Dear Mama

dear mama,

I lived a fairly charmed life til I was about 14 years old. My mother had battled mental health before I could even comprehend what it even meant. I have a faint memory of going to family therapy. I must’ve been 14 and my mom had just suffered a psychotic break and was hospitalized. I can’t recall exactly what the group therapy was discussing but I remember something triggered me, me crying frantically , my dad rushed me and my siblings out and we never went back. As her addiction overthrew, the mom I knew, a divorce was right around the corner. For years! YEARS! The ages of 15-29 I was extremely angry with my mother. I had so much resentment. I couldn’t understand how she just gave up on us. All of us. How she couldn’t get her stuff together to be there for me as a young woman navigating life, through college, my engagement, my wedding, my pregnancy. I was so upset.
As I evolved and coped with a lot of family trauma, it was as if god had spoke to me and unveiled the scales from my eyes to see my mother clearly.
My mom is a child of immigrants. She was born in Southern California and had a 6th grade education. She picked fruit. MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER who didn’t, in her wildest dreams foresee this beautiful life ahead of her, did what she had to do like many immigrants do to get by. When she met my father she already had my brother and sister. They were together for years. They vacationed. The were best friends.
I don’t know the story thoroughly but my dad was a real life prince who swept his bride to-be away from a toxic marriage, moved her to a safe city in Texas and gave her a new life. Like a god damn movie! For a very long time I kept my distance from my mother post divorce. We went through A LOT! In that beautiful home my dad built for her in Mont Belvieu. I saw too much. I felt pain and loneliness that led me to believe she was a terrible person who didn’t deserve to be in my life. How ugly is that? There was no strong presence of faith in my life back then and my words and behavior towards her proved that. Instead of empathy and understanding and seeing my mom as a person vs. motherly expectations I retreated miles away and never picked up the phone. I forgot for so long how much of my mother was in me. I neglected the fact that so many things that I love like fashion, music, dancing and family traditions I hold dearly are because of my mother.
When my father god injured and had three major back surgeries my mom had no choice but to buck up. Get her GED and hustle to provide for her family. The once upon of time housewife made miracles for the next two years while my dad invested his money. That woman woke up at 5am every day, cooked cleaned, studied, helped my dad walk again (which is a miracle in itself), she shuttled us to school and dance practice and cheer practice and church every Sunday. And when my extra curricular activities needed uniforms she busted that sewing machine out, drove us to Harwin to buy fabric and made extra money on the side. SHE DID THAT SHIT! She held it down. She continued to work even though she didn’t have to after my dad got situated. She hustled and me seeing that hustle is what drives me! How could I have ever hated her for being at a low in her life? I couldn’t! She’s human! An amazing human at that. When I started high school I started to realize how good she had it. She would bring me to the Escada store where they served me a coke and I sat down as she shopped. She turned her closet into a meditation room for yoga. She would blast The Fugees and Groove Theory and let me talk her ear off in the kitchen as she made me a snack while I was waiting for her to finish dinner. I’M her! She’s in me. My hustle, my love for life, my “let’s not think let’s just do” attitude was inherited by her.
It took me a lot of therapy to forgive her. I have since apologized to my mom for holding grudges against her. For being disrespectful at times and spewing venom at her when it reality I was mad at the addiction that overthrew her, NOT HER! Addiction is not a conscious choice. My mother went through a lot as a child and a young woman. She dealt with it the best she could. I admire her and her strength and just pure honesty of who she is. Her energy is infectious and she’s so full of life. Pre-Covid when I would entertain I would find myself dressed to the nines, playing music, making sure everyone is getting seconds and that their liquor is FULL 😂.
If you have someone in your life that is suffering from addiction or battling mental health issues; see them for who they are. Put yourself and your hurt emotions aside. They’re in pain. When god sends us to do his work is not always glorious. It’s not always in the light doing the flashy acts of kindness. Some times it requires you being hurt by someone you love. Sometimes you’ll hear words that hurt your heart. Maybe you’ll be on the other side of someone’s punching. You have to see people the way god sees them. As human. As a person who is hurting. Someone who is going through things we can’t even phathom. Are they hurting you in the moment? For years? Of course. But one day you’ll be apart of their healing journey. I’ll reflect on decisions and behaviors they’re not so proud of and that pain inflicted on you with develop into that persons growth. They’ll take a step back and see their mistakes, how you were graceful and empathetic and try to emulate that going forward.
Healing is a process. We have good days . Bad days and every lingering triggers. Do I wish I had the cookie cutter mother figure? Am I envious when I read a long captioned heartfelt story on social media? 100% BUT! I am thankful I have a mother alive and on this earth. I’m grateful she is loving herself enough to keep her head up and push forward with her life even if things didn’t work out the way she hoped. We all have imperfections. We will not always be on the righteous side of life. Sometimes life will throw us a curve ball and it’ll take days, months, years to get back on track. God always forgives. Without question and now that I’ve had God back in my life I’m able to recognize the enemy’s work in another person. I realize there’s no need to blame, take things person or take hurtful words to heart because THAT person is hurting. You have to forgive. Forgive for you. And remember that we’re all people who begin with good intentions.

Kristin Coronado