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Fears of the Small

by S. H. Stewart 3 months ago in Childhood
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The devotion and struggles of maternal relationships

Fears of the Small
Photo by Al Soot on Unsplash

Dear Mum,

Let me start with the truth before I confess a lie. I love you selfishly, completely, and without question.

Selfishly because I take more than I can give, as is the nature of a child I suppose. I expect things of you rather than ask of them, and yet you always deliver. Completely, because I can blurt out these affirmations regardless of any fault or error you could ever commit. Without question, because my adoration for you as my mother is set in stone, the kind that walls of lands long lost who remain defiantly standing are made of. I need you in my life like the air in my lungs. I want you in my life the way we as humans open our eyes each day and demand more from it.

I do not deserve half of what I get in return from this love we share, but I will never recede or deny any of what I am allotted.

But mother, I am scared that I am not brave or what you need me to be. I have lied to you every day and every time I say I am okay.

When Grandma had her stroke, withered, and eventually passed, I failed you. I was just so lost myself in an emotional sea I could not direct you to shore. I bore witness to my unshakable mother shatter, and it scared me. Will I shatter when you die?

I have lost all my extended family and it was hard. Your own mother is the hardest not only to lose but to continue to lose. She was the matriarch of the family and well… We since have still not yet recovered. It has been 8 years and still, it is not really discussed.

Mum, I can tell you anything. Always have… but this…THIS. I am just so utterly sorry.

I am sorry that there is not a better word than ‘sorry’ to encapsulate the shattering of one’s heart. She was your mother and your only parent… Your best friend. She’s just gone now. One moment we are in the car driving to get Mexican food, at a traffic light, worrying about the workday tomorrow then a cell phone rings. That’s just it. That is how the world as we know it ends. Hungry and stressed.

Pieces of you fell and scattered around in the year it took for her to finally pass and I thought I was holding on to them for when you could allow them back, but they rotted. I could not keep them alive for you.

I selfishly thought she’d get better…I selfishly thought we’d get better once she had passed. I completely thought we’d heal in time. I without question thought we’d move on together as all humans must. But we did not.

We have normal days, but they are not. I feel every molecule of air around me when I bring Grandma up or recall a time when she was around.

You seem like you, you seem okay as anyone could be in this situation, but I am so sorry to admit I cannot ask you how you are because I am not okay.

I am writing this out to you as my crucible: I am not enough for you or myself. I am terrified to ever see you shatter again. I desperately want you to comfort me as a mother through my own grief but cannot allow myself to cause any more of your own.

I am small again, hesitant to admit a mistake for fear of you not loving me somehow. A fear that very young children hide away in their hearts only for monsters that lurk in closets and under beds when the lights go out to remind you.

Mummy, I am so sorry. I feel so scared and alone but smile at you every day choking at the mere thought that you could disappear one day too.

Love always,

Your Little Girl


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S. H. Stewart

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