It is hard to even determine where I should begin. First and foremost, I just cannot believe you are really gone. It's been well over a year now, but somehow I still have a hard time believing that you aren't coming back. Our relationship was a unique one, one that most daughters did not have with their mothers. We were far closer than the average mother-daughter duo, which made losing you so much harder. When kids lose a parent, that is usually all that they lose. You, however, were like losing a parent and a child all in one horrible nightmare. This was made possible by our role reversal – the switch of our realities when you could no longer care properly for yourself and I stepped up to take on the responsibility. This changed everything, forever.
Even before I was born, you took any fighting chance I had at a normal life and stole it away from me. You, pregnant and all, used cocaine, marijuana, pills, cigarettes, and God knows what else. You poisoned me with all of that crap. I was an un-consenting fetus: your child. While you may have thought you were doing no harm, you were the farthest thing from wrong. All of these chronic illnesses I suffer from now? The ones you watched me struggle with day in and day out, surgery after surgery? You helped cause those, with your drug use and the excessive childhood trauma you put me through time and time again. When I was little, you used to take me with you when you'd meet your drug dealers. You'd take me to bars, drive me around drunk, smoke your crack with me locked in the room. You endangered my life so many times in so many different ways. I'm lucky to still be alive, and that's not even the worst of it. I used to wait up for you in the middle of the nights you never came home. I'd get out the phone book and start calling all the bars, looking for my mom. I'd get up in the middle of the night to find you passed out at the kitchen table, burning a hole in the table cloth with a lit cigarette. I'd help you back into bed, check on you, make sure you were okay.
When I was in second grade, I found you after you attempted suicide. This was the first of many times I'd save your life, in fact I did it 12 times in the last two years you were alive, to be exact. By then I was pretty much all grown up. I've seen so many overdoses; I can spot one in a second. You stole from me: birthday money, prescription medication you knew I needed; you pawned all of my nice jewelry. You put your hands on my physically and abused me mentally and emotionally. You know I've never been one to sugar coat things, and I am not going to start now. You were selfish, and a lot of the time you were a half-ass parent. Not only that, but you put your own parents through hell, too.
I will never erase the image of your dead body out of my mind. You created a shit storm in my life, and you left me here to deal with it without you. I now battle my own PTSD from the terrible memories you have left behind for me, but even still, with all of this, you are still my mother; my only mother.
Many people will wonder how I could ever forgive you for all of the hell you put me through, and truthfully there was a time where I wasn't sure I'd be able to. Since you've been gone, I've realized so much and have begun to look at things very differently. First, I have come to understand how what you went through influenced the decisions you made. I know that you went through hell. I know that you struggled, immensely. I know that you were sick, and because of that couldn't be anywhere close to the mother you wanted to be or that I deserved. Everyone always talks about you when you were my age, 18, 19 years old, and how incredible you were. How beautiful you were; how much potential you had. Part of me feels as if I never got to know that person, because by the time I was born that part of you was already gone. You were buried by your demons, wrecked by years and years of self abuse and self medication just trying to dull the pain. It's devastating to me, because it was almost a waste of your life.
Not all of my memories of you are bad. You were the coolest, spunkiest person. You had the most amazing, fun-loving personality. Your smile lit up every room and I'll never forget how you'd laugh. While sometimes it got you in trouble, you loved to have a good time. Now that you've been gone, I can distinguish the difference between my mother and the other person that you'd become. My mother was so caring, she would have never hurt a soul; but that wasn't always you. I know you never meant for all of our lives to turn out this way.
Growing up, I used to think you were THE worst mother I could have; now that I'm older, I can acknowledge the fact that while you were far from a good mother at times, but you definitely weren't the worst. I used to think you were the worst role model, and that you taught me nothing in life. I realize now that that is the furthest thing from the truth. You taught me about life in the realest way possible, by struggling yourself. By watching you lose your life over the course of mine, I gained wisdom and intelligence that kids my age won't gain until much later in life. I will never do drugs thanks to you, because I realize now I too have an addictive personality and that I want more from my life that you got out of yours. I have learned the importance of choosing your friends wisely, because guilt by association is a real thing and you didn't necessarily always pick the best friends. I've learned what happens when you suppress your emotions instead of facing your problems head on and self-medicating instead of processing things the healthy way.
Most importantly, I've come to realize that I would not be the woman I am today if God did not pick you to be my mother.
Lastly, Mom, I just wanted to say that I am sorry. I'm sorry that I was such a hard kid to handle growing up, and that I was so mean to you. I regret it now more than anything. It wasn't because I hated you like I said, it was actually the exact opposite. It was because I loved you so much, and it made me so angry and so overwhelmed to watch you spiral downward. I knew I was ultimately watching you die and that was just too much for me to process so I lashed out instead. I only wanted what was best for you. I'm sorry that I couldn't help you more, and that I couldn't save you. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. I was just a kid thrown into a very grown up world, and I hope you know I did the best I could for you and what you were facing. I'm sorry the world was so harsh to you, and that most people didn't understand. Please know that I now, I do. I'm sorry you couldn't see how loved you were while you were still here on this earth. Our whole community mourned your loss; everyone that knew you felt the pain. I know that you didn't mean to take your life, and while accidents happen, this one held permanent consequences. I'm sorry that you died alone just one room over, and I didn't even know. I'm sorry I was too late that time to save your life. I'm sorry.
I want you to know that I forgive you, and I will not allow you to have died in vain. I am your only child, and it is my responsibility to keep your memory alive in a positive light. I have big plans for us, to take your story and share it with the world so that I may be able to help people and their families who suffered as we did. The drug and addiction epidemic is at an all time high, and I can only hope we can get to a point where so many people won't have to die. I may not see it in my lifetime, but I want to be a part of it nonetheless. Know that I will never succumb to the temptations that you did. I will never let you down – I will only make you proud. Life here on earth will never be the same without you. You are so sorely missed by everyone that knew you.
Don't worry about me, I'll be just fine because you shaped me into a strong woman. I love you more than you can even know, please keep watching over me and I'll see you again one day.
Your only daughter.