The piece about my mom and my stupid bottle was the first time I have ever ventured to write anything about her death.
Here is the plain truth:
Mostly the reason I don't write about my mom is because I honestly don't know where to start. It would be easy to write about all the happy times, and even easier to write about all the funny times.
But what about all the bad times? The crying times? The cripplingly depressed times? The I-can't-believe-you're-doing-this-to-me times? I could pretend to be lofty and say that, looking back, none of that matters anymore. But that's not true. She made a lot of horrible mistakes as a mother, and I made a lot of horrible mistakes as a daughter, and we did not have the time we needed to get past that.
We had some more work to do.
And let me tell you (although it is heartbreakingly evident that many of you already know) -- it is very hard to resolve a relationship with someone who isn't there.
I would love to paint an only-joyous portrait of my mom, because that's far more pleasant, and she absolutely was joyous. But I stop myself from telling the happy stories because to only tell those is dishonest and revisionist. At the same time, I also stop myself from telling the bad stories because that's not what I want to remember, and because it seems unfair to give my perspective without her having any opportunity to pose a counter-point.
I don't want to hurt her feelings.
I have worked and healed and come a long, long way since the hospice a hundred million years ago. But I have been
(It can only get easier from there, right? Gotta start somewhere?)
And you know what happened?
The single worst thing that anyone could possibly have said about me, to me, did. That anonymous poster below? That was the single scariest comment I could ever receive. It was, in fact, the thing I feared hearing most in the world.
Your response has totally, unexpectedly overwhelmed me. I didn't know how many of you had similar experiences. I am so happy you have been willing to share them. I have been harboring this guilt, along with the but-I-did-the-right-thing-right? question so deep inside for so long, I could have sworn I was the only one in the universe who felt it.
I am actually grateful that the anonymous poster said what s/he said, because it forced the real issue to the forefront. And your responses have meant the whole world to me. The good does outweigh the bad, about a million times over.
For years, I've needed to hear the things you've said, and I didn't even know it.
Thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for being honest and thank you for being kind.
You've changed my life.
(I will be thanking each and every one of you in the comments below, too. Please bear with me.)