Two thousand five hundred and ninety-two miles. That’s the distance between the house my mother lived in with us when I was small, and the house she lives in now. Two thousand five hundred and ninety- two miles and forty-two years. That’s the distance between then and now. Between the day she left and today.
In that distance she had two more marriages and two more divorces. One of these men was an alcoholic and they had two sons together. She worked as a crossing guard and a home health aide, moved to Arizona with her two boys, back to Massachusetts then settled in Arizona again.
In that time she did not grieve, she did not heal. Her pain is too great, too raw. Her anger towards my father so vast it could swallow her. Her grief might turn her to particles, to the dust in the desert she lives in. So she does not touch it, any of it. She cares for her pets and lives out her days with a boyfriend-I hear he’s mean. She is my broken mother.
In that time I had another mother, then another sister. In that distance I had a small handful of friends, a few laughs, some tears, wrote poetry, contained a large helping of fear and loneliness, a constant void. I had some boyfriends, some not so good for me. Something was wrong. Missing. My mother. My self.
In that time, I’ve had a marriage, a happy marriage-still do. I have daughters of my own. I am the mother now too. I may be the alienated daughter, but I am also the mother. I’ve grieved and healed and am always trying to become more whole. I want to be whole. I finally know I have the power to be; I know what to do.
In that distance I attempt reconnecting, then push my mother away. What would I tell my father? She is not supposed to exist for me. I gather my courage, I try again. She is despondent this time. More years go by.
Two thousand five hundred and ninety- two miles, and the harsh words I said since I saw her last, twenty years ago. Twenty years ago. The words I cannot take back. The time I cannot take back. I send one last letter.
I wanted to update you on my memoir and saw that you no longer use your email. While writing my story, I have come to learn how common parent alienation is after volatile divorces.
I was reading over some of your old letters to me and felt saddened by how poorly I handled our attempts to reconnect. I must have been angry and still very much overly concerned with my father finding out about my being in touch with you (I cannot overemphasize the degree of intimidation he instilled in me, likely beginning in toddler hood when I saw his behavior toward you, then continuing through my teens and beyond). Anyhow, you were still living in Cape Cod during most of these letters. I am rather regretful that you left Massachusetts (though I do understand the desire for warm weather, etc.) I wonder if I had handled things differently, if you might have stayed. And now to hear that you have no email and no phone makes me wonder if you are choosing to isolate.
You can always contact me if you choose to. I won’t keep writing (except for perhaps a final book update, if it is published). I hope by my writing the truth about what happened will bring you some peace of mind. There are blogs etc written by women who went through very similar situations as yourself. You are not alone.
If you have anything you want to write/add/say that you think will add clarity to the story, it is not too late to do this. If not, that’s okay too. I have a good understanding of what went on for you, thanks to our talks and letters so many years ago now.
Thanks for reading!