Dear Mom

Hello my dear readers. Today’s post is really, really different. It’s an open letter to my Mother, who I haven’t spoken to in almost four years. Shortly after my wedding (which you can read more about in this post), I broke off all contact with my family, including my mother. It’s a long story, and one I will fill in the gaps on at some point down the road. Over the past year, after all the changes in my life, I’ve been thinking hard about re-establishing contact. I’ve chosen this method for reasons that may become obvious as you read this letter.  This post will be longer than most, and I thank you for your patience. I will return soon with more “standard” blog fodder.

Dear Mom,

This is a really hard letter to write. To prepare myself, I made a playlist of music that reminds me of you. Right now, listening to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. This playlist reminds me of the many road trips we took to visit Grammy and Gromp, driving through the rolling hills of Vermont, singing at the top of our lungs. (And yes, cue the tears here – quite embarrassing as I’m not quite in a private spot as I write this). 

There is so much to say, so much to tell you. I don’t quite know where to start. I guess I’ll start with an apology. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve not been the son that you deserve. For the first five years of my life, you raised me as a single mother, and I never once doubted your love. I never wanted for anything. You played Mom and Dad for me, and I can only imagine how much you sacrificed for me. You met an amazing man, a man that would become my father, and you married him. You brought happiness and stability into my life. For eighteen years I lived under your roof, and you offered me so many opportunities for happiness and success. I truly wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for you. You gave me the world, and I feel that I failed to give you back the love and devotion that you deserve. I’m sorry for this.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t there when you needed me the most. I’m sorry that I wasn’t intuitive enough to realize when you needed me. I’m sorry that you didn’t feel as loved by me as I truly felt towards you in those times when you really needed me. I’m sorry that you had to suffer through illness without me by your side. I am thankful for those you did have at your side, but am ashamed that I wasn’t one of those people.

Since the day I last spoke to you in April 2010, I’ve made many mistakes that I owe you an apology for. I count at least 1390 mistakes. Since the day I last heard your voice, 1390 days have gone by. Each of those days I have thought about you. Each of those days I made a choice not to pick up the phone and tell you how much I love you. Each of those days a mistake was made that I can’t take back, that I can’t correct. 1390 days have gone by without you knowing what is really going on in my life.  So, let me try to fill you in on some of it.

Shortly after we last talked, I interviewed for a job in Houston, TX and I got it. KA and I moved to Houston, and built a new life here. I started to act again, and even appeared in Guys and Dolls with KA, playing the comedic lead couple. It was a brilliant time. I wish you could have seen us. I then appeared in several other shows, including RENT and Arsenic and Old Lace and Our Town, and quite a few others. I will appear in another play this April – the acting continues! I am sad you haven’t seen me on stage in over 20 years. I’ve grown as an actor, and I wish you could see me.

Two years ago, I started doing triathlons – I can actually run more than a mile without stopping! I’m working on being in the best shape of my life. It’s pretty awesome!

I bought a house!  That was the day when I truly felt like an “adult” finally. That was a day I really wanted to call you and celebrate.

I am almost debt free (if you don’t count student loans!) – I’ve been working a second job for the past year, and by this summer will be without credit card debt for the first time since I was 19. I look forward to financial stability, and it feels great.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, however. In October of 2012, I asked KA for a divorce. It’s a long story, and I want to tell you the entire thing, though after you’ve read this, you can explore more of this blog, and read a bit more about what happened. There were days when I felt so alone…I just cried and cried, and I just wanted to call you. But I was also very angry, and that was (mis)placed on you – I know you didn’t ruin my marriage. But there was a time when I did believe this. KA moved out in January. In March of last year, KA and I were officially divorced. I haven’t spoken a word to her since January, and have only had cold email exchanges with here since. I miss her so much. I feel that I really fucked up so many of my relationships, and I wish I knew how to not do that (and yes, Mom, I swear. I swear a lot.)

“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce is playing now. Wow, what an appropriate song.

I also have something about me that I’ve discovered in the past couple of years that you need to know. I am polyamorous. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s when a person loves more than one person in a romantic way, but is entirely open and honest about it. I am currently involved with three women on a pretty serious level. One of them lives a couple of hours away, and has an adorable young daughter. One of them lives locally, has a husband and three children. I’ve spent time with her entire family, and they’re lovely. My most recent relationship is a woman who is also married, with no children. I will also be meeting a new woman I’ve connected with, when I travel to Toronto later this month to meet her. These women are all very different, and very amazing. They all offer me something different that I can’t possibly explain. You can “meet” them by reading more about them in my other blogs posts, if you care to. Anyway, that is who I am.

So, that’s what’s going on with me. I would love to re-connect with you, but there is a catch. I need you to do something that you’ve never done before. I need you to acknowledge to me that you made a mistake. The particular mistake that I want you to acknowledge is the decision you made to not attend my wedding – what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. To be clear, I don’t need you to apologize for not attending. I just want you to acknowledge that not being there wasn’t the best choice.  I need to hear/see you say the words, so that I don’t continue feeling like I’m crazy for believing that you should have been there, whether you supported my marriage or not.

