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Dear Mom

An Open Letter To My 1950's Mother

By DeEtta MillerPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024

Dear Mom

(An open letter to my 1950’s mother)

By: De Etta Miller

Dear Mom, I’m not sure if this letter is for you or for me. But decades after your leaving, I feel the need to say: “I’m sorry.” I don’t know that I even believe in Heaven. I can only assume, that which was taught throughout my childhood might have some validity. Perhaps we all find the truth of our afterlife when it is indeed time for an afterlife. But what I do know and believe in, is how hard and yet delightful motherhood can be.

All my adult life and much of my youth was spent resenting my childhood homelife and the adults who frequently brought fear, pain and need to my innocent existence.

It was so easy, too easy, to make you the scapegoat for all the chaos that filled my youthful days. Basically, because you were there. Unlike the pathetic excuse for a father, your unfaithful husband and violent intruder. But more about us…

The apology I am making for all to see is the result of decades and decades of judgement. Judgement of your parenting skill or lack of. Judgement of our substandard lifestyle. Judgement of what felt like a lack of protection from “the Beast.”

As I move through my life as a mother and grandmother, I am painfully aware of my own failings and struggles to meet needs, both physical and emotion for all the ones I love more than life itself.

Anxiety over what I did not know about parenting was at its height while carrying your first grandchild. Panicking over not having the parental example I needed to emulate, I took “Parenting Skills” classes and read books offering guidance for a journey never traveled well in my home as a child.

One sunny afternoon, while watching my toddler marvel at the wonder of a flower garden, I summed up my parenting style in one sentence. “I will raise my children in opposition to all that I know.” That’s it! It was that simple! Or was it? What is the opposite of all that I had known and witnessed?

How smug, how elevated, how unfair. In my seventh decade of life, I am well fed, well cared for, and well loved. I finally took time to acknowledge all you were denied via your parents, society, and your own expectations. You were a product of your time, as they say. But then aren’t we all? When men can be “Kings of their castles,” there is little chance you will ever be the Queen. You were less than his naive.

I remember the beauty and talent that was “mom.” I loved hearing your crystal clear, melodic voice fill the afternoon air, as you repeatedly did the same laborious tasks, as dictated by women’s magazines around the world. Cleaning house, and obedience defined you. Sadly, the Marlboro man seduced you into a habit that would rob you of your angelic sounds. Then there was your art. You were so talented with your sketches! The fashion designs and original clothing patterns you cut out of newspaper would have made Gucci weep. But nobody encouraged or believed in you. So, your pen & pencil left the page.

When my family gathers around our table to break bread, laugh, and share stories, I am transported back to a time when there was no room at the table, there was barely enough to eat and through tears not laughter, our stories were shared in hushed tones.

So, to compare the hardships of an abused mother of six, living in poverty, in a community and time that turned away and shamed those less fortunate, is unfair and cruel, so very cruel to judge you.

Some would say “She did her best.” I say, none of us do. If we did there would never be letters such as this. What is a person’s best, anyway? Isn’t that just one more judgement call?


About the Creator

DeEtta Miller

Found my "Voice" as a college student of forty-seven. Once a memoir was written, fiction, poetry and non-fiction became my passions.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (15)

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  • DeEtta Miller (Author)24 days ago

    Thank you so much!

  • Nice.....https://vocal.media/families/good-friday-2024-when-is-good-friday-note-the-date-and-know-the-importance-of-this-day

  • Sian N. Cluttonabout a month ago

    Wow. This resonates with me. So beautifully profound. A well deserved Top story. ❤️

  • ROCK about a month ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • DeEtta Miller (Author)about a month ago

    My fellow writers and our shared community of written work is the catalyst and the support I so appreciate! Thank you, thank you.

  • LASZLO SLEZAKabout a month ago


  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    We are all quick to judge in the moment and quick to blame. I think your mum would appreciate your letter of reflection even if she'll not read it. And it feels good voicing it anyway. None of us do it right all of the time, if rarely.

  • A. J. Schoenfeldabout a month ago

    Beautifully written. I hope my children will one day grant me such grace for my own mistakes.

  • Lillie L. Nicholsabout a month ago

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  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    There is some pain that never goes away; there is some joy that needs to be found and shared. Thank you for this one. I hope it did bring you some real peace!

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  • Gabriel Huizengaabout a month ago

    What a poignant and honest reflection on the life of a woman in very, very difficult circumstances. Thank you so much for sharing this 💙

  • Mark Grahamabout a month ago

    Good work, this must have been kind of hard to write at times but you were able to accept the past and your present seems good. Letters like this one helps.

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