On Mother’s Day: A condensed version of Things I would tell my mom…if only I could
That’s me at age 12 at the Kingdom Hall and very depressed (suicidal). Here’s my Mother’s Day dedication:
by Brenda Lee
When I was nine, I tragically lost my mother. Growing up without her was difficult, but those struggles barely register in the scheme of all we’ve lost. If I could give a voice to the hollow canyon of my memory, it would surely echo:
As a teen, I longed to share my hopes and dreams with you, mom, but couldn’t. As an adult, I wanted to ask: “Can you help me pick out my wedding dress?” But there was only silence. When I became a mother, I cradled my infant son and whispered, “I love you,” imagining how it might feel to hear you offer the same glorious gift to me, just one more time.
Yet, there is no grave to visit, no body that rests in peace, for you symbolically died. When I didn’t adopt your new found faith, shunning seemed your only option. And so you shunned me. No calls, no letters, no love.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of you in pictures, frail and wrinkled but full of conviction. I embrace you—alive in my memory, yet untouchable. This Mother’s Day I hope you will feel incredibly proud of the woman—the mother—I’ve become. After all, I am who I am because of you.
Brenda Lee wrote her inspiring memoir Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult (RDR Publishers, 2006) after losing her mother to a divisive religious sect. In 1981 her mother, brother, sister and other relatives were forbidden by Jehovah’s Witnesses to ever speak to her again. That was 28 years ago and she was only eighteen years old at the time. As a result, Brenda has lived her entire adult life without her family.
Through her courageous story, she wants to help others cope with loss and hopes to underscore the devastating effects of intolerance as well as the power of forgiveness. Lee offers free cult seminars in Denver and has been interviewed all over the world. Additionally, this summer she will be one of four cult survivors featured on “The Secret Lives of Women” (WE TV).
For more information about ordering an autographed copy of her book Out of the Cocoon, to receive free cult education, to listen to some of her radio interviews, or to read her complete Mother’s Day dedication, please visit: www.outofthecocoon.net.
“Out of the Cocoon:
A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight
From the Grip of a Religious Cult”