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Dear Mom,

Last Friday, I kept thinking about you and your life, just you, your life, without thinking about its effect on me (which is what I usually do in my neurotic angsty state of mind). I just broke down and cried and cried. And empathized. As a child, your father was a raging drunk, barely existing in your life at all except to cause you shame and grief. You lived in a small town, everyone knew each other, and one day as you rode the elementary school bus, you passed by a chain gang working; and he was in the gang. All the other children saw him too, and knew he was your father. You excelled in high school and had many real friends.

During your childhood, your mother decided to go to nursing school. In the bad old days, a woman could not be married and certainly not have children if they expected to be a nurse! So she left a very young you and your brothers with grandparents and other relatives in Virginia, while she went to school in Maryland for several years.

When she graduated and got a job, she came back to get you. She worked the night shift and while you were very young, put you in foster homes instead of getting a babysitter. You were in several homes, treated better in some and worse in all, but never belonging, never feeling wanted. Finally, when you were older, she brought you to stay with her. She continued to work the night shift, so while you were in school, she was sleeping. You were alone most of the time. I remember you telling me that until you were an adult, she never told you she loved you, or even that you were pretty or smart. (Which, by the way, you had both brains and beauty by the bucketloads.)

When you got pregnant by my dad at 17, you desperately wanted to go out of state and give the baby up for adoption. Your mother refused to let you do that. You had a chance to redeem your life, continue in college, and go on. But she even took that from you too. You married my father, and got pregnant again three months after having your first child. You got pregnant again three months after your second. With three babies, a very rocky relationship with your husband, you became pregnant again when your children were the ripe old ages of nine months, 20 months, and nearly three years.

I cannot even start to truly imagine your hellish life. You must have been constantly overwhelmed by babies, poverty, a clinically depressed husband, cleaning, cooking, emotional turmoil, and finally relying on your in-laws to bring you food and money to bail your family out. You weren't even in love with my father; so you didn't even have the comfort of being with some one you really loved. You had only married this fling you had because you had no real alternative. You must have been so completely miserable.

And you had never, ever even been nurtured, by mother or father; somehow you tried to nurture us, in this chaotic home, and take care of us. And while doing that, you turned to the oldest addiction of all, in trying to comfort yourself, and numb out from all the pain; the addiction you had struggled with all of your life: food.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I still love you, and respect you, and I'm sorry, sorry, sorry for all the immense pain and suffering you've had in your life. You're still unhappy, you're still miserable, and I understand a little bit now as to why.

Love,

your second born daughter

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