letters for momma

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?

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photo credit: pixaby

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.

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photo credit: pixabay

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)

 

unpacking old bags

she was just a young girl when the other three girls showed up for a month-long visit. they were close to her own age. her mother called them her stepsisters. this was new information. what was a stepsister and why did her mother have three of them? and who was this other ‘momma’ the four of them referred to? was that her other grandmother?

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photo credit: pixabay

the girls’ arrival opened up the past, like old luggage surfacing at will after having been buried on purpose decades earlier. as the bags were opened and unpacked, the walls of the old brick farmhouse became privy to long held secrets. nothing would ever be the same. tensions flew between elder relatives. conversations were held in hushed angry tones while pointy fingers accused and placed blame. her mother and stepsisters were caught in the crossfire.

years had passed since that fateful visit. she hardly remembered any of it now, save for the trauma of her infant brother rolling off of the bed onto the floor. she’d spent the better of part of the past thirty years (the last five in earnest) trying to piece together the events of her mother’s life. she hoped to better understand why their relationship played out like it had. sometimes it helped to have understanding of the timeline of physical events to see the spiritual cause and effect – and vice versa.

clarity made it easier to forgive, to discard unreasonable expectations. the two went  hand in hand, both were necessary for emotional, mental and physical healing to occur.

it was time for another epsom salt bath, seeking more revelation. that was generally how it worked. the combination of the salt and soaking music opened up her vision like nothing else. holy spirit showed her stuff.

this bath led to a new ‘seeing’ of her mother. an old familiar black and white photo came to focus in her mind’s eye. she saw herself as an adorable toddler holding on to the edge of her pretty dress standing by what might have been her grandfather’s fancy car. in a moment, the little girl in the photo took on the face of her mother at that age.

this image of her mother was not easy to see. she was a little girl, vulnerable, born into a family of broken adults. she knew what happened to momma at that tender age. it was as though she’d been thrust into the part herself. she had asked to see what happened and here it was.

there were issues. momma’s own daddy was broken and drank a lot. momma’s momma was young and her momma said she was too young to be tied down with a baby and a husband. this piece puzzled her greatly. what was going on between this mother and daughter and why would a grandmother reject her little granddaughter? how far back did this root of rejection go?

her memory went back to a phone conversation she had with her momma on a lunch break walk. momma recalled their house in portland, sitting in the breakfast nook eating  with a view of mount hood out the window. she knew if momma remembered mount hood, she remembered other events, even if she didn’t speak of them.

back in the past, divorce proceedings took place in court. after that, her momma’s daddy took his little girl away from her momma across the country. she would never see her momma again. her heart was broken.

this explained in part why she had been unable to love. she’d been torn from her own mother when she was just a baby. that trauma alone kept her stuck emotionally. she’d had no tools to heal, no one to share her grief with. she got stuck there.

and then there were the letters. that is another story.

love your momma even if she can’t love you back.

(copyright © 2017 jane doe)