Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Getting sentimental

Here is the first of the letters to go along with making amends.

Dear Mama,

I am writing you this in a relatively formal way to keep me on track and make sure I get to the point of the letter.  Otherwise I will be distracted by the kind of mother / son conversation I would like to still be able to have with you in actual life.

In the process of making my way in this world without you, I discovered that I had imprinted a pattern of self-defeating behaviors directly related to growing up with Pop's drinking and your, well, personality.  We call ourselves Adult Children of Alcoholics, but you needn't be raised by an alcoholic for it to fit.  Being raised by other addictive personalities can bring it on.  Certain types of family trauma may also bring it on.

At any rate, the program deals with being this way in a similar way as to how Alcoholics Anonymous deals with drinkers, including our own 12 steps.  One of those steps is identifying people whom you have harmed by having this behavior pattern and being willing to make amends to them.

One of the people that I have harmed is you.  Because I was caught in the spiral of trying to escape or cure my childhood shortcomings in my adult life, I was occasionally mean to you in a childish attempt to "defend" myself.  I messed around with the wrong women for many years, never producing a grandchild of my flesh which I know you so wanted (although you did love my stepchildren).  I never quite fulfilled the promise you and others saw in me when I was young.  And when you asked the last thing you ever asked of me, for me to come see you two days before you died, in the name of being responsible I said "No."

For all of these things I say that I am sorry.  As to how to make amends to you, especially now that you're gone, one thing I have done is I have made sure to come back to Ohio every year around Easter, which is very close to when you died.  Since you have died, I have made it a point to get to know Pop before I lose him, too.  I remind others that we lose our parents all too soon, even if they live to a nice old age.

I am striving to improve myself through ACA, therapy, and other self-improvement techniques.  I have changed the type of woman I look for, with decidedly positive results.  And I am always trying to make something of myself.   You were not always effusive with praise, so I do not know if you are proud of me and if you were whether or not you'd tell me so.  But I think that I am someone you could be proud of.  Even if I don't vote the way you did.

Rest in peace, until we meet again.


A song my mother used to sing pretty much while she did anything other than talk or eat.

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