Break the chain

Rebecca - Papillion, Nebraska
Entered on February 9, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change, family
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

A friend of mine once told me that I needed to tell my mother all of the things I was feeling and even though I knew she was right, I also knew that I would never be able to do it. She also had a tumultuous relationship with her mother, and I wouldn’t say that my mom and I hated each other, but over time there were fewer and fewer topics we could discuss without ending up in a bad place. I was a bit of a rebel as a teenager. I suspect she was also, but she never confirmed my suspicion. She didn’t get along with my grandmother either. My mother often avoided talking with my grandmother and seeing their relationship made me feel like I was looking in a three-way mirror.

I am not exactly sure why I had so much trouble communicating with my mother when I was older but I do know that after my father died when I was 24 it became more difficult to talk to mom. It was almost as a third person that I saw my relationship with her deteriorate. It simultaneously deteriorated with her health. In the back of my mind I wonder if I subconsciously distanced myself so that when she died I wouldn’t feel as much pain. The reality is a history that will haunt me to my death. My mom died when I was 31 and the pain is as real today as it was then. The truth is I loved her. People should not lose their parents when they are too young to have worked out the kinks of their relationships. I think often of my friend’s advice and wish I could have communicated more openly with my mother but I realize some destinies cannot be changed. It is with an intertwined sense of fear and hope that I watch my own feisty daughters grow. I wonder if I am stuck in a revolving door, in a history destined to repeat itself and I pray that I can find a way to break the chain.