Saturday, July 11, 2009

Love Letter From Mother

I've just discovered a new "internet friend," Abby Lurae and her blog, Taking a Walk Through Abby's World.  Abby's mother vanished from her life when she was 5, and she was reunited with her later in life. This is such a poignant letter that I felt the need to share and hope that many of the children left behind when a mother goes missing, would someday have a letter like this to hold on to.

Abigail Lurae is a published author who has a lot to say and writes from the heart. Her path in life has been a challenging one, but one filled with many valuable lessons along the way. Her inspirational writings are formed from what she personally has learned. Welcome to her world and taking a walk along side of her.

It took me many years to find my biological family because I didn't get to grow up with them from the age of five years and on up. However, since finding them, I'm getting to know and understand more about myself and where I came from.

Awhile back, I had posted this love letter in a writing group I belong to, but I posted it as the beginning of a new story. In all actuality, it is a letter I received from my own birth-mother. Her love for me shines through what she penned and I am honored to be her daughter...

Love Letter from Mother

My Dearest Daughter,

It seems as if you are the only one of my seven children who wants to really know her mother and who can forgive her imperfections. The others have this idealism of what a mother should be, and you have the knowledge of just how human beings are. Did God bless me with an angel without me realizing this way back when? Perhaps so, because you were such a good baby and rarely cried. You were my sunshine on my cloudiest of cloudy days and a wonderful little playmate in your toddler years.

I’m so sorry for the way things turned out and us not being able to grow up together. You see, I was very young when you were born, only a child myself. I didn’t know what it was like to be a, “mother,” in the true terminology of the word- the title bestowed upon a woman once she has given birth, or in my case, a girl who had made a horrible mistake.

Now, I’m not saying you were a mistake- not at all! The mistake I made was to marry your father to try and gain a better life. What a joke that was! Let me explain, however, I don’t think you require an explanation but, I do want to let you know where you come from.

My mother was a wild thing and yes, I suppose I inherited that trait from her. She could never keep a man for very long and always caused us to get kicked out of every house we tried to live in. Do you know she was married a total of ten times before she finally passed away? I’ve done good to not go beyond four.

Anyhow, when we didn’t have a roof over our heads, she discovered that boxcars were a glorious temporary means of housing and travel too! I got to see many cities that way. You may wonder about schooling? Well, my mother brought along a few books and taught me how to read and write, plus taught me math through the money she made along the way. I have my opinions on how she made her money but I will spare you my speculations as they aren’t very nice.

By the time I turned fifteen, I decided I didn’t want to travel anymore with mother and got into an awful fight with her. She hauled off and hit me so hard upside my head, knocking me backwards that I fell out of the opened boxcar door. The train was moving slowly but fast enough to where I received a bad case of, “road-rash,” as they call it now-a-days. Mother wouldn’t allow me to wear jeans or trousers as I had to wear dresses and look like a, “young lady.” Boy! What a sight for a young lady’s appearance too. My dress was torn in places and filthy dirty from rolling on the ground. I had blood and dirt mingled all over my face and the rest of my body. I was a sight to see…

But, there I am, finally standing up after this nasty fall, watching the train gather speed and my mother was standing in the doorway of her home on wheels, leaning out, waving good-bye to me with the smirkiest of smirky grins on her face. I think I could hear her call back, “get a life,” before the train finally disappeared on the horizon.

I didn’t know what to do- my mother abandoned me and I felt so lost and all alone. My head felt like stars were swimming around in it and I couldn‘t see clearly… I don’t know where the strength came from within me but, the next thing I remember after this happening is I’m walking along this old country road.

Your father was driving his old beat up pickup truck and spotted me. He was so kind and took me into town to one of his lady friend’s house. She helped me get all cleaned up and gave me some new clothes to wear. What fancy clothes too! I didn’t know it at the time, but she was a madam of an escort service. Anyway, after my wounds had healed, she began to insist that I pay her back for all of her generous kindness and hospitality, and wanted me to become one of, “her girls.”

I was so shocked after she explained what, “her girls,” did! I didn’t want to do what she wanted me to do so I left with the clothes on my back, then headed for the train station. If I had to live in a boxcar, that was better than living in her house and doing unspeakable things.

