So, it’s Mother’s Day.

I miss my Mom.

I think I’ll always carry the scars from her death around with me, because I really thought she’d come out of the hospital until about an hour before we had to say goodbye to her due to a health relapse that would mean she’d be intubated for life. She chose to go off life support.

I miss her.

And I accept that she could be abusive.

She would scream at me as a kid and call me names when she lost her temper (and oh, how that Scots temper could flare.) I, being undiagnosed autistic, had no idea why I was upsetting her and so I just emotionally shut myself off. I can still, without trying very hard, conjure up how it made me feel to be on the receiving end of her temper, even in adulthood when we wound up on opposite sides of the Obama/Hillary divide (oh, the tyranny of small differences.)

I accept that she could be abusive.

And I miss her.

And I think today I’ve forgiven her.

Talk of mental health was not exactly where it is right now when my mother was coming of age. I remember my grandfather and her father, and he was the same way. So, presumably, was his father; two world wars will mess anyone up.

Times change, and I’ll never know if my mother would change if given the chance. But I know that she was the product of her upbringing, same as I was, and the only thing that is helping me break the cycle is that I know that there’s a cycle to break. Now, with the long view of history, I can see it, and I know it has to stop.

I’ve done what I can to mitigate whatever tendencies I may have; I hopefully have succeeded. Regardless: I think I’ve forgiven her.

I try to embody being slow to anger, quick to forgive, eager to understand and willing to apologize. Often, the internet makes me feel guilty for it. Often, the internet seems all-seeing, all-knowing and all-unforgiving. But today I’m not going to be ashamed of letting this go. Today I won’t let the world convince me I’m weak for doing this.

So I forgive you, Mom. And I miss you. And I’m going to try and hold onto the best parts of yourself that you gave to me.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.


  1. And to pre-empt the thing the internet does when a personal essay doesn’t cover the breadth and depth of the human experience: you don’t have to forgive abuse. And neither do I.

    But I did it anyways, and I’m not weak or an enabler for it.

    1. I’m sorry you had that experience, but I’m glad that I was able to help in whatever way I could.

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