the finer details of momma’s life were hard to grasp, often getting further out of reach anytime she asked more questions. it was still so painful for momma to talk about it all. she was just a little girl when grandpa took her to live with his sister and her husband on the farm in the midwest. momma had settled into country life but from what she heard, family relationships were far from healthy or peaceful.
grandpa had married a second time. momma didn’t have good things to say about her. she used the ‘b’ word to describe her, and she said she was mean. when marriage #2 fell apart for him, grandpa divorced and married a third time. this was the woman she knew as step-grandma.
sorting through the memories in her head, she knew momma grew up on the farm with the big white craftsman style house with plenty of cousins and neighbors nearby. she went to a small lutheran grade school and then public high school, both in the nearby town. aunt and uncle must have doted on her. it had to be so. but what else was there?
the letters remained secret for decades, their existence revealed when momma’s three stepsisters came to visit. see unpacking old bags. momma had her own family now, three of her four children born. the girls were there visiting in part because the momma the four of them shared had died. she’d never been able to see her oldest daughter again.
as the four sisters visited and got acquainted over the span of a month, the oldest stepsister finally asked the question. “didn’t you get all those letters momma sent you?” time must have stopped right there. even now, she could feel the shockwaves go through the air as she imagined her momma processing the question.
“what letters? you mean she wrote to me?” oh, god. how father’s heart must have lurched as he watched his daughter learn that her momma had reached out to her, not just once, but many, many times.
letters had been mailed from various locations where momma’s momma, her new husband and her 3 daughters had lived. both women had been having babies at the same time, odd as that seemed.
it wasn’t clear how soon after her daddy had moved her across the country that the letters began to travel through the postal service to the well kept farm. there were more questions than answers. one thing was clear: momma never got the letters her momma wrote and mailed.
this was shock and awe, none of it good. it took forgiveness to a whole new level. the very people momma felt indebted to for taking her in and raising her were the same ones who’d kept her momma’s letters from her. her daddy knew, too. who’d made the decision to keep those letters from her and why?
from a safe distance now many years later, she wondered how could her momma process her emotions and feelings properly when the people she might talk to about it were the same ones who were accountable for the betrayal? all this mess explained a lot. her momma had bitterness, unforgiveness, trauma, betrayal and who knows what else thrown into the mix.
the spirit of religion kept a tight lid on the dysfunction and deception. no one talked about any of it. just keep looking good when you go to church on sunday, and everything will be fine. what a bunch of dung.
and there was her poor momma, sick and broken in her soul from all of it. it broke her so badly that any chance for healthy relationships with her own husband and kids was virtually destroyed. that generation didn’t have the same revelation or tools to get on the other side of this stuff. they had no grid for soul or emotional healing.
fast forward to today. it was still all so much to process. the great aunt and uncle that had raised momma had been grandparents to her. she loved them. uncle had died over twenty years ago, but auntie was still going strong at 101, tooling around the nursing home in her wheelchair with a hearing aid that was seldom turned on.
her own emotions went all over the map. it was easy to see now why there had been so much friction between her momma and grandpa. there was guilt. it explained why grandpa’s death had been so troubling.
momma, i am so sorry. i tell you this in all truth: daddy god loves you, and jesus has been with you in all of the pain and trauma.
your story is not over yet. it’s going to end well.
(copyright © 2017 jane doe productions)