31 letters to my mother- Day 1- If Wishes and Hopes…

Dear Mom,

God I miss you.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’ve been gone nearly two years and then other moments I know that you’ve been gone so much longer.

Sometimes I wonder about the last moment I experienced the “real you,” before depression and disease took over.  Remember how we danced in the kitchen together when I was in high school? Can we talk about how obsessed you were with Celine Dion? We almost staged an intervention (and clearly I’m kidding)

When did you fully disappear?  I saw you come through a little bit the first time you held Noelle, I still remember how tenderly you kissed her on the lips, over and over again.

It bugged the hell out of my at the time but now that I look back, I know it was a lesson, a gift. I kissed Caedmon’s lips every day when he was brand new.  I wish you’d gotten to meet him, Mom.

I wish that I could go back and love you better.  I wish I knew how broken you were, had extended more grace, smiled more and scowled less.

The therapist I saw assured me that I did what any normal daughter would do when trying to cope with a mentally ill mother, one who was unable to be the Mom she needed.

But still, remember when you got the flu when you were staying at our house? I treated you like a big inconvenience and was truly awful to you that entire trip, but especially in those moments where you laid ill on my couch.

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for not understanding and I’m sorry for taking my frustrations out on you.  I’m sorry for putting high, healthy mom expectations on a woman who was too sick to meet them.

It’s not fair is it? Mom with depression don’t get half the grace that the cancer moms do.

I’ll never understand the balance in the trinity of personhood: body, mind and spirit.  Where does the soul go when the mind falls ill?

Where were you for those last years?  Did you see me somehow, through the pain and darkness?

Did you really ever know me at all?  Did I know you?

Someday soon I’m going to hunt for you, interview Cheryl, Cath and all your sisters.  I’ll ask questions and catalog stories.

Somehow, even though you’re gone I’ll figure out who God created you to be.

I love you, I miss you,


  • http://twitter.com/Vaderalman Mark Allman (@Vaderalman)

    So your mom call you LeaRae?

  • Elizabeth R

    Unfortunately cancer mom’s don’t get much grace either :( I spent 3 weeks with my dying mom and did not treat her the way she deserved. She would cry in pain in the middle of the night and I would roll over and let my dad deal with it. The only explanation I can come up with is that no matter how old we are we can’t accept having to take care of our parents. They have always taken care of us, the tables can’t suddenly turn. I couldn’t bring myself to spoonfeed the one who spoonfed me.
    I’m glad I found your blog. I just lost my dad and I’m trying to navigate the waters of being a young mom with no parents.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      I am so glad to have you here in the space with me. Welcome. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom and I pray grace for both our hearts.