A letter to my parents

Hi Mum and Dad,

I am hoping that I can write all the things I have been wanting to say but can’t.  I am so grateful that you are both in my life but my mental illnesses do not recognise the true value and specialness of being 47 and still having that.  I try really hard to spend more time with you but the stress and/or depression make that harder than it should be.  I stress at times when I should be experiencing joy and gratitude.   Sadly stress is my predominant emotion, that or depression.

It can not be easy for you being my parents.  I feel like I have failed you by not having children and thereby giving you grandchildren.  You were so amazing with J1 and J2. When J2 died the whole family lost so much more than just her presence in our lives.  I can not believe that 2016 is 9 years since she died.  We lost J1 as well but in a different way.  I was so mad at my brother when he chose not to connect with his son.  I can see why but it was still so unfair to the two of you.  To have a grandson and not be able to connect with them in any way is just cruel.

I feel honoured and respected that you allowed or rather accepted my need to change my first name.  It had family tradition behind it and much as I love my choice of Samantha, I often wish I had legally left Glenis in the name or used the name Conway.  Therefore keeping a different but slightly similar part of tradition.  It has made my life easier but I recognise that it can be a source of sadness for you both.  I hope you understand why I had to do it.

Regarding my wedding.  All through the speeches I wanted to stand up and thank you for everything you did.  But even then I was controlled by crippling anxiety.  Even though it was a room full of people I love and have known for a long time, I couldn’t speak, I was just too stressed.  My wedding day was a nightmare for me I was just so stressed out the entire time.  It may have been noticeable in the intense hug I gave Hubby at the end of our vows and before we walked down the aisle together!

Lately your combined health has not been that great.  Dad, your heart has been troublesome giving us some scares, while Mum you have experienced strokes that have created damage on your brain.  Both your memories have been compromised in various ways but through it all you have been the same supportive loving people you have always been to me.  I know that walking can cause a lot of pain for dad and he is often restricted in what he can do.

I am so glad that B is living in the granny flat and able to offer you practical support. It gives all three of you the chance to have some quality time.  Dad and B used to argue a lot when we were kids, probably me as well.  We were kids and kids rebel against their parents.  It is amazing that I can visit the same home that I grew up in and that B is now living there.  Hubby and I are onto our second home and likely there will be at least once more as I struggle with the stairs in our current home.

I could use your ill health as an excuse for why I have not told you of my problems in the last 2 years or so.  It is in part, but it is also my habit of not wanting to be a burden, added to the shame I can still feel over what has happened to me.  Or even more accurate, the shame I feel that what happened to me is still negatively influencing my life.   It has bought me to my knees and much of what I prided myself on I can no longer do.

You see I invested all of who I was in working because I was too “damaged” and then created maladaptive defense mechanisms for my survival.  Think of it this way, there are too many nuclear weapons so we decide to reduce the stocks and then we hit the problem of how do we do that safely?  My defense mechanisms can be seen as the nuclear arms. Whats more is that they are so woven into every part of who I am, that self destruction is a potential in attempting to dismantle them.

I am on a lot of medications.  In combination, the medications keep me sane and less likely to suicide.   However, between them and my already dulled emotions I am often very numb.  I react in the way that I believe to be accurate or correct because I no longer have the emotional depth to respond naturally.  It makes me frustrated that I can’t be the daughter to you that I know I could be, if I could just get this rewiring of my brain done.

I am so proud of you for reaching 50 years of marriage.  In this day and age it is a rarity.  I often thought that the two of you didn’t really match that well but I now know it is like Hubby and I.  You are stronger together than apart.   Mum is shy and dad is outgoing and it just works for you.  I am so proud to call you my parents, I hope you know that and that I have said it enough for it to stick.

I love you both very much.  I am hoping that I have the time to heal enough to be the daughter that I want and could be.  If not, then I will do my very best to honour the daughter I want to be until I can get to that place.

With love




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