Every so often, I do something I would not recommend for anyone – I access all the emails my mother and I exchanged in the first year or so after I left and read them through from beginning to end, from the anguished beginning to the bitter end. This morning, I had the urge to do that, but happily managed to resist (for now).
But there are lines she wrote, lines I wrote, that are burned into my memory. I think in horror about some of the things I wrote, some things which served no purpose except lashing out from the midst of my hurt.
I have to remind myself to be kind to the girl who had just read her mother’s email asking “if you’re so convinced this is a permanent decision, should I go ask a rav if I should sit shiva for you?”
I have to remind myself to be kind to that girl and not to judge her too harshly, not to think, “if only I had been humbler, less aggressive, less angry, more accepting of her non-acceptance – maybe I could have saved this relationship.”
I have to accept at some point that no matter how I responded, her willingness to mourn me as if I were dead, simply because I had chosen a different life, was enough of an indication that the relationship with my mother I had so cherished would never be the same again and was unlikely to ever really be salvaged.