An open letter to my mother

Mum - on a good day ...
Mum - on a good day ... | Source

Dear Mum ...

Well, today is the year's anniversary of your death and I feel I've reached a milestone in my memory of you.

During this year I have found that I miss you far more than I thought I would and that I would like your forgiveness for not quite understanding the cruel nature of your last illness. You left us mentally long before you did physically and it is to my shame that I would not acknowledge that fact until only your famous fierceness, now boosted by a frightened, last gasp self-awareness of what was happening to you, still remained.

Alzheimers is no laughing matter even though some of the aberrations it produces are funny ... until you remember what is causing them. I forgive you for saying I was a very tall woman who wore a lot of scarves and sang in the street outside your house. I am only a little taller than you and have to admit to wearing the occasional scarf, especially in cold weather, but I have never sung in the street and anyway I was four hundred miles away at the time.

And I have still not been able to discover anything about the unrottable fish that you say you lodged in the branches of the conifer in the front garden but it may yet turn up. As a family that understood black humour it was very hard not being able to share the things that you said with you so that we could laugh it all away together but your illness had robbed you of your amazing sense of humour and your ability to laugh at yourself.

Our relationship had its peaks and troughs, as the mother/daughter relationship often does and you made sure I knew that you disapproved of my wasted talent and restless nature. Though I always thought I knew better, I now appreciate the fact that you believed I could achieve more than I did and I apologise for disappointing you.

From now on I will only remember the happy times; the drinks in the sunshine in the garden before Sunday lunch, the vigorous, often heated, discussions on politics or society, the eye-watering laughter at the stories of our eccentric family and the much-needed affection shown on greeting or leaving. Those are the important things, not my maundering self-pity or grievance at imagined slights.

And it was alright in the end, wasn't it? In the last moments as I sat by you your stubbornness weakened and you told me that you loved me, that you had always loved me and I knew, that despite everything and without doubt, that you did and always had. I had simply been too blind to recognise it.

Although I told you that I loved you too it wasn't enough for me.They were only words, only a throw-away, over-used phrase. So I hoped that somehow something inside you had always known that I loved you, that I loved you unconditionally and that it was impossible for me to not love you because you were my mother and as much a part of me as my own heart.

Rest in peace, mum - talk to you next year maybe?

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Comments 20 comments

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease but you did get a lucid moment to share each other's love. I feel humbled to read your letter to your mohter.

Thank you for sharing.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi SimeyC

Thank you for that ... I agree I was very lucky - it was a very healing moment and something I much needed to hear. There had been a lot of hurt caused by my inability to realise when it was her illness talking and not her.

Bless ...

Angie


bobsimpson profile image

bobsimpson 5 years ago from Largo Florida

You are your mother's gift to us. Thank her for me next time you talk to her.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Aw, shucks, Bob! (Looks down and Shuffles feet). x


Anna 5 years ago

A little confused as to why this letter is so public ? Upset and think Jo Jo would be too , private , not for world ?


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Anna - Sorry if this upsets you - it was an attempt to help others understand Alzhiemer's.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

I respectfully disagree, I think this hub is a beautiful tribute to your Mom and to you as a loving daughter. I find that people are too scared to talk about death and the sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one. I have lost many people I love at my age, and usually find I'm the one they come to when they need to talk about their feelings. It's not something to keep in. Personal. Maybe, but we all lose people, we all just don't want to accept that.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thank you for your kind words, Jean ... such support means a lot to me.

Bless

Angie


what_say_you profile image

what_say_you 5 years ago from Louisiana

Angie, Again I am touched by your words. I am sitting at my kitchen table with my tea and I have tears. I wouldn't admit to being an emotional person but I lost my dad in 2008 to cancer and he was my "everything". I tell everyone that I am fine and sometimes I cry when I am alone because the very thought if him being gone breaks my heart all over again. I have been unable to do what you have done...admit to the guilt and pain. His birthday is in 7 days and I hope you don't mind if I copy your coping skills and write a letter to my dad. Thank you for sharing this beautiful hub. It IS a VERY personal matter and I was deeply appreciative that you shared.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Oh WSY! So sorry to hear of your grief. I do hope writing a letter to him helps to ease your anguish. Wish I could be of more help but sadly all I have is words.

Bless

Angie


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

What a wonderful letter to your mother. Thank you for sharing. I also lost my mom and dad many years ago, gone but never forgotten. We continue to keep their memories alive :)


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for taking time to comment, Sunshine ... I miss my mum more some days than others. It is depressing to think she is not there in the background ... and I do feel guilty that I didn't do more for her.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

My mom and I had our spats as do my daughters and I...we refer to it as bonding, and my daughters and I bond often! Lol Guilt is a wasted emotion. I learned that awhile ago. It's pointless. Wishing you well Angie and I'm looking forward to following you.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Bless you, Sunshine ...


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

I had an experience with a long illness in my family, but the patient was lucid up until the last breath. We had the chance to discover each other to the deepest realm. I can't imagine what it's like to lose someone that you love, little by little. Condolences.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks, Ann ... it is a heart-breaking experience, that's for sure.


the girls profile image

the girls 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Thank you Angie for sharing. Your story will help a lot of people who are going through the same journey. I am sure your mom is proud of you. You got her looks too.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for your kind comments, the girls.

I only realise now it's too late how much she meant to me ... I want to warn everyone to be more appreciative of the people they love.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Beautiful and meaningful letter that I do think will help others as they they try to find their way through difficult family relationships and losses. I am so glad for both of you that there was that time of lucidity near the end.

Theresa


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks, Theresa ... it's now over 2 years since she died and I still feel guilty that I was not emotionally stronger for her.

Our relationship was not an ideal one when I was a child but it improved when I got older. I was never her 'golden child', that was my brother but I coped with that. Only when her mind started to go did the hurtfulness get worse but by then I knew it was her illness and not really her.

I miss her and think about her most days. I only hope she knows now how much I really cared for her.

It was kind of you to comment on this hub ... I appreciate it.

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