Beautiful Pain: Letting Go of My Mom


Last week I had opportunity to process and let go of my mom after acknowledging the harm she brought to my life and then blessing her. This letter is to her, letting her go in love.

You weren’t who you were supposed to be. You claimed to be my best friend and yet, you hurt me over and over again. You kept me from my family because you couldn’t bear to be without me in any small way. You invited me in to your darkness and violence, only it wasn’t really an invitation, you kidnapped me. From the moment I was born, you began spinning your web that would create a false sense in me that you were the only safe person. You were the only one who would always be there for me. You were the only one who could ever rescue me. You were the only one who would bother to understand. You had me convinced that I couldn’t live without you and then, when you died, you were proven right because I couldn’t live without you well.

How pathetic is it to be almost 40 years old and NOT know how my household ran?? Seriously? I didn’t know how to use the front loading washing machine. I didn’t know where we banked. I didn’t know what our bills were. I didn’t know the ins and outs of Sylvia’s life. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that you had orchestrated all of that dependence. That night you said, “you know, we don’t always have to live together. If someday you don’t want me to live with you, that’s ok.”, I didn’t know that I was so beaten, so battered and so reliant on you, my captor, that leaving was never an option. Where would I have gone? What would I have done? You offered a choice that wasn’t really a choice and I knew it. I remember looking at your drunken face thinking, “geez mom, just go to bed. This is a dumb conversation.”

I hated you being in the hospital. I hated you putting me in the spot to have to go to a hospital and see you all debilitated or just not go to the hospital. Once again, I was forced to care for my captor and I didn’t want to. I remember praying that God would kill you or restore you completely because that LAST thing I wanted to do was spend any amount of time taking care of you. I simply wasn’t going to wash you, clothe you or brush your hair. I hated touching you already and I wasn’t going to spend any part of my life meeting your physical needs. I can’t believe I didn’t see how unhealthy we were right that minute but I know, or at least suppose, it was my coping mechanism. I knew you were never coming home, I just couldn’t face all the reality of that. The pain of freedom was too costly.

I can see the little girl you were being so horrendously violated by your mom. She was so broken and so damaged and you had no advocate. Your dad was too meek and too controlled to ever tell her to shut up or stop. And you worshipped him in an unhealthy way. He could simply do no wrong and yet, he was an accomplice to your mom by allowing her to rampage through your life. You never had a chance growing up and when you did finally get to be an adult, you made all the wrong choices. And honestly, how could you not? Your idea of normal had been lost so long ago that there was no reclaiming without pain and process and you always made it clear that you weren’t doing either of those. Medication and alcohol were your answers and they were fatal.

And I wonder if your death was natural. You hadn’t taken your medication for three days. Three days your blood pressure would have continued to climb and your blood would have struggled to push through normally. I’ve had a couple people raise an eyebrow that you went that many days without medication so I know there is at least a slight concern. I wonder if you were just done living with the pain. God provided amazing mercy to you, and all of us, in your death. Talk about “beautiful pain”! That was you!! You embodied beautiful pain.

And now you rest and I praise God that you do. I praise God that He’s allowed me to see the harm you brought into my life, to say “bless you” and let you go. You’ve had enough time in the driver’s seat and now, even though I have no idea how to step back into my life, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to reclaim the relationships lost. I’m going to reclaim my future that was going one way and is now going another. I’m going to reclaim my role as “mother” to my daughter in a healthier way than ever before. I’m going to hug people better because I am able. I’m going to allow people in deeper because now I have room. I’m going to place God solidly in the center of my life because you’re no longer there. I’m going to step out of the prison cell you created because I’ve been gifted the freedom to do so.

I love you, mom. I love that there is a lot of good that you planted in me. I love that you tried to love me. I love that now I can forgive you and let you rest.

Shalom to you, mom.



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