An Open Letter to those who judge The Parentless

Dear people who judge me for not having a relationship with my mother,

Have you walked a mile in my pumps? Do you know where I have been? Do you know what she did to me when I was a child? Do you know how I missed having a mother and wish I had one to love me and love back? Were you there when my children took their first steps and I had no one to call? Were you there when I performed in a school concert and had no one in the stands? Were you there when I was bullied at school and had no one in my corner?

There are more than a handful of us who were parentless. Or worse, had an abusive parent. My mother was the quintessential “Mommy Dearest” plus. The plus is for the day she held my legs, dangling me out of a two story window, and let go. I was five years old and broke both of my arms. But for the drizzling rain that softened the grass I wouldn't be here to write this letter.

Where were you when tramp became my pet name at the age of 7? Were you subjected to lying in your own feces hungry in a crib for hours on end? Oh, but I should love, talk to and have respect for my mother because not talking to her makes me a horrible daughter.

Where were you when she left me at my grandparents and popped in and out at her convenience between boyfriends? How about all the days she laid passed out in an alcohol and drug induced haze? I can remember traveling to Boston with her and one of my “uncles," she was “sick” upstairs, aka passed out. My “uncle” took my brother and I to the store to buy us toys as a distraction. I was 7 or 8 years old and he bought me a doctor’s kit, a lemon twist, and a truth or consequences board game. It’s so etched in my brain that over forty years later I can still remember the toys. As a little girl my first instinct was to take care of my mother, so up the stairs I went, doctor’s kit in tow. Were you there when I was stopped at the door by my “uncle,” not permitted to enter?

Were you there when she became enraged time after time and tore my room apart screaming obscenities? How about the time my beloved step-father lay dying on their bed and she brought my 12-year-old self into the kitchen and motioned to a bottle of gin on the counter stating “your father isn't making enough money and we’re leaving him.” His breathing in that moment was audible from the kitchen in full death rattle. He died a few short hours later with paramedics attempting to revive him. They were called by my brother as my mother was leaving him to die. Incidentally, the autopsy report revealed that there was no alcohol in his system.

Were you there all the times I had to buy an obligatory Mother’s Day card with tears of frustration welling up in my eyes? Reading through the selection only served to remind me of what I didn't have, what I would never have.

I cannot express to you how heart-wrenching it was to finally pick myself up and walk away from the dysfunction of my mother. The hours of fear, loss and therapy that followed; and none of it was for my own self-preservation. It was to raise my own children free and clear and do better with them than she did with me.

My mother was a damaged and toxic individual who happened to give birth to me. Having lived with her parents I know she came by her emptiness honestly.

To you who judge me, I broke the cycle in the best way I could. Being related by blood is not a license for love, respect or to kill.


A daughter who does not talk to her mother