I will say that you were right. I shouldn’t have gotten married to KA. You clearly knew something about me that I didn’t know. I so wish you had been able to articulate that. Had been able to explain to me what you could see that I couldn’t. The thing is, I knew before I got married that I wasn’t supposed to get married. But I didn’t have anybody to talk to about it. I didn’t feel I could talk to you, because you were so clearly biased against the impending wedding, that I didn’t think you would give me unbiased counsel, which is what i needed.

This sums up the problem with our family. We are horrible at direct communication. The fact that I’m posting this letter on a blog that is open to the world is a perfect example. I’ve put a lot of thought into why I’m doing it this way. And here is why…

Three years ago, you died. To me, you were dead. It was right after you sent me that Christmas card. The card was, I believe, a response to the very long letter I had written in which I explained how hurt I was. In that letter, I practically begged you to apologize to me. Your card to me, which I couldn’t even read – I made KA read it to me – stated something along the lines of: “I regret that I am unable to give my children the unconditional love they desire.” That was probably an apology in your eyes, but in my eyes it was a bullet to my heart. I immediately began weeping, and told KA that you were dead to me. That I would never talk to you again. That it was over, that I didn’t have a mother anymore. And I believed it, for quite a long time.

I try to deny that you are important to me. But the fact is, you’re still the most important person in my life. Though I haven’t seen you in almost five years, I can still picture your smiling face every day. I can still hear your laugh. I can still feel your arms around me, hugging me, making me feel better. I want that mother back.

So, why am I posting this here? Because you’re not dead. You’re alive and well, inside of me. Inside of me, I have this vision of a mother who will call or send me a note saying: “I made a mistake not being at your wedding. I wish I could go back and fix that mistake.” That is the mother that I believe is still out there. But if I send this letter directly to you, I open myself up to losing you again. If I don’t get a reply, then you will be dead all over again. If you reply, but pretend that none of this ever happened, then you’re dead to me again. And this time the death will be forever, I believe. I will give up on that dream of a mother who I can communicate with again. I know that sounds extreme, but my heart has been broken so many times, and I can’t do it again.

So, I am going to send you the link to this blog post. You can click on it, you can read it. If you’re ready to be the mother I need you to be, the one who can acknowledge that one mistake (mind you, I don’t need an apology, just an acknowledgment!), then you can reach out and email me. I will call you. We’ll have a good cry.

But if you’re not ready for that, if you can’t make that acknowledgment, then you can just sit on this, and maybe revisit it someday. It’ll be here. I’ll be here. And I can pretend that you never opened the link. I can pretend that the email got lost. And the mother I need can still be alive to me. A possibility. Somebody who will be back in my life someday. When you’re ready. When you’re ready, I’ll be ready.

Wow. This is scary. I’m really fucking scared. Almost as scared as the day I asked KA for the divorce. Almost as scared as the day I found out you had cancer. Almost as scared as the day I thought you were gone from my life forever.

I do want you to know, that no matter what I love you. I love you so much. And I look forward to the day when we can talk. When I can share. When I can fill you in on these missing four years, and when you can fill me in on your life.

Much love,

Patrick

p.s. Feel free to read the rest of the blog, and find out more about polyamory, and my take on life in general. I am the same man I was when we last talked, yet I am so much more. I live my life so much more honestly than I used to. Be aware that includes discussion of sex and sexuality – I am very sex positive, and that might make you feel “weird” – it makes me feel weird a bit that you’ll read this too. Don’t worry, we never have to talk about anything that “squiks you out” as my favorite advice columnist Dan Savage likes to say. Also, know that I am an author now. I live my life publically – as you can see from this blog posting. I will share in a public way any way in which our relationship moves forward. This is just what I need to do.

Dear reader, if you are still here, thank you. Thank you for your support, your love, and your positive energy. I will fill you in with a later post if I get a response. 

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6 Responses to Dear Mom

  1. Good luck.

    If she reads that I am sure she will know she did make a mistake. As parents we make many of them and that only makes us human. I hope she reads this and gets back with you. My heart aches for my family who’s family didn’t accept them as polyamorous (which you don’t seem worried about showing what a good woman she really is). It has to be hard having such a rift who would always love and accept you for who you are.

  2. quinkygirl says:

    Best wishes, truly.

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  5. Tears. This is heartache in words.
    Regardless of whether or not you ever receive the acknowledgement you would like and need to have, I hope you reach forgiveness. Sometimes forgiveness is more about us than the other person. It’s making a conscious choice to truly let go of an event or act that causes us pain so that we can be free from it. We let go of that pain which then frees up a space in our hearts for new emotions- hopefully joy and peace. The other person need not even know. It isn’t easy, but finding that forgiveness within ourselves is essential to our personal wellbeing and ultimate happiness. Just my $.02 but it comes with experiencing significant heartache and pain of my own before learning to allow myself to forgive.

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