I Love You Too...

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When I got home, my mom was sitting at the kitchen table, her laptop open and papers scattered around her. After my chat with Dr. White, I knew that in order for me to heal and move past this, I needed to get everything out in the open. 

When I pulled out a chair across from her, she raised her eyes from the screen and gave me a smile, "Hey, honey." 

"Hey, mom. Can we talk?" I tried to keep my voice light, but my nervousness was making it difficult. 

"Of course." Sensing that this was a serious talk, mom shut her laptop and gave me her full attention after pushing her papers to the side in an organized pile. 

I bite my lip and try to think of the best way to approach the topic. I know that bringing up River could have an explosive reaction, but that's a risk I have to take. "Mom...."

"Annie, you're making me nervous."

I take a deep breath and meet my mom's expectant eyes, "I'm just going to come right out and say this, okay?" 

"Okay." I could see that she was fearing the worst. 

"Do you blame me for River's death?" The words rush out of my mouth and I see my mom flinch at the question, her eyes widening and her mouth dropping to an "o". She blinks a few times, as if she's confused by the question or thinks that she misheard me.

"Annie, why would you ask me that?" She sounds hurt that I could even consider the thought. 

"Because I blamed myself for a really long time, mom. I blamed myself for not keeping my eyes on the road, even for those brief few seconds. I blamed myself for River leaving us and then I blamed myself for the fact that we couldn't go on as a family afterwards. When you and dad separated, I blamed myself for that too because I thought it was because of River not being here anymore. I blamed myself for everything." I fight back the tears, needing to get through this without breaking down. "And...and because you told me it was my fault when you were clearing out his room."

"Annie, no. None of that is your fault. It was an accident, it wasn't your fault." She rises from her seat and comes around the table, wrapping her arms around me so tightly that it's like she squeezes the tears out of me. I don't know how long we sit there like that, both of us crying over everything that has happened in the past year, but I don't dare move away. It's been so long since I've hugged my mom, and I want it to last as long as possible.

When we pull apart she wipes the tears from my face. "I had no idea you felt that way. I'm so sorry for being such a terrible mother. I was so lost in my own grief and problems with your dad, that I wasn't there for you. I went through a weak period where I drank myself to sleep every night, and I was out of my mind when I told you it was your fault. That's no excuse, but I didn't mean it, Annie. I was angry at life and God, but not you, I'm sorry I took my anger out on you."

 I pull her back in for another hug and she continues to mumble apologies into my ear. We all have shit to work through, and staying angry at my mom and holding grudges isn't going to help either of us figure things out.  I lost my brother, but she lost a son and then her husband. I can understand why she fell apart, she didn't handle it the best, but she seems to be getting it together now and that's what's important. 

We end up moving this cry fest to the living room and curling up on the couch with a pizza while we talk more - mostly about what I've been going through the past year. I tell her about how I stopped cheering and hanging out with my friends as a form of punishment, and my therapy sessions. I told her about the blog and Ian. 

Since we haven't had the best relationship this past year, my mom had no idea that I had a boyfriend. I spent over an hour telling her about Ian - how we met, how we became friends, how he helped me through some tough times, how we became a couple, and how we broke up. 

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