Dear Mom – A Polished Personal Response

A creative personal response to the short story A Few Notes For Orpheus by Don Bailey. 

Prompt: What do these text(s) suggest to you about the ways in which individuals deal with the uncertainties of the past?

Theme Statement: When faced with uncertainties, an individual will often be required to push these feelings aside in order to properly provide for themselves and their loved ones.

Here’s a link to the short story:

I highly suggest you at least read the beginning if you do not remember what it is about. It starts on page 9 of the PDF, and says 5 at the bottom of the page.

The clouds slowly drift in the deep blue sky out the view in window which is adjourned. Wind chimes are heard whispering in the distance as light streams through the curtains blowing in the wind. Dust particles fall silently and steadily, glimmering through the rays of light as if time has slowed its progression. In the corner of the room, a box is illuminated by the sun with words written at the top in black Sharpie fading, labelled “Dear Mom.

May 21, 1987


Dear Mommy,

Happy Birthday to me! It is my birthday today, I do not think you know so I will tell you. It is my birthday! Surprise! Thank you for being in my life. I could not have chosen a better mommy to be my mom. I love you!


The Best Person In The WHOLE Wide World!

May 21, 1989


Dear Mommy,

Can you guess what day it is today!? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a second to think about it… Do ya know? I’ll tell you! It’s my birthday again! It feels like the same time of year it was during my last birthday. Oh, and I met a boy James in school today who also shares the same birthday and he says his mommy is making him a special dinner to eat with his family. It made me so happy thinking about you cooking something just for me and well I guess Dad can come along too! I think I’m hungry again!

Do ya think you could do the same as James’ mommy today? That would be the best, best, best present ever.


The Most Amazing Person You Will Ever Meet

P.S – I love you!

May 21, 1992


Dear Mommy,

Or should I say Mom? I think I’m a little too old to be saying mommy now. I did just turn twelve today!

I’m sorry I haven’t written as often. Dad says I should take a break from writing to you sometimes but I don’t really know why… Every time he tells me this I begin to feel uncertain (hat’s a big word I’ve learned!) and think about if you want me to write these letters. Do you like reading them?

Oh yes! I’ve been meaning to ask, do you get these letters on time? I always want to mail it as quick as possible, but Dad says the post office won’t mail it because I’m underage. He mails them for me! I guess it doesn’t really matter though, as long as you read my letters. 

You do, right?  Dad says I’m wr


I love you, Mom!


The Child Who Loves You

May 21, 1996


Dear Mom,

I am now sixteen years old. Did you know? I haven’t seen you for awhile so I wouldn’t blame you if you forgot. I feel ashamed but I’m starting to forget the details of your face. I can see your eyes in mine, but the features around it are getting blurry in my mind…

I won’t blame you.

Anyways, Dad says I can see you on my eighteenth birthday. Maybe we can have that dinner together as a family.


Your Child

May 21, 1998


Dear Mom,

Today is… Well, I don’t think you know what day it is so I will tell you.

Today is my eighteenth birthday, and I’m still waiting for you.

Dad said I could see you on my eighteenth, but I didn’t know it would be me looking for you again. For once I thought… Maybe, just maybe, you would find me instead. How pathetic, right? Why would you look for me? You never have.

Do you even read my letters? I always believed you did, I swore by it. That’s why I didn’t let Dad tell me it was a waste of time because you are my mom. You’re supposed to love me. I guess I was delusioned.


Your (Supposed) Child

May 21, 1999


Dear Mom,

I still don’t know why you left and Dad won’t tell me. It is so frustrating, I am no longer a child and don’t need to be protected. Did you leave because of me? Was it me? Tell me, I deserve to know.

The truth isn’t what will hurt me – not knowing already hurts enough.


Alex (Can I even name myself as your son anymore?)

May 21, 2000


Dear Mom,


I need answers, still. Please. I- I…  I need you.




May 21, 2001


Dear Mom,


I’m sorry.





P.S – I know.

May 21, 2003


Dear Mom,


I don’t blame you.



Your Child

May 21, 2007


Dear Mom,

Hello… This is hard. I haven’t written you in five years, so it’s begun to feel foreign to write letters.

I hope you are doing well… Is the weather nice where you are? I hope you are safe.


Oh, yes, it’s my birthday today… Time flies, huh? I feel as if I’m getting old.

I’ve – uh – been sorting out my life and figuring out the meaning of it for me. It has been hard, but I have a lovely spouse who helps me through those really difficult days. I would have invited you to the wedding but I still don’t know how to contact you… Dad wasn’t there either.

When Dad told me the truth about his affair, I didn’t know what to think or feel. It was the truth I wanted but I don’t think I was ready to handle it. I started to feel suffocated and like a hostage… I wanted out, I wanted to be away from my own father. Thankfully, the last I saw of him was a few months ago. I wonder if he thinks about what he has done to us… Lying, cheating, and hiding every letter I wrote to you… He said it was to protect me but I didn’t believe him – and if I’m being completely honest, I still don’t.

He didn’t separate us to protect me but only wanted to protect himself. 

Which brings me to what I really wish to tell you face to face… Hopefully that day comes.

I’m sorry I blamed it all on you.


I’m so, so sorry.




May 21, 2009


Dear Mom,

I decided to find Dad again, after two years. I was always battling uncertainties of whether this was the correct decision, but I have a family I need to protect. I can’t provide them the life they deserve when I don’t have control of my own. Hell, I’ve been uncertain about many things in my life, I think by now I can learn to push these feelings aside. I want to see you, I want you to see the person I married, and… Oh.


Mom, I have a child now. I want you to meet her, she means the world to me. Her name is Cathy.




May 21, 2011


Dear Mom,

I’ve been endlessly searching for where you could be for two years. Do you think I haven’t appeared because you don’t matter to me? I want to make up for the time we have lost, I’ll do anything in my power to make sure you don’t feel lonely. Even if you have a new family, I’ll embrace the new part of you as I know you’ll embrace mine.

It took some time but I’ve realized I want to find you again because I want to save you and not necessarily myself. No mother should ever have to lose their child… I know it must have been a hard decision for you to leave me with him like that. From now on I’ll make sure you never lose me again.

I was always in pain thinking about life without you, and never once considered how you feel. I was too preoccupied with the uncertainties in my own life and was blinding myself from moving forward in the process. Now that I know this, I’m almost certain we will find eachother someday. I will find you, I promise.


See you soon.


Your Child,


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One thought on “Dear Mom – A Polished Personal Response

  1. Elissa,

    (Ha, ha, there’s a Greek mythology reference in the short story text, I love it 😉 )

    What I really liked about this piece was how you showed the progression of the character’s voice as they aged. It started off simplistic and innocent, but as time went on, you could feel the narrator’s innocence draining from their tone. They slowly began to question their mother more and more. You established the theme of uncertainties very well in your writing, by showing how the narrator doubted their mother and wondered if he should even trust her. One thing that stood out to me in particular was how you established the character’s doubt through subtle little things in the letters, such as how he began signing his letters as “from Alex” instead of “love Alex.”

    One thing I would offer for improvement, is to make the writing feel more like a letter than someone simply speaking. The line “I’ve – uh – been sorting out my life” sounds more like someone talking than writing a letter, as when you’re writing a letter, I feel that someone is more likely to leave out little interjections such as the word “uh” when they’re writing.

    Keep up the good work!

    – Genevieve

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