Happy Birthday: A Letter
Happy birthday, mom
Gosh, I don’t even know what to write, but my homework in therapy this week was to write you a letter, so...... I first want to tell you how much I love you, and how blessed I was to have you in my life. You did so much for me, and we had so much fun together. You always stood up for me, and made sure I had what I needed. Like, for example, with school. You fought with them for pretty much my whole education, to make sure that I had the equipment and services that I needed. Hey, remember at my fourth grade IEPC meeting when the special Education Director was going through her speech about why the district was unable to provide certain services or something? I mean you were really dedicated. I bet you’re the only mom who ever looked at the Special Ed Director in a meeting of about 25 people and said, “Bite me! ” I had a lot of health issues, but you didn’t usually complain about having to run me all over the state and beyond for doctors’ appointments. Without you mom, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You always insisted that I wouldn’t grow up to be a helpless blind person, I would go to college, have a career and be independent. So patient, you began teaching me to cook when I was nine or ten. “Who do you think is going to cook for you Ashley? ” I made mistakes, once I cut my hand while chopping vegetables, most parents of blind children would have said, that’s to dangerous, you can’t do that anymore. But not you. You put a huge band aid on it, even though you thought it could have used a couple of stitches, and I finished my task. Remember when you were selling real estate and you were going to be home late? You told me to put something in the oven, and do some other things to prepare. I really didn’t want to, so I thought if I (accidentally) burned it just a little, if I recall the smoke alarm went off, *smile* then you wouldn’t make me do it any more. But no way! You made me do it again. Is that why we had Corel Ware until I was like 16? So that when I was (so carefully) putting the dishes into the dishwasher, (I always managed to break a few,) You wouldn’t care, and you could replace them for $4.95? You always made sure I never had a legitimate excuse to not be able to do something. I did it all. Remember when I was 13 and you let me drive your car on the road that goes through the cemetery? Lol, Chris and Michelle probably got whiplash in the back seat, poor kids. Or the time when I was twelve and you were teaching me how to iron. “Mom, why do I have to iron, nun of my friends have to. Karmen is 26 and she doesn’t iron......” “Yeah, and Karmen doesn’t go to work, doesn’t go to school, doesn’t comb her own hair or shave her own legs, and she has no other disabilities besides being blind. You’re not gonna end up like that Ashley. Over my dead body! (Kind of ironic, don’t you think?) You’re gonna be normal...... I’m not always going to be here to take care of you honey, so you’re gonna have to learn to do it yourself. So, shut your mouth and get over there, right this instant! ” Without all of the skills you gave me I wouldn’t be able to live on my own, or do a lot of the things that I do. You built the foundation mom, you helped make me who I am today. And even though you say I could have, I couldn’t of made it this far without you. I love you Mommy, You’re the best.
And though we had so many happy times, there were rough ones too. And though most of the time I’m not mad at you for leaving us, it still hurts every day. I know you couldn’t see beyond your pain but how could you leave us? The only person you thought about was yourself. You only saw your pain, you didn’t even care that you were passing the burden of your pain on to everyone else. You left, you died, you took the easy way out, You’re happy now, and the rest of us (your kids) have to live, struggle, with the consequences of your decision. You were sometimes critical of me when I was depressed, “Ashley, you can’t just sit there and feel sorry for yourself with your “poor me” attitude. Do you think no one else ever has a hard time? ” And then after all those years of lecturing, those years that you just didn’t understand why I felt the way I did, you took your life. Do you know how it feels now mom? Do you understand? Mom, do you finally get it?
But...... I love you just the same, and nothing you could ever do could change that. I wish I could have told you how much you really meant to me when you were alive, but you know, if you wait to long you’ll lose the chance. You were awesome Mommy, and I know you always did the best you could for us kids. And I will help keep the happy memories alive, especially in little Michael, who won’t remember most of them. Like how you used to love to pop our pimples when we were adolescents with your three inch long acrylic fingernails. Or all the times that were so funny...... I’ll never forget the time that grandma’s husband left his false teeth in a Little Mermaid cup on the counter, and you were doing dishes and didn’t see them, and ground them up in the garbage disposal! Nun of us kids knew what happened, you just said everyone get in the car, we’re leaving, right now! And you and grandma were laughing as us kids walked to the car, I with my shoes in my hand, because you didn’t want to weight for me to put them on. That was so funny! I miss you, more than words can say. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.” (You read us that book so much that I think even now, I still know every word.)