Saturday, February 18, 2012

To A Woman I Will Never Know

Dear Elizabeth,

I know that you don't know me, probably don't know anything about me, but you are my father's mother. You gave him life, brought him into this world, and then left him and his sister to never return again when he was only 4 years old. That one time that he saw you when he was 6 stayed permanently scratched into his memory. He never forgot (or forgave) your betrayal.

I have a 4 year old now and I will never understand how you can do what you did. How you could just walk away from your children and deny them any relationship with you. Deny them even in public when they are standing, crying right in front of you. You are either the biggest bitch on the planet or very, very strong in your determination. Perhaps that's where this stubborn, head strong streak came from. Perhaps there is more of you in me that I care to admit.

Your son, my father, he became an addict. He battled his demons through self-medication and while I am sure there are a myriad of things that led him down this very twisted rabbit hole, you were the first disappointment in his life. The way that you were able to walk away with what seemed to him as not a care in the world, crushed his spirit, broke him in ways that no amount of drugs would ever be able to fix.

He was mean-spirited and abusive to his children, playing games with their trust and their emotions. I was the object of so much of his hate, so much of his anger and I can only guess that there must be something about me that reminded him of you. Whatever that may have been, I hated that part of myself for years because it caused me so much pain. I wish I could know what that is, but since we will never meet, I guess I will never know.

I am not sure if you are alive or dead, Elizabeth. I don't know what kind of life you had before you married my grandfather or what kind of life you had after abandoning your family. I only know the mess, the chaos that you left behind. It survived you like flood waters after a hurricane, sitting, stagnating, becoming poison in all of their hearts. The despair and uncertainty growing into cruelty and anger like schools of bacteria through their very souls.

I haven't let what you did affect my family. I have learned to control my anger over what you began, I have learned to be a better mother and wife (even in the hard times). I will never be like you. No matter what my father thought of me, you (and the mess that you carry) will never, ever be a part of the family that I have built.

I just wanted to let you know what kind of legacy that you left in your wake. Perhaps you went on to start another family with some other guy. Perhaps, I have uncles and aunts that I have never known. Perhaps you think that the legacy that you left with that family will somehow outweigh the damage that you did over here, and maybe it will.

But I, for one, will never forget the legacy you left behind for my family.



This post was in response to the Lightning & the Lightning-Bug Flicker of Inspiration Writing Prompt.

The prompt went like this:
We want you to write a letter to someone you’ve never met. Literally any person, living or dead, that is to date un-met by you.
My father's mother abandoned her children when they were 4 and 2 years old. They saw her only one time after that at a department store around Christmas. When they ran to her in the middle of the store, she turned to the man that she was with and said, "I have no idea who these children are. Do you really think that I am OLD enough to have children this age?" And then she walked off, never to be seen again. I know very little about her as you may guess, but I have always thought (as the oddball of my family) that I must carry a lot of her traits.
Who would you like to write a letter to?  Would you want a reply, or just get something off your chest?

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