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A Daughter's Love Letter To A Mother Taken By Suicide
Written By Danielle Cobo
While your body is no longer here, I believe your heart will always be with me. I am writing this love letter to you because I have harbored anger, resentment, and blame for several years. Our past at times has brought us together and has also torn us apart. I no longer want to hold on to these negative emotions towards you, and I want to create a space of healing and love.
I have not let go of some of my childhood memories that, at times, bring me to tears and confusion. My earliest memories were when I was two years old, and my father was coming to pick me up to take me to a baseball game. After he arrived, all I remember was being held over your shoulders as we ran towards the neighbor’s house, and I was crying for my father. I remember my arms wrapped around your leg while I stood behind you and cried for my dad. I remember wanting to be with him and not understanding why I couldn’t see him.
My last childhood memory of my father, when I was four years old, I was sitting in our apartment waiting for him to pick me up. I was wearing my favorite purple huipil dress. I could hear a horn honking outside and I ran to the closet to pack my bags. I knew it was my father, I was confused, however, why I couldn’t see him. It may not seem like much, but since that day my heart remembers that moment whenever I hear a car horn honk outside.
I feel like I had my childhood stolen from me and also from my father. You took me from him and moved us to a completely different town. I remember sitting in a room with a woman asking me questions about my relationship with my dad while I sat on the floor coloring. I believe this was an effort to try and heal the pain you watched me experience as a toddler. The story in my head, throughout my upbringing, was that he abandoned us. But it wasn’t until he found me, 11 years later when I turned 15, that my eyes were opened to another side of the story. The question of whether he abandoned me transformed into sadness, learning that you had, in fact, kidnapped me from him.
On my 23rd birthday, you and I said our goodbyes and spent the next 13 years estranged from each other. I knew you loved me, and you reached out on several occasions to try and mend our relationship. Ultimately, the continued estranged relationship was a combination of my unwillingness to forgive for the past and frustration over your manipulation each time you reached out. I didn’t trust you.
When you attempted suicide the 1st and 2nd time, you were heavy on my heart. I knew my unwillingness to move forward ultimately created a more profound pain inside you, and you believed the only way to stop the pain was to take your life. I was devastated when I heard the news on March 8, 2020, that you committed suicide.
I cannot change the past. What I can do is forgive and take accountability for my contributions towards our estranged relationship. I held onto anger, resentment, and blame since my early teens. My only photo of my dad and me as a child I am choosing to look at our past through a different lens. I am choosing to forgive you and to acknowledge the sacrifices you made to support me.
I don’t know what happened between you and my father, and I may never know.
I choose to respect and love you for your commitment to providing an extraordinary life for us. You were a single mother, working full time, attending college to achieve your bachelor's degree, and raising a 5-year-old, all at the same. In my earlier years, we shopped at thrift stores. As I grew older, you put clothes on layaway until you could afford to take the clothes home. You raised me to be humble and giving by taking me on trips to Mexico to donate food and time to support the orphanages- these are some of my best memories.
In high school, I felt a void in my heart, and I craved love and attention. I thought if I had your same work ethic you would value, celebrate and love me, so I started working full-time at 16 years old. I created a story in my mind that you only saw the negative things in me. As I look through a new lens, I know you wanted the best for me, and school was important. You knew college would set me up for success in life, and earning good grades was the first step.
I watched your journey from a waitress to a Region Manager for a Fortune 500 company in medical sales.
You modeled strength, drive, independence, passion, and perseverance. I followed your exact footsteps and created a successful career in medical sales. I recently discovered that I’ve been living life with a guard protecting my heart. I thought that success would provide me validation.
Deep down inside, I feared being abandoned. I believed that money equaled security. I thought that if I was successful, then I would be happy. Ultimately, I missed out on creating an intimate relationship with you and with others.
If you were alive, I would create space to open both our hearts to heal. Unfortunately, you also experienced abandonment, mental illness, and judgment during your upbringing. Some of our darkest moments together were a result of your bipolar disorder. You tried to find the proper medication to support your well-being, and at times you felt abandoned by me.
Thank you for being my mom and for the sacrifices you made to create an extraordinary life for me. I ask you to be my guiding angel from heaven, surrounding my family and me with love, and to watch your grandsons grow into men. We will reunite in heaven and mend our hearts.
Today, I choose to embrace life’s challenges and make a positive impact on the world. My vision is that by sharing our story, others will heal, and hopefully be able to open their hearts as well.
Your favorite daughter; your only daughter