What do you say to a woman who is no longer on this earth? How do I express my anger, frustration, love, loss? Before your death, I was so terrified of you yet I loved you as any daughter should. I wished you would leave, go on vacation, abandon us, even die just so I could not live in fear for one day. I can still feel the way my fear would start in my chest and reach to the very depths of my toes. I remember the shaking, and literally being scared stiff as you came at me with a horse whip and swinging fists. I think back to those times and wonder “Why didn’t I run? Why didn’t I fight back?”. Was it my fear that held me there or was it my need to please you through obedience? I have so much pain I want you to see, I want you to recognize the damage you caused the children that you vowed to care for. Yet that is no longer possible since you did grant my wish and go away.
It has been 10 years since your passing and I am beginning to forget the few good times we had when I was younger. I do miss and mourn you as you are the only mother I have ever known. However, my thoughts often drift back to the time I learned of your demise. It was a shock because we thought you would be returning, but what shocked me the most was the freedom I felt, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I feel almost ashamed of my behavior and often wish I never felt that way, but then that would be a lie.
I find myself yearning for motherly affection. I am so envious of the women who have even the slightest relationship with their mother. I feel like we were robbed of our youth, my sister and I. You stole our childhood from us by forcing us to work the ranch and raise our brother because you couldn’t deal with the stress of it all. I find myself making excuses for you because I know your life was hard and I know deep down you were a good woman once. But I get so angry with myself because I down play your abuse. I don’t want pity and I know so many others have endured worse, but I want people to know who you really were behind closed doors.
I am married now and I’m truly happy for the first time in a long time. I’m finally working on my Bachelor’s degree and will one day be a teacher. This is one part of my life that I will thank you for, because of you I am incredibly strong and hard working. Somehow during it all I learned to love and I love with every cell in my body. I am kind, giving, and loyal. I realized the other day that we are complete opposites and that you were literally trying to drag me down the same road you took, but you failed. I feel a sense of pride when I think of it all, if I can survive you I can survive anything.