The letters written here follow 11 years after my mother's death. Although a silent peace and forgiveness was reached just days before she died, I still have scars and emotions to deal with from my childhood. As a child, I wasn't allowed to speak to the pain of the abuses -- the pain and hurt, grief, degradation, lack of affirmation, the belief I wasn't worth anything. Had I spoken out, the wrath would have been multiplied. Layer upon layer the scars still run deep. As I write these letters, I hope to find a place of healing.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~~ Maya Angelou

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Letters to Mama Has a New Home

For those who have followed regularly or those who have come once or twice, this is to let you know that I have moved this blog to the WordPress platform.  To continue reading along as I write Letters to Mama, simply click here.

I do hope you'll come over and visit there.  I'm finding it a much easier place to track the drafted excerpts from my memoir in progress.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Did You Love Them Better?

Dear Mama,

I'm sure it never occurred to you.  Never saw the hurt or anguish in my eyes as I sat in the room with you.  Sunday after Sunday as you taught their little class.

Yes, I watched closely even though I too was only a child at the time.  At about age 11 or 12, you asked me to be your helper.  I saw how you treated them.  Differently.  So differently than you treated me.

And all the time I was wondering if you loved them better.  Loved them better than me.

Was it that you didn't expect the same things from them?  Or was it because you only had them on Sundays?  Or did they strike a different chord in your heart?

So baffling even now as I think back to that time. Somewhere long ago there were some photos of some of your classes, but searching has revealed nothing.  The image here is a reminder of your facial expression while teaching.

Patient, kind, even loving.

And then we went home, and She was gone.  She was the teacher that morning.  She was their companion, friendly and kind.  Where did She go afterwards?

It has puzzled me all these years, but no longer.  You see it's just possible that there was something I didn't know and maybe still don't about why.

Maybe I'll find the answer as I write more but for now, you just need to know how deeply those Sundays hurt me.  I wanted you the teacher persona to be my mama.

Continuing to find you, with love,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update to Memoir in Progress

I have added another installment to my draft memoir under the tab "Memoir in Progress," if you would like to read and follow it.  Remember, it is a work in progress and therefore very rough indeed.  Entries are dated, so you'll find today's at the top of the page labeled "July 23, 2012 Entry."  Previous entries appear below in reverse chronological order.

For those of you who have written or are writing your memoir, I'd love to have your feedback.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Crumb Gatherer

"The Crumb Gatherer" is a short memoir piece I submitted to Jonna Ivin for inclusion in an anthology entitled Loving for Crumbs.  I'm pleased to announce that my work has been accepted! 

Loving for Crumbs is comprised of stories written by women about a time when they were willing to "love for crumbs."  Release of the anthology is expected mid-August in print and for Kindle.

"The Crumb Gatherer" is a look into my attempts as a child to persuade my mother to affirm that she truly loved me.

Jonna Ivin is the author of Will Love for Crumbs, a stunning memoir of her own struggle with loving and being loved.

Jonna, thank you for finding my story worthy of inclusion in Loving for Crumbs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Unexpected Rides in the Night

Dear Mama,

You likely never realized the fright caused by those unexpected rides in the night.  Yes, you'd get upset about something, usually an argument with Daddy, and off we'd go.  You, Brad and me.

Out the door in a flurry of having the last word.  Shouts of never coming back and then backing quickly out of the drive!

I think we still had the 1949 Chevy then.  You didn't learn to drive until I was six, so our night-time drives must have been much later than that.  Brad came along when I was eight -- probably I was 10 when I remember this happening.

After you whipped out of the drive, you drove through the streets with no destination, or so it seemed to my child's mind.  I thought when we were in the car we were supposed to be going somewhere.

But not on these nights. 

I'd remember those words, "never coming back," and wonder if you meant that.  Then I'd wonder what Daddy was feeling.

Was he lonely already?  Did he think we weren't coming back, really, for sure?  I wondered those same things.  And I felt lonely and afraid.  Where would we be sleeping that night?  Where would we live if we didn't go back?

Maybe that's why I've never liked the dark or being alone in the evening.  I wonder.

After about an hour, measured in child time now remembered, you'd pull back in the drive.  Brad would be asleep, and you'd carry him inside while I followed wondering what it had all been about.

I know I was glad to be back home, glad to be with Daddy and my room, glad to be safe.  I'm guessing you never realized what working out your anguish cost your children.

For whatever reason we took those night rides, I'm so very sorry for you.  So sorry for us.

Continuing to try to understand and unravel, I am

Your daughter
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