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Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

It's been such a long time since I've talked with you or told you anything that was important to me.

After your death I put on a brave (I thought) face so I could keep on going. You were dead, and I felt like it was my fault. I knew you were angry with me, you said that to me the days before your left. "why Carol, why did you have that gun? We didn't need it!" for 35 years I've been trying to make sense of it. I've been trying to find some way to shake off the guilt I hid from with my "I don't give a shit" attitude.

I felt like a fuck up, and there you were lying in a casket, my final fuck up, you were dead. And no matter what psychiatrists, or spiritualist, said the bottom line for me was, if I didn't have the gun you couldn't have been shot. Yes it was an accident, but you were gone. Oh I fucked up so many tmes before, it seemed like all I ever did was push you away from me. Want to know why? Because I loved you i ntensely and so desperately wanted your love, and your approval. I wanted you to love me in the way you showed the neighbors kids that you loved, and liked them. I wanted the attention and approval you showered on Frances and Jill. I was so jealous, jealous means hurt.  I don't like anyone to know how much I care, so the hurt translated to anger.

I told myself I didn't care when you died. How could I care? I would have gone into that black hole and never come out. I would have gone insane. So I took diet pills and and drank, and I sought Franks love and approval. Which I got!!! So I put it all on him and in him.

Franks Mom died the same year you did, I remember when she died. I didn't know Frank well, but I did know from what he told me that he put on a happy face. Frank also told me that he never set foot in a hospital again, and he wouldn't.

And then, there you were in intensive care in Santa Rosa, and I had to visit you. Frank was driving me there, he said it was alright, it was something he wanted to do for me. So he sat with Dad and John, and he waited while I was visiting. God I hated being alone in there, my legs felt like water, I wasn't sure they wouldn hold me. You made jokes, with all those tubes and meters and machines, and you were weak, you still made jokes. "Many a true word is said in jest" you taught me that when I was a young girl, and there you were making jokes about it being my fault you were there. "Hey Frenchie" you called to the IC Dr., "this is my stupid daughter, the one who had the gun" and everyone laughed, bcecause you said it up that way. I tried to laugh too, but i choked. And then you asked the Dr. if Frank you son in law could come in. I didn't know how to say "no, he can't". So he came in and he handled it well. He kissed you and held your hand. I kissed you and said goodbye, and he and I left.

We wanted a weekend alone together. We had originally planned a weekend in Carmel, but then "the accident" happened, I had to be there with my kids, and I was living in Dads home, I didn't know how to get away like that. So we traveled to Sonom, a town I had never been to.

He drove along Highway 12, and we went to The Fruit Basket and got apples. We drove around the plaza. I guess I  should have expressed how lovely a little town it was, but it didn't make much of an impression on me. Nothing did.

Frank and I went to the motel, on Highway 12 right where it curves from traveling south, to east. He went into the room first, and I ambled slowly up the stairs to our room. My lungs were aching and I was haivng a hard time breathing. I had sharp shooting pains whenever I took an "in" breath. Also i wanted to be excited about this trip, but I was living inside of a fog, and I didn't feel much of anything. Usually with Frankie I felt very sexual, and very much in love, but I felt none of that. I felt nothing.

I walked into the room and he wasn't there, I called his name and he answered from the bathroom, his voice sounded muffled and strange. I said "Are you alright Frankie"? "fine" he answered in that same muffled voice. I knocked on the door and he told me to wait that he'd be out in a minute, but the voice alarmed me, so I opened the door he looked up with his eyes very red, and his face very wet. He pushed past me and said "I'm alright", and then he turned and buried his beautiful face in my neck, he tried to muffled the sobs, but I heard them, and I felt them. His whole body shook, I dropped what I was holding and put my arms around him, and he let go. He sobbed and sobbed. There was nothing I could say, so i let him sob. I thought I was supposed to say something, something smart, something healing, but I learned that day that I needed to say nothing, I only needed to be there with my heart open ready to recieve him and bear witness to his pain. I never knew until then how strong someone who can cry really is. And what value there is in having a partner who could cry. Frankie sobbed out all the pain he had contained since his Mom's death. He sobbed about how much he missed her, as he choked out words he sobbed out the sound of the death rattle as he held her hand. I learned how deeply he could love. He loved his Mama.

We lay on the bed and held each other for a long time, and then we put on our suits and went to the pool. We were alone in that pool, on a hot July day in 1972. No one but us was there. And somehow in a public pool that had a high fence separatingus from Highway 12, we made love. I don't know why I'm tellling you this Mom, it's not information you need. But when I take myself back to that time, he was big part of it. My feelings for him were a big part of it.

I think he knew when he looked at you, that you would die. I couldn't imagine it, so I didn't realize that. I couldn't imagine my life without you Mom. For selfish reasons, I wanted your love. I wanted to get you to love me, and if you died then in July of 1972, you would leave without giving me that, and I needed it.

But you did leave without giving me your love, and you left without me telling you how much I love you. I loved you then, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that I didn't, and I love you today. Love doesn't die simply because a heart stops beating. I will always love you, and I know now that you will always love me.

There is so much to tell you, but right now I only want to tell you 1 thing....I have alittle dog like MiMi.  I only took her because she looked like MiMi. I call her Bell. Now I understand how much you and MiMi love each other, Bell and I do too. When she stands up and dances in circles or walks backwards she makes me laugh like MiMi did.

I had one more thing, but I swear I can't remember what it is. That's alright, it's a clear i ndication that I need to write to you more often, and I will.

I love you  Mom, I feel close to you right now, and that's a good thing.

I will write again, and soon

Your daughter,

          Carol Lynn

3 Comment count
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Letter to Mom

Thank you to Red Room and to Susan and Patressa for giving me the space and the courage to write this.

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This is so brave of you

This is so brave of you Carol, by writing this, I believe that half the battle in healing has already been won.  It does take time but letting this out of your chest is the best healing jump start you could do for yourself.  Bless your mother and bless your journey!

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My favorite lines

...there you were lying in a casket, my final fuck up...

...God I hated being alone in there, my legs felt like water...

"Hey Frenchie" you called to the IC Dr., "this is my stupid daughter, the one who had the gun"...

...i wanted to be excited about this trip, but I was living inside of a fog...

...he turned and buried his beautiful face in my neck...

...he sobbed out the sound of the death rattle as he held her hand.

Love doesn't die simply because a heart stops beating.