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A Mother By Choice

To the closest thing to a mother I have left...

By Morgan Rhianna BlandPublished 2 years ago Updated 9 months ago 6 min read
A Mother By Choice
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Just for the record, I really hate this prompt! When one has no mother and is not a mother, Mothers’ Day is nothing but a bad reminder of all one has lost. Writing about my mother or even thinking about her reopens too many wounds, dredges up too many memories, invites too many tears and too many emotions better left buried. And I can’t put myself through that when the only way I’ve stayed alive and functional for as long as I have is by staying emotionless.

Even if I were so inclined to pour my heart out, I have nothing to confess to my mother. In life, she was accepting enough that I never felt the need to keep secrets from her. In death, she probably already knows what I would say to her. More importantly, she gave up her right to any emotion from me when she gave up on life.

Yes, you read that right. It may come as a shock to you, but my mother, to put it bluntly, lost her mind when she lost her husband. Part of me feels guilty saying that. When she was in her right mind, she was as good a mom as anyone could ask for. But in the end she made choices that I can never forgive. She chose to die with my dad instead of live with me. She chose to let her negative emotions consume her. She chose to stop caring for herself, to stay in bed all day, to barely eat or bathe, to not seek medical or mental health care. And because of those choices, she died of something that could’ve been postponed or prevented.

It’s because of her that I learned to be emotionless. When she made those choices, she foisted her responsibilities upon me. I was barely twenty-two and living with a chronic illness that made driving, holding a job, and even simple things like housework impossible. I had no choice but to put my own emotions aside and provide for us the best I could on a single monthly disability check. I couldn’t turn to her because she was too wrapped up in her feelings to notice mine. I couldn’t turn to other family members because I didn't want to be a burden. Showing fear or sadness would make me look weak and useless. Showing anger would cause an argument, and I couldn’t let that happen. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do everything on my own. I needed their help to keep us afloat, and I feared that if I made them mad enough, they would cut us off.

My mother made her choices, and I made mine. I decided that I never want to do what she did. I don’t want to make my hardships other people’s hardships. I don’t want to bring others down just because I’m feeling down. I don’t want to be the reason someone cries or has a bad day or has to put their own needs on hold, so I keep my emotions under lock and key, even this many years after my mother’s death. If I let my walls come down for even a moment, I’m afraid they won’t go back up. Then I’d become like her, and that’s something I refuse to do!

I thought about skipping this challenge for fear of the emotions it would bring; I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I can’t walk away from a chance at the prize money, or maybe it’s because I, unlike my mom, am not the type to give up when things get hard. I thought about taking the easy way out and writing a fiction piece, but even that would be grounded enough in reality to bring up unwanted emotions. I thought about writing to some other person’s mother, someone so far on the periphery of my life that I wouldn’t feel anything while writing to her. had started writing that piece, but I’m sure you know as well as I do how plans can change in the blink of an eye.

Last week, I heard a piece of news that changed the plan. Hearing what you went through made me realize that you’re one of the few people in my life worth putting my heart on the line, and I owe it to you to do just that, rather than stay in my safe emotionless bubble. You’re the closest thing to a mother I have left, so in the end, I had to address this letter to you.


I remember the day I met you. I was four years old, and you say I looked like Cindy Lou Who back then. That day, one of the older kids in the neighborhood got hurt on his bike, and my mom went to help him. I don’t know if she forgot to tell me she was leaving or if I was just too little to understand what was going on. Either way, I was scared because I didn’t know where she was! So I went outside to find her myself, and I found you.

There are two things that I vividly remember from that day. One was my mom scolding me for going outside by myself and for leaving the house in an Aladdin nightgown. The other was you. You were the only one there to take the time to pay attention to me. You introduced yourself and explained what was happening in a way my little kid brain could understand. I knew even at that early age that you were a good person I could trust to be there when I needed you, and you have been ever since.

When my mother chose to give up, you chose to step up. You were the one person I could turn to without fear of judgment or inconvenience. You went out of your way to include, encourage, and support me. You gave me a safe space when my life became too much to handle, be it my mother’s constant negativity, my extended family’s expectations, or just the harsh realities of trying to navigate the world while living with a disability. In those moments when you saw me at my worst and most emotional, you never thought less of me. Whenever I needed anything, be it a listening ear, a ride to the grocery store, a pet sitter while I’m on vacation, or anything else, you were there to help, no questions asked. And unlike so many others, you never expected anything in return.

Now the tables have turned, and I have no idea how to help you in your time of need! I don’t have the money or the manpower to fix anything, and I’m useless at emotional support. When I went to check on you a few days ago, you said I was helping just by fixing a toy for your kids or spending time with you, but those efforts seem so insignificant compared to all you’ve done for me over the years!

I have no idea if my writing will win any prizes. Knowing you, you probably won’t let me give you any money if it does, but writing this was the least I could do. I’ve never told you this and probably never will because you know how I am about expressing emotion, but thank you! Thank you for being my mother by choice!


About the Creator

Morgan Rhianna Bland

I'm an aroace brain AVM survivor from Tennessee. My illness left me unable to live a normal life with a normal job, so I write stories to earn money.

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