Each evening, as the world quiets down, my thoughts inevitably drift to one person: my mom. It’s been almost three years, three years filled with this silence between us. This isn’t because we argued or fell out, but because I chose a different path from the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith that she holds dear. That choice meant she had to shun me, and our relationship faded into nothingness.
I remember her laughter, the way she’d light up a room, her energy that once kept our family going. She was the foundation of our family. But when I stepped away from our shared faith, it was like a door quickly closed between us. That warmth and closeness, it just vanished.
One of the things I miss the most is sharing my photography with her. Each photo I took – be it a flower, a landscape, or some other simple joy of nature, brought us both such happiness. I often find myself reaching for my phone to share these moments with her, only to remember that she won’t respond. It’s been nearly three years since she last replied, but the habit, the wish to connect over these shared joys, it’s still there.
I don’t hold any anger towards her. To me, she’s not just a mother following her faith’s rules; she’s a victim of them. It’s like she’s trapped, forced to choose her religion over her own son. She truly feels that both of our lives are at stake if she has a relationship or even simple contact with me. I see her more with sadness than with resentment.
Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if she ever changed her mind, if she ever questioned what she’s been taught. But that thought is scary, too. Where would she go? Who would she be outside the community she’s known since a teenager? It’s a complicated thing to even think about.
What really keeps me up at night is the thought of getting that phone call, the one that tells me I’ve lost her for good, without any chance to fix things. That’s my biggest fear. I just want to see her, to hug her, and tell her I love her before time runs out. I often think about her – has she changed? Is she still full of life, or has time started to slow her down?
This whole thing, being apart from my mom because she’s been instructed to shun me is horrible. It reminds me of just how complicated and fragile relationships can be. I’m sharing my story to be vulnerable and to help foster connections with others in similar situations and to remind everyone to hold their loved ones close. There’s a part of me that still hopes, maybe naively, for a day when we can be a family again. Until then, I keep that hope alive in my heart but with a healthy dose of realism mixed in.