No matter how badly you hurt me, I still can’t seem to forget you.
It’s been six years and three months since I heard your voice. It feels like a lifetime ago. My heart still has a gaping hole in it from your absence.
You missed so much of my life. My son is 7 now, you missed every stage of the infant, toddler, and preschool years. I recently married a wonderful man, a man you have never even met. I went back to work and moved into a new home, none of which I ever got to tell you about. So many days and years lost between us.
But no matter how badly you hurt me, I still can’t seem to forget you.
While nothing can compare to the close relationship I have with my mom, you were more than just my stepmother, you were my other mother. Ever since the day my dad introduced us, we had an immediate connection.
Do you even remember all of the things we did together? We shared a passion for many things; empowering women, protecting animals, city life, and a love of fashion and beautiful handbags. We had so many good times. Our special lunches, Central Park with our family dog, the shopping trips, the weekends at your beach house, all my different New York City apartments that you always helped me move into, even that infamous five-floor walk up at my first apartment, but best of all were the moments curled up on the couch together, watching silly shows, talking and just being with you.
Do you ever miss those things? I do.
We went through so much together, and when my dad died, I was so young, just two months after my college graduation. We were both there that night, right by his side when he passed away, both of us frozen in our unspeakable grief and shock. I thought we were connected for life.
A few years later when you got re-married I was so honored to be the maid of honor at your wedding. The night before you got married you told me that you had told your fiancé that if he marries you then he gets me too, that we had been through an incredible ordeal together and that I was your family. Do you even remember that?
A few years later I was engaged and pregnant with my first child and you were so excited to be a grandma. I remember how we spoke about how it was a beautiful but stressful time, as my then-fiancé was finishing graduate school in a few weeks and we felt tremendous pressure for him to find a good job as we were starting our family. When he went to work for your husband we really appreciated the job offer at his company. It was an exciting new start. Do you remember how great he was at that job when he first started? It was all going so well. And then a few months later when my beautiful son was born, you were there to see him. I was so excited for you to be his grandmother.
And then it all fell apart.
When my fiancé and your husband’s business relationship went sour, I was worried. I was worried about how it would affect us. I was worried our relationship would suffer. I could tell that your husband was starting to get alarmed about my fiancé’s short temper. I knew my fiancé was becoming explosive and quick to anger and I was very concerned as well. He went from being the new darling of your husband’s office to storming out in a rage. I was scared. I was trying to figure out what to do. I was watching a man unravel before my eyes and I knew I needed to leave, cancel the wedding plans, I would never raise a child around that behavior, but I was still terrified. I felt like this man who was supposed to be my husband turned out to be a monster.
After he left that job he spiraled down even more, he was having a psychotic breakdown. This psychotic breakdown then culminated into him threatening your husband that one fateful night. I felt awful and crushed when I heard about this, but we both know that I had already left him by the time he did this. I was trying to rebuild my life; I wasn’t his ally or his defender. However, the damage from that conversation between them was irreparable.
Then I got that email from you, the email that changed my life. You told me how he threatened your husband and then you said those painful words “Do not have ANY contact with me, no calls, no texts, and no emails. NOTHING.” That was the last time I ever heard from you.
I understand you were angry over what was happening and needed a few weeks for things to calm down. But you acted as if I was to blame because I had brought him into your life. You seemed to forget that I was being mistreated as well and had just left my now ex-fiancé and had a newborn baby. I needed you so badly then, but you were gone.
The sudden and unexpected nature of you disowning me was surreal and I couldn’t process what was happening. I thought as time went on that you would miss not having me in your life, that you would want to talk to me and resolve things, but that never happened. I used to constantly scan my phone to see if your number was listed as a missed call. But it never was.
For the next four years I went through the greatest transformation period. I raised my beautiful son on my own, moved into our new home, found a great job, and met my now husband, but you were never far from my mind. For a long time I was in shock that you never called me again. Then that shock turned to rage. I wrote you that letter and shared how you had broken my heart. Did you even read it?
I will never know what prompted this permanent reaction. If it was your husband who forced you to cut ties, how could you agree to that? I was your only daughter.
I accept that you won’t be in my life again, but what I will never be able to accept is how you could close your heart so tightly to me. How can you say I am your daughter for life and then run away when things got difficult?
Part of me wants to hate you, but no matter how much you broke my heart, I still love you for who you were to me when I was growing up.
Alexis Lavelle is a pseudonym for a women living on the East Coast. Alexis is a mother, writer and advocate for victims of domestic violence.