Cheri Speak

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Letter to a Ghost


I once told you that you couldn’t enjoy and appreciate the present if you were stuck in the past. I actually put it in a frame to remind you. I should have practiced what I preached. I should have found a way to let go of the past, at least while I was struggling to let go of you.

I battle with the memory of my impatience and anger. The sorrow I feel in knowing I could have been better often catches me unaware and can become so overwhelming I have to step aside or walk away just to compose myself. I could have and shouldForgive have been better! Why couldn’t I accept the things I could not change? Why couldn’t I let the hurt and disapproval dissolve enough to make sure you knew how much I loved you and how important you were to me?

It’s been a year and a half now and I haven’t been able to move forward and away from regrets. Did you hear me when I said, “I forgive you”? Did you feel the love I struggled so much to show in my disillusionment and denial? Did the gentleness of my touch and the softness in my voice convey how much I needed you and would miss you in this life? Did you feel my arms around you when you took that final breath?

As I felt your anguish end and peace finally envelop you I never felt more alone. I had never felt such pain as I did in that moment. As much as you needed my forgiveness I too needed to hear you forgive me, but we ran out of time.

I’m haunted and as I sit here writing this  letter to a ghost I have to wonder are you the ghost or is the ghost my own sub-conscience? I’m really sorry Mom. I love you and owe you so much.  Please forgive me?



23 comments on “Letter to a Ghost

  1. tfaswift
    December 5, 2012

    Hello Cheri, your letter is incredibly touching. I’m so sorry for the feelings expressed within this letter, and I can see that it must have been very difficult to write. But since you said on my blog that you “needed” to do it, then I’m glad for you. I know when I wrote the letter to my grandmother, I sobbed for hours, but I was also glad that I did it. It game me some closure. I hope your letter has given you some closure too. Hindsight is always 20-20. In the moment, at the time, we’re usually doing the best we can under the circumstances.

    Thank you for participating in my challenge and for writing such a poignant and beautiful letter. Now you’ve made me think about my own mother! 🙂 That’s a good thing …


    • C. R.
      December 6, 2012

      Thank you so much. I apologize I am only now responding to your comments, somehow I didn’t see it ’til now. Yes, this was an experience I was wholly unprepared for and the result unexpected so I thank you for presenting the challenge so that I could participate with you and your readers as well as in the process of healing.


  2. ghazmat
    December 5, 2012

    That is a really beautiful letter and very honest and open. I’m sorry for your sadness. I hope you dont mind my opinion but I do believe that mothers will always forgive and you can hopefully have some peace in your heart.


    • C. R.
      December 5, 2012

      Thank you very much. It was really a long horrible death for her, and for me. I miss her; good, bad, and ugly.


  3. travellerev
    December 5, 2012

    Dear Cheri,

    I had to cut all contact with my dysfunctional family after about 50 years of trying so hard to be part of it. I heard two years ago my mother had died. I was lucky to have people and therapists who allowed my to make my peace and grief during the years preceding my mothers death instead of being confronted with all that pain after her death.

    I think that writing letters like this is a great way to get to your pain but you will still have to really grief and that means to cry for the fact that you will never have your mothers forgiveness or that you will never hear her say it. It means that you will have to grief, cry and feel the desperation of all those missed chances but also the cheer impossibility it seems of your mother to communicate with you on the level you needed her. the only way out is through it as they say.

    I don’t miss my mother. The wound is clean and healed. I see so much of her in myself and I have peace with that too. She was awesome, a survivor, intelligent and the product of her hideous family as well as WWII. She had a love for food, for books, for life and I inherited her unstoppable spirit but to this day I also suffer her aggression, her using me as the place for her “bad” feelings.

    All this has become me and I am at peace with that. You will too one day. Cry, live and move forward unstoppably with all you’ve got, you have to!


  4. PB Goodfriend
    December 6, 2012

    Sincerely moving, Cheri. I want to take ghazmat’s comment a little further, and tell you that, for me, when I remember my mother, when I picture her in my mind, I hold her loving, forgiving and understanding the choices I have made, because where she is does not allow the judgement and fear with which she was too well versed in life.


    • C. R.
      December 6, 2012

      Thank you Perry. When I saw the “blog challenge” I had no idea I would write what I did before I did so. I simply thought it was an interesting idea. It was wrenching to write, but cathartic as well and the first time I have ever shared something so personal and private with a “reader”.


      • PB Goodfriend
        December 11, 2012

        Between this and your OEN piece, today, I’d say you do “honest feelings” very well.


      • C. R.
        December 11, 2012

        Thanks! I have discovered over the years it is my strength, that and using my words to make people “feel” something good, bad, or ugly.


  5. tfaswift
    December 8, 2012

    Dear Cheri, I know I’m leaving feedback on the same post again, but I just noticed how much feedback it has received from others, and that they were also obviously moved by your beautiful and poignant letter. I’m really glad that it has managed to touch other people’s hearts. 🙂


    • C. R.
      December 8, 2012

      Thank you very much! Yes my daughter called me up sobbing from the bathroom at work when she read it. It actually helped me a bit in writing it.


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  7. barefootlisa
    December 11, 2012

    Dear Cheri, sweet love, what you write here is sobering. A reminder to all of us daughters who hold regrets and need to make amends with our mothers. thank you for speaking your truth. Lisa


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