The letter arrived today.
This originally appeared on Role Reboot. Republished here with permission.
I don’t need to open it to know that it isn’t a happy letter telling me I’ve been accepted into the college of my choice, or that I’ve been left a ton of money from a long lost relative. I can tell from the scrawly, once beautiful handwriting on the outside of the envelope that it’s a letter from my mother ending our relationship.
“I don’t want to let the cat out, so I’m not opening the door. I’ll send you a letter. Good-bye!” My mother said abruptly behind her locked bedroom door as my boyfriend and I were leaving her house after a tension-filled visit.
The only time she’s ever affectionate with me is when I first arrive at her house, or when I’m about to leave. Since I’m gifted at translating the language of my mother, I knew that the fact that I was getting a letter instead of a hug or a kiss goodbye, was a bad sign. I was in trouble as old-school correspondence is when my mother is at her most blunt and brutal.
“Why do you always have to make such a big deal of it?” I asked her once regarding her written purging of old friends and relatives.
She didn’t have a good reason for me, and made it seem as if letting things die quietly wasn’t in her skill set. She felt compelled to put it in writing. Since most of her friends have passed away, she doesn’t have to end as many relationships as she once did, but that has only slowed her down—not stopped her completely.
I don’t understand her need to formally announce when she isn’t talking to someone. It just seems to me to be unnecessarily unkind. Why not let those relationships that she isn’t interested in pursuing any more slowly cease to be?
She rarely picks up the phone anyway—she should just stop answering it all together. But for my mother, if she’s finished with you, she wants you to know about it, and I think she wants it to sting.
I opened the envelope, and pulled the letter out. It was at least six pages. I glanced over it and saw words like disappointed, behavior, crappy, and finished.
Not all mother-daughter relationships are smooth sailing. Post continues after video.