“Letters from Mom”
Mom wrote me hundreds of letters and would often send me greeting cards with snipped comics or articles from newspapers or magazines she thought I'd enjoy.
At the beginning of October in my freshman year of college, I had my wisdom teeth removed by students at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. It was a disaster. After the surgery I was completely unconscious for hours and the doctors couldn’t revive me. (I was simply asleep; not in any sort of danger or anything.) They called mom and she drove the hundred miles to come get me and take me home. When I finally woke up the next day and found myself at home, I was very upset and felt like I’d been kidnapped from college. Of course it was ridiculous of me to think that; I’d probably do the same thing she did in that situation. But we ended up having a huge fight about it, which was undoubtedly much worse because I was stoned on painkillers. This is the letter she wrote me the next day.
Hi. Are you OK?
I swear, I don’t know what happens to us, how two people who love each other so much can get so nuts. I guess I have to learn to be more of a friend like you said. I’ll try, honest. Just be patient with me — maybe you need to learn that and a little more compassion.
I don’t know. Sometimes there is such goodness in your eyes and you are so kind – to everyone. Maybe G was right (heaven help me – did I say that?) and you’re too defensive sometimes. Probably because I’m too hard on you (and Jenny – sometimes). I don’t mean to be. It’s probably because I’m so compulsive myself.
A lot of times, I don’t say the things I really feel — like everyone, I guess. Although, I think you and I have always had something special, a rare rapport (I should be a writer). I’m proud of you, of the person you are, most of the time, objectively. But, I’m still your mother, and I still hate the smoking, etc., and I can’t stop doing that.
I honestly don’t want to control you; I would rather just be there for you when you need me. And I’m afraid you’ll decide you don’t need me. That’s probably pretty normal, huh?
By the way, I hate to see you cry. And I hate U D ’s “family” shit – he’s too far off the wall. Or maybe he’s just in TV-MOVIE land when he gets started. And he never sees anything he’s doing wrong – like yelling and screaming at a 70-year-old woman. (I’m sorry I asked you if you yelled at Nana. She came out and was shaking and said you had been arguing. I’m very protective of her — she can’t take care of herself as well as you or I can even though a lot of people look to her. Again, I’m sorry – I should have known better.)
And I know you were on medication and not at your best, in spite of what you may think. I really blew it; I just wanted to help, and I let my own insecurities get in the way.
I did not decide to take you home until the doctor said I should, and it hurts like hell that you believe otherwise. But, I won’t say it again. I just knew you would believe otherwise. And that hurts. Anyway, I should have been secure enough to be your mother for a couple of days. I would have done it for anyone else. But, with you, I was (believe it or not) trying to be sensitive to your independence and feeling pretty awful for being late, and needing your approval. Long way to say I’m sorry, but I know I behaved badly. Just, please, always remember that I really am trying. You and Jenny mean the world to me.
I’ll always love you, and what I said in the kitchen last night will haunt me forever – the forbidden words, words I can never take back, spoken in hurt anger and hurting you. Please forgive me, even though I may never forgive myself.
Take care of yourself, David — you’re doing OK so far.