An Open Letter to My Mum


you were there for me when i was eleven months, taking my first steps.

you were there for me at the age of three, teaching me how to use a spoon to self feed.

you were there for me at the age of seven, pushing me on the swing as high as i wanted.

at the age of eleven, you were there for me, watching Dad’s life support being counted down. he was webbed with tubes screaming for life again. you stood there next to me in the cold hospital room, with a deafening silence, every tear down your face begging him to just fucking do something. anything.

you were there for me, at the age of eleven – disregarding the fact that the love of your life just died – to reassure me and my four sisters, that everything would be ok.

then things started to change.

at the age of thirteen, you’d come home early hours of the morning, vomiting your guts out over the toilet. i’d only watch you with disgust, thinking i’d have to clean your mess soon and be the one to make sure my sisters were taken care of.

at the age of fifteen, i got annoyed meeting the guys you were seeing because with all due respect, they were total douches who were always involved in some sort of crime. and you knew that.

my heart would sink every time you’d encourage my younger sisters to spend time with him. i didn’t want them looking up to, and using the-piece-of-shit-of-your-boyfriend to fill the void Dad had left.

at the age of seventeen, things seemed to be ok like you said it would. until you’d relapsed back into your dark, vexatious habits.

now at the age of nineteen, i think i finally understand.

Dearest Mother,

Thank you for being there for 11-year-old me. I understand now, how hard it must’ve been for you to deal with the realisation of losing your husband – the father to all five of your children. How hard it was to sort the funeral services by yourself because I was still so young, didnt know what the fuck was going on, was uninterested and didn’t want to confront myself with the fact that Dad was gone. And gone for good.

Thank you for coming back those mornings after drinking – for not abandoning us in this hell of a situation. I understand now that you needed time away from home and probably away from the bad headspace you must’ve been in. You’ve come a long way now which is a beautiful sight. It gives me excitement as to what I can do and can be.

You nurtured me the way you did, which demonstrated how, and gave me the ability to look after my sisters while you were sorting out ‘adult stuff.’ You taught me how to walk and guided me, and because of that, I was able to get through shit without having to rely on others too much.

I see now, that maybe you needed those son-of-a-gun-boyfriends to help you along. In what way? I do not know. But I understand that your boyfriends were all different and polar opposites to Dad, as you weren’t trying to replace him. You weren’t trying to fill the void of losing Dad – you just needed someone who might understand.

You were always there for me; standing behind me and pushing me an inch higher each time. Standing behind me ready to catch me if I fell. I’m sorry I didn’t know how to do the same for you. Instead of trying to uplift you, I just stood back and watched.

You are a gem in my life whom I look up to. You are a strong, determined woman who has been through a fuck-tonne of shit. Yet, still a loving person who played both parental roles as best they could at that time. I am sorry I did not realise this sooner. I’ve only began confronting myself now.

Take care and see you soon.