It so happened, your father was in town that day and saw me walking. He had taken some bales of cotton to the cotton mill and you had to go past there to get to the train yard. He yelled at me when he recognized me and motioned for me to go over and talk to him. I was crying…

I guess, he took pity on me and had me hang with him all day. By evening, he had gotten me a motel room and paid for a month’s stay. He also gave me some grocery money and took me to the store to get some food. After he left, I was in heaven! I had my own place, my own roof over my head and I felt so independently joyous.

The next morning, he showed up in his old truck and helped me get a job being a server at the local café. Every day, he’d come in and have breakfast and flirt like there was no tomorrow. After my sixteenth birthday, he asked me to marry him and I did…

We lived together in the motel for a couple of months and were fairly happy until the day his father had been struck ill. We had to move into his family’s home so he could be there to help out. Now, mind you, I had never been to his family’s home but I agreed to this change and went there with him.

What a nightmare! Their house was nothing but a shanty with big wide opened gaps between the planks of wood that were the outside frame of the place and it was located right smack dab in the middle of a cotton field! There was no screen or glass on the windows and when it rained, it poured in, not only through them, but the walls as well.

In the winter-time, his mother would take newspaper and fill the gaps in with it and put cardboard in the windows. And at night, even sleeping with five quilts on us, it never kept us warm enough. By spring time, I had my fill of being there and told your dad I would leave him if we didn’t move out! By this time, I was two months pregnant with you.

His mother was also getting down right nasty with me and I couldn’t stand to look at her anymore. She wanted me to get out in the fields with the guys and hitch up the horses to plow the ground for new cotton seeds to be planted, while her daughters sat on their fat keesters all day doing nothing! She knew I was with child and she even went as far as to say, you would either be born a strong baby or you would be weak and die in my womb. Your dad overheard her say this and I was so happy to hear him say, “let’s get out of here.”

We got us an upstairs apartment and not long after that, your father got a job at the local distillery company. It wasn’t long until he started drinking with his friends and come home in a foul mood.

The day before you were born, he knocked me down the flight of stairs that led up to our place. He said it was an accident- I think not, but that is my opinion. Anyway, a few days after you were born, I received word through the newspaper of my mother pulling an armed robbery at a restaurant in Chicago. The police chased her clear into Ohio before she was finally arrested and from what I could find out, she was sentenced to five years in the state prison.

When your father found out that she was my mother, all kinds of trouble started in between us. I left him- he followed, we made up and I became pregnant with your brother. This happened time and time again and by the time you were almost six years old, I was saddled with five other mouths to feed.

You were taken from me at this time and I never got to see you while you were growing up. Of course, when the threat of the other children being taken away from me arose, I ran for dear life with them. But, my eldest daughter, my sunshine, my little helper was no where to be found. You were such a great help to me when you were little- do you know that?

If anyone had a right to judge me, it would be you but you don’t? Why? Why do you not hate me like your siblings do?

I know you spent a great deal of time in trying to find your family- this is something I had prayed for over all of those years. Somewhere along the line, I grew up and am now, who I am.

Thank you my angel for being who you are. You have turned out well and I am so very happy that you want to know this heart that has bled, that has cried and that had been broken when you were taken from me.
I love you dearly.


Anonymous said...

A rail-riding mom who forced her daughter to wear dresses? Some of this sounds like pulp fiction, sorry to say. It's a tribute to Abigail Lurae's strength that she even read this.

Anonymous said...

My mother had been born back in the 1930's and it was "unproper" for young ladies to wear jeans or "trowsers". When she wrote this letter, it was her intention to let me know a little bit about family history on her side, to let me know, she's loved me all through the years and to also let me know where I come from. This I am grateful for, because I grew up through the years of not knowing too much of anything other than what I had been told.

When a child grows up hearing all of the time, "your parents hated you because you were the reason why they had to get married," well... it kind of sets the stage for low self-esteem. However, in later years of discovery and finding out that it wasn't the true fact at all, it has helped me grow and regain more strength. My mother's letter has helped me understand more, why my life had taken on the turn it had... The tribute to my strength, comes from my mother and God- not me. -Abby

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