To my daughter,
If I could give you the answers, I would, but even if I could, I know at this point in my life my answers won't work for you.
I know life hasn't been easy for you, beginning with a mother who gave you away, then growing up the only child of color in a remote Alaska town, then throwing everything stable away with a Mexican boy at the end of one wild summer.
What none of us knew then was the inner demons you fought - some chemical aberration that allows you to fly higher than humanly possible, then exacts payment in depths few can survive.
Even with all of that, I wish I could give you the certainty that you are loved. Not one day goes by that both of your moms don't pray for your happiness. I risk speaking for the mom who did what I could not, knowing how hard she's worked to keep you safe, knowing she loved you enough to give you me.
Even with your illness, even with your wounds, even with the mess you've made so far of the life you have - you are loved. Deeply and without condition. It's not too late to do one thing to move closer to the gifts you came her to express. The one thing - the only thing I've ever asked of you - is that you tell the truth.
In that, healing can and will happen. In that, you can be helped, even in the worst depths of the chemical chaos that cannot be completely compensated for. If you could say, I'm ill, I need help, I believe you would then be able to absorb the love that has the power to heal.
I hold you in my heart - have always held you there. Maybe if you would trust us both with the truth, we could finally be a mother and daughter whose love for each other holds them both firmer when the ground shakes.
I love you.
I would if I could. I can't. If I tell you the truth of myself, I will lose the one thing I've clung to since I knew I had another mom - the possibility that if you had raised me, I would be okay. I don't care that you couldn't - I don't blame you, I'm not mad - but I know you would have helped me be okay.
I can't bear the thought that you know I'm mentally ill. I'd rather pretend and be only your cute loving daughter who shops and cooks and plays with kittens with you.
I know how much I've hurt you. I'm so so sorry. But this is the best I can do. A phone call here. An e-mail there.
And the hope that my own daughter, with the help of my second mom whom I hate so often and can never love enough, will be spared both the life that forced you to give me up and the life of insanity I created that nearly ruined her chances. I raised her, but really my other mom is the one who made sure she had what she needed to be ready to face the world.
So we share that, you and I, the not being able to raise our own daughters. And I do know how much you love me - have always known that.
The truth is - that truth you're always pushing me to tell you - the truth is I would be so much worse, so much less stable, so much more wounded if I didn't have two mothers to love me instead of one. I know that on my good days, which we both know grow fewer and fewer. But when the time comes, when I don't know anything else clearly, I will always remember your love.
I love you,
|The last picture she sent me, sometime last fall.|