THANK YOU MOM

The following letter was given to me last year from my 27 yr. old youngest son…

5-27-06 046

1/29/13

Mom. It’s a gift you’ve given me, to have overcome the hooks that trauma has left in your psyche, to have raised two sons in a loving environment in spite of everything you had experienced. You had never known a loving, protective environment, so how did you manage to provide one? The answer, I know, is: with great effort. Constant discipline. With tears, and with therapy, and with Samuel’s patient spirit supporting you. 

You’ve come so far. To be able to write about trauma, and put your real name to it. What a brave and honest act, a defiant stand against the silence you endured so long. 

Raising children – creating people from scratch – is a daunting task for anyone, even the healthiest, happiest people in the best of circumstances. You did not have the advantage of carefree happiness, the stability that comes with a healthy childhood. You did not start with that most fundamental of human capacities – the understanding that you are loved, that you are worthy of love. You were betrayed, your ability to trust shattered. Yet you knew how to accept the implicit trust of two growing children who depended on you for everything, and to never let them down. So that we would never struggle with trusting good, honest people. We were shown from the very beginning that we could count on you and Dad, all day every day. That is the foundation for a healthy life – the ability to love and trust without reservation. That is the basis for the confidence and tranquility I have in navigating the world. I wish everyone could be so lucky. 

I recognize the monumental accomplishment it was for you to be a successful mother, fostering a positive, healthy environment while battling the darkness inside. What a task you set for yourself, quieting your rage while building two human beings from scratch, careful not to pass on these emotions, these struggles, to growing minds. And with what courage and determination you took to it. In spite of everything, mountains of obstacles hiding in the darkness within you, you prevailed. We do not fight the battles that you fight; we do not share your reservations about connecting with human beings. We love and we trust and we are quick to laugh, all because you stood above the darkness. You broke the cycle. 

And here I am, and that’s why I am. That’s why I bring empathy to other people. That’s the gift you gave me – a knack for reading the hearts of troubled people. 

It’s amazing, how people will pour their hearts out if they can find a single willing receptacle, one outlet; one listener. People are dying to get things off their chests, and I can read it in their expressions, in their habits. No one asks them what’s really going on inside. But I ask. When I offer people a non-judgmental ear, the floodgates open. Finally, says the pained expression on their faces. Finally someone will listen to me about all this shit I’m carrying around day after day after day. 

So thank you, for this deep sense of empathy and connection that binds me to other people.  

I love you. 

~C~ 

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12 thoughts on “THANK YOU MOM

  1. It is wonderful how you were able to raise two boys under your circumstances. I myself never had any children, and even at this time in my life, I am still fighting some of the demons instilled in me as a child. I say to this day, that if I’d had children, I would probably have treated them the same way that I was treated by my mom. Your courage and strength are inspiring.

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  2. It’s such a beautiful letter! I only wish that I can raise my son the way you have raised yours. You have a wonderful spirit and have been able to instill in your sons all the love, trust and security that you were denied as a child. I often feel that I am not doing a very good job with my son, I love him and show him affection and regard all the time but I struggle with being able to give him confidence! I never learnt it and I am still learning myself. How can I give him what I don’t have. You are an inspiration to all survivor mums!

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    1. Well, you can, you are, you say as much.

      Confidence blooms in an environment ripe with love, protection and nurturance. Like providing all the necessities for a tender plant to grow. None of them perfect, but together provide an atmosphere that allows growth. He’ll do the rest. It’s fun to watch isn’t it? Miraculous.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your son’s note. It is really amazing that you could work through your darkness and raise such a thoughtful, loving son. More power to you. My darkness took me out of life for many years. I was grateful that I did not have children because I couldn’t care for myself at the time.never mind anyone else.

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  4. This is remarkably beautiful. I struggled with the concept of having children for so very long. When they did arrive, I was determined to provide every experience that would keep their childhood happy and worry-free, to assure them that they were loved and safe and special. I lived my second childhood through them, it was the single most healing experience of my life.And I thank them for that all the time. I’ve never received a letter like yours, but I know how they feel. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, though I fear when you read the newer post, BREAK THE CYCLE, you may change your mind about me. Nothing or no-one is black or white I guess. Hard to find, and/or feel balance, and to accept all the things in-between, including my own frailties and mistakes.

      Caring for them gave me purpose. I even took classes, but only because the first step-child was such a challenge. But those classes helped immensely with my own children. Best job I’ve ever had! But so dam hard as I struggled myself to stay afloat. Still, it was because of them, they kept me going, working and trying.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I loved hearing your words because it reiterates my belief that we can give what we did not receive and in the giving receive it ourselves.

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      1. I did in fact read Break the Cycle first. It is what made me want to continue to explore your posts. We always seem to beat ourselves up over things over which we have little or no control. You couldn’t have known about your step daughter until the incident and then, you took action. You should be so proud of that. You saved both of them from ongoing trauma, and sought the help that allowed them to heal. I’d be proud to read your book, and more of your story. I’d say it is time to forgive yourself, but that’s false in that there is nothing to forgive; you were the victim and you rose above it. You are an inspiration.Be well.

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