If you’ve never lived a life where someone of importance is missing, you’ll never understand what I am about to say.
Notice I said missing, I didn’t say dead. I said missing. In my opinion is would be easier to explain if someone were dead verses missing. I don’t mean missing like no one can find them, I mean missing like absent from your life.
My mother has been missing from my life since I was 7. I’m almost 30 now. She has popped in and out but the only thing I’ve ever known with out a doubt consistently is, she wouldn’t be there for long. Does that mean she doesn’t love me? No. It just means she’s not there.
It was 8 years in September the last time I saw her face, at my wedding, which she was asked to leave from. After a year of no communication we tried to talk again and it didn’t work. Although my mother doesn’t hate me, she hates herself and takes that anger out on me. Speaking to me and of me in ways I wouldn’t ever think to speak to anyone. I’ve forgiven her but have filed that relationship under dead in my mind—I have let it go as best as I can, I have grieved it and her and try and only let myself think of good things about her. But mostly I just try not to think about it at all— that will come back and bite me one day. I know that but right now I’m doing all I know how to do— moving on.
I wrote her this letter, one day I may get it to her but probably not— my goal isn’t to make her feel any worse than I know she does. But my heart hurts for my little boy who is asking about her. My heart hurts for me.
I’m sharing it because I feel it could help those who also have missing loved ones. That are left with no answers and a hole in the their heart they are trying to fill! Those who are trying to understand but just can’t.
It’s me shelbie, your daughter. You may find it odd that I’m introducing myself but I feel it’s necessary, as you don’t know me. You gave me life but you never watched me live. I’d like to think you’re proud of me underneath all of the resentment you have, I would hope you feel pride. There are so many things about my life I want to share with you but there’s only one that stands out. Calvin. That’s my little boy, although you know of him, you don’t know him.
He is so smart. And so funny. He is learning the placement of people and how they fit in his life—Like me, his family is broken. It’s different for him though, the brokenness have created pieces that have become the blocks of a wonderful, United foundation, of our family.
He asks about you a lot. Going down the list he will say
Who’s your sister, mommy? -KK, Jo and Cassie. Right mom? Those are my aunts.
who’s your brother? That’s my Uncle bud. Right mom?
Your dad is my pawpah mom ,right? And my GG is special to you—right? because she makes my pawpah very happy and she loves us.
But where’s your mommy? How come you don’t have one? Does she live with Jesus way up in the sky.
I avoided that answer as long as I could. Until last week. When I ran into one of my clients with him at Walmart. I call her Mama Bear. As she was walking away I said “bye mama bear” Calvin said, “Mommy!!! Was that your mom! You do have one.”
I said no baby, that’s not mommy’s mom. I quickly changed the subject. But the thought of mama bears face an how much she’s been there for me never left my mind that day. I wished I could have said yes, when he asked that. I made it the whole day with avoiding that queastion and held my shit together long enough to get him to bed. And then I lost it.
I called the man you hate, my dad. A man that respects you still to this day. That talks highly of you when he shouldn’t. That has taught me everything.
I said to him, “tell me what to do dad. Tell me what to say.”
Everyone tells me to tell Calvin you’re dead, mom. He’s 4. He will never know. But I’ll know. And I would never want him to queastion me later in life because I told him a lie because it was easier.
Mike Brady, that man you disrespect, told me the exact opposite. He told me to tell him how much I love you, and how much I’ve learned from you by watching your mistakes. He told me to tell him you’ve made mistakes but that you’re a good person, but right now you won’t be able to be around us but that we still love you and that you still love us.
He didn’t tell me to throw you under the buss, he didn’t tell me to air your laundry and he didn’t tell me to tell my son you are dead. He told me to love you and support you even if you’ve chosen a life style of drugs and absence in my life, you’re still my mom and deserve respect.
So that’s what I did. His little mind has a hard time processing it but we are getting there. I also thought you should know that although you’re not there and haven’t been, God has helped me cope with losing you, by providing me with a handfull of mama bears.
Who love me, like you do. But who can also be there for me since you can’t.
My son also learned the difference in having a mom and having a mama bear.
and if you ask him, this is what he says.
“A mom is your mom. Moms love us cause that’s your mom. We all have mommy’s.”
“ a mama bear. A mama bear snuggles you. And tell you she loves you. She’s not your real mom but she’s your mama bear. My mom has a lot of mama bears”
I want you to know it’s not easy not having you. It’s hard and I’m mad at you but I also love you. And I understand. I want you to be grateful to those who have helped me when you couldn't. Dont envy them. Don’t hate them. And don’t feel guilty because although it would be nice to not have to have mama bears in place of a mom, how blessed am I to have that?
one day it will make sense. I promise. On my end. And on yours too.
It’s hard guys, not knowing what to say to our kids. Just remember dishonesty never wins. If you look there are positive things in negative situations. But you have to look. Find them and base your explanation around that.
Here’s one for the stray cubs ✌🏻