Dear Mom,

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It’s been a year since the terrible crash that took you from us so suddenly. I know that while you were here with us, I was not kind to you and this is what I will regret for the rest of my life.

Thank you for everything you have done for me. You have always made sure I had everything I needed and wanted. Thank you for putting up with my fits of rage, explosive anger and all the unkind words I have spoken to you. You did not deserve my anger, I just didn’t know what else to do.

Dear Mom,

All I wanted was to be like you. I admired you so much. You always managed to get everything done and I wished I could do the same. You had my laundry washed and put away for me every week. You made sure I was up in time for school. My projects and assignments got amazing grades because of your final input. You drove me to my games, and cheered me on. The house was always full of food and the meals you made were outstanding. I know you were exhausted, but you just kept going until everything was done. I really wish I knew how you did it all.

Now that you’re gone, I am having to learn all the things I wish you had taught me. When you first left, friends and family would stop by with loads of food. Aunt Margie came to do our laundry, Mrs. Wilson next door cleaned the house and even old, cranky Mr. Bill cut the grass a few times. But all of that faded away and eventually it was left up to us. We have all learned a lot since you left, and we all wish you were here to teach us how to do it.

I have tried making your famous Sunday breakfast, but the fire department told me to stop because they got tired of responding to my cooking fails. I tried doing laundry, but the school said our uniforms are not supposed to be pink. I didn’t even know how to start the lawn mower (apparently you need to put gas in it first).

I am slowly getting better at navigating my way through your daily routines, but it is hard to find the balance. Some days, my school work gets lost in the shuffle because I have to fix the washing machine, or get groceries or I just fall asleep with so many tasks not finished. I really don’t know how you did it all.

I have been so busy trying to be you since you left, that I didn’t realize that I had lost me. Truthfully, I never had me because you always made decisions for me. You picked my classes at school, you told me who I could hang out with and you even cooked the foods you thought I liked (I really hate asparagus you know). I think one of the greatest things I have learned since you left, is who I am and who I want to be.

I wanted to be like you when you were here, but now I know I need to be me. I need to make sure my kids know how to do their own laundry, get themselves up for school and cook a meal. My kids will know how to do all the things you didn’t teach me. I know you were just trying to be the best Mom you knew how to be, but I really feel like you failed me. This past year has been so hard with learning how to get through life, that I haven’t had the chance to really grieve you as a person and a Mom. I have been so angry because you left me with this huge responsibility and you didn’t even tell me that I would have to do this!!

I wish you had taken the time to teach me how to be me.

I spent so many years angry at you because you were always to busy to just sit and listen to me. I needed to tell you that I wanted to learn how to be you. But we never had that chat. All we ever did was yell and scream at each other. I am now 18 years old and I have no idea how to live life because you always did it for me. You said that I was going to be a Doctor and now I know that I want to help kids who have lost their Mom. I want to help them learn all the things I had to learn because you didn’t take the time to teach me.

I had to get a job to help pay for the other kids, but I had never even made a resume. I was scared to go for an interview because I had never done it. I had to learn how to budget our money because I honestly thought it just came out of no-where. School, work, kids, house, chores, meals is all too much for me. I wish I knew how to do some of these things while you were here.

We are learning, Mom.

We have had some pretty good fights here since you left and I finally realized it was because you weren’t here to referee. None of us knew how to really talk to each other. We had no idea how to cope with your sudden exit. We had no idea how to work together to get everything done. Our anguish, pain and grief was hurled at each other in a feeble attempt to make it go away and all it did was grow bigger. We are now learning how to really talk to each other, help each other. Mom, did you know that Kaitlyn really hates biology? She is now focusing on athletics instead of sciences and Jeff wants to be an electrician not a lawyer. We have learned to channel our anger into creativity and have an entire wall in the living room devoted to our emotions. We have built a massive piece of art that expresses how each of us feels, what we like, what we hate and who we want to be. You are on that wall Mom. Sometimes you are there because we are angry at you for leaving before you taught us how to really live and sometimes you are there as a celebration of who we are today.

It has taken me a full year to write this letter to you. I was so full of hurt, anger and hatred that I still haven’t been to your grave. I think we will go this weekend. We are doing ok, Mom. I just wish it was you who taught us all that we needed to know about life without you. You can now rest peacefully knowing that we are managing, we are learning to cope, learning to talk, but we are also learning to listen and take time for each other because we now know just how precious time is.

Andrea Scarborough – champion of hope.

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