All because he refused to work, and you couldn’t find a job either, supposedly. I honestly thought that that was not the reason at all. I thought that you both were either too high or drunk to hold down a stable job.

Nevertheless, whenever I could, I helped. Even to my own detriment because I was under severe financial straits myself. Many times I found my bank account in the negative all following having helped you because “my grandson was hungry”.

But with all that, nothing would prepare me for what I would see the day I went to visit your home when I traveled back to our home-state upon my dad’s heart surgery.

I wanted to give you a great surprise. I think I succeeded in that. What I did not expect was what I witnessed when I got there.

When I knocked on your door, you were not there. You and your husband’s girlfriend was there, as well as my grandson. When she opened the door, I gagged. The smell smacked me instantly — it nearly knocked me off of my feet. It was abhorrent. And the space was so, so dirty and in disarray that the hairs on the back of my head stood and the thought of my grandson living in this state.

I greeted your girlfriend, and then hugged and kissed my grandson. I even attempted to hold him for a bit, but he smelled fowl. The fetor that came from his skin made me ill. Sick to the point of having to put him down. It broke my heart in a zillion piece.

Heavy is the heart of one who cares; none heavier than that of a mother.

I stirred for day, weeks, even a couple of months on end with what I should do with these findings. I lost sleep, stressed in ways that I could not explain. Sometimes the stress caused me to over-eat, other times, I couldn’t eat at all. Some days I could do nothing but think about it. “It” being how you and my grandson were living. Other days, I tried to put it out of my mind to no avail.

There were times when I could not understand why someone closer hadn’t contacted the authorities already? Why hadn’t this been reported? Because, in ever sense of the word, it was child neglect. It wasn’t to say that you didn’t love him, but he was not being properly cared for.

So, for better or for worse, and knowing that someone had to break the generational curse of abuse … I took it into my own hands knowing the chance I was taking.

I am still in awe that the first person you called the day the authorities came to your house was me. I was a thousand miles away, and yet you called me. Why? Because in your heart of hearts you knew that I would be the only one that had the heart to stand up for what was right.

And now you hate me.

I took that chance. I knew what I was getting into. That doesn’t stop it from hurting any less. It doesn’t stop my heart from breaking every time I see your picture of look in the mirror and see your reflection looking back at me. It doesn’t stop me from agonizing when I see pictures of my grandson and wished wholeheartedly that I could just hold him tight and never let him go. It certainly doesn’t stop the nightmares or dreams where I see you and relive those terrible moments. Or you come back into my life.

I need you to know that it all came from a place of love. Profound, unending, unconditional, true and sacrificial love. A mother’s love. The same type that you have for your son. And in the same way I don’t want to see you or my grandson suffer anymore, I believe that you would never want to see him suffer.

I wish I could get inside of you and make you see things from my perspective, but I know that will never happen. So today, I write this letter knowing that I missed your 29th birthday yesterday, remembering the precious baby I held in my hands that late Good Friday night on April 9th, 2003. And more than anything hurting because I wish I could hold you, kiss your face and tell you how much you mean to me.

Forever and always your mother,


No comments:

Post a Comment