Dear Mom, I survived anyway

Dear Mom.

When I was “home” last, you were showing my brother your new guitar and ignoring me. He’s always considered himself the black sheep of the family, as if there’s something romantically tragic about it. But even he can’t deny how far in the shadows you’ve shoved me.

At our last family gathering, if I rose up into the air and looked down on us, I’d see a room full of people, laughing and playing, eating and joking, except one still corner of the room. I’m frozen on the couch, chin in hand, watching the love twist around and swallow everyone up, nervously darting around me, not even a narrow miss.

Dear Mom. 

Remember that summer I came back from freshman year of college? I expected to find my bed in the same place. You didn’t even tell me to my face. I had never stood up for myself to you, until that day. I screamed it into your voicemail, because you were screening your calls. How could you turn your own daughter out? I had nowhere to go. I abandoned your church and they demanded you abandon me. You dropped me like I was poison.

Dear Mom.

Once, you asked me to come and commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. You saw it as a glimmer of hope. I walked in and they all turned their eyes away, even you. I said hello, and you acted like I was dead. Dad chastised you and you turned back to me, a forced, tight smile on your lips, spitting out hello as if it was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. Was it hard to be so cold to your own daughter, or was it harder to have all of your friends see you?

 Dear Mom.

Last year, Grandma told you she would allow me to say goodbye to her. Cancer comes for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, just like everyone else. After ten years of nothing, she allowed me five minutes. Pained eyes and a weak, old voice whispered that I broke her heart when I left the truth – that I have to come back. Then she was gone. You broke down in sobs at her memorial. You clung to me, guilt wrapping us together – you have to come back, you said. I love you. You seemed so fragile. I never thought of myself as the strong one, before.

Dear Mom.

You taught me to look for love in impossible places. That I’m impossible to love. I found it anyway. I made myself a strong, careful net. For 13 years, I’ve painstakingly crafted it with anxious, desperate hands, this safe space. I had to survive. You taught me that I wasn’t good enough for that. I found it anyway.


9 thoughts on “Dear Mom, I survived anyway

  1. Andy December 8, 2015 / 10:37 pm

    Hey, it’s been 11 years for me too, and everyday I struggle with not feeling loved by my own family, the ones who brought me into this world. Everyday I have to remind myself that they too have been misinformed, and it has got the better of them, as it did for me for so many years. I feel your pain, I feel it in my core and I love you.

  2. joe December 9, 2015 / 3:55 am

    why did you leave?

    • Naomi Hagelund December 9, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      If you read my prior post, it explains why. In a nutshell, I was caught with a worldly boyfriend and the elders told me I had to stop being friends with my best friend, because we were bad influences on each other. I said no. They kicked me out.

  3. Julie west December 9, 2015 / 4:11 am

    Shame on your mom, God or Jesus would never treat on of his own this way. He isn’t happy with these people. Stop punishing yourself and just relive you can’t change them.

    • Great Cousin Caryl September 19, 2016 / 4:05 pm

      Shame indeed! But, her mom learned it from her mom….and so it goes…or it CAN go…unless we break that chain…which she has done, as have I. My future generations will not know that very conditional imitation love. I am thinking/hoping Naomi isn’t punishing herself anymore, rather the writing is venting for both therapy and the hopes of helping others.

  4. Jack December 9, 2015 / 6:43 am

    If anyone understands in some way, it is me. My whole life I have been injected with a truth that most would find obsired. A mother who I could not talk to, brothers that I could not conversate. I hate the fact that thier law states what it does. I don’t hate them for it though. I’m just glad thier faith don’t make them strap a bomb to thier chest in the name of thier faith. I can’t condemn you, for I never been baptized was never able to be condemned. But I can say that no matter how hard it is for you to be rejected by the one that brought into this world, try having a child off your own, and fathom how hard it must be for someone to have so much faith, that they refuse to tAlk to thier children, because they think thier actions might, one day save them.

  5. rruffner88 December 10, 2015 / 4:58 am

    Your message is strong and powerful and while I can sense your pain I can feel your strength. You have come so far friend and I am so glad you have found a network that loves you no matter what. I can’t imagine having faith come before a child. I hope these continue to help you get your voice out. You deserve to be heard after silenced all those years! ❤

  6. Annette N Legaspi October 18, 2016 / 12:15 am

    Naomi, I’m so sorry for your pain. My family and I were recently expelled from our church and we have lost some family members and friends who I thought would always love us. It makes me sad, but I don’t hate them. Instead I thank God every day for my family and friends who love us “no matter what”.
    Don’t forget, you lost your faith NOT in God but in your church. Remember also that the bible says the way we judge others is the way God will judge us. So continue to love them, and pray for THEM because they’re the ones whose hearts are filled with hate, not yours.

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