At Peace with Letting Go: Things They Can’t Say

things they can't say Laura Crawford is a freelance writer, hunter of food trucks, hashtag abuser, and coffee addict who believes that a proper Bloody Mary makes the perfect stand-alone brunch. She loves burying her toes in the warm sand, and nose in a book, though as a momma of 3 that tends to be a special treat. 

You can find more from Laura at, where she writes about the best locally owned eateries, the occasional recipe from her own kitchen, and other ramblings. 

About 14 years ago I moved from Iowa to North Carolina. I did this for a number of reasons, but the readers digest version is that I felt my life falling apart and I wanted, needed, a fresh start. To be in a new place. To not have all the negative in my life that was constantly holding me down.

With $250 in my pocket, clothes, and the things I felt were most important to me in the trunk of my car I headed toward the East Coast. I never said goodbye. I left a note that said I was heading out to make it on my own in life, and when I had succeeded I would be in contact.

That was it.


I found my way to North Carolina, sleeping in rest stops along the way. Before I actually landed in Jacksonville, I worked in exchange for a place to live at a Scottish Inns in the Raleigh-Durham area. (talk about sketchy!) But I did make it on my own. And I got married, and have 3 beautiful children. I wouldn’t say that my start into adulthood was conventional, and I don’t recommend it to any 20 year olds today. I did, however, make it through my journey with my family not knowing anything about when or why, really, I left or where I was going, or if I had made it, or….

And strangely enough the point of my story never really occurred to me until a few weeks ago.

A girlfriend and I were headed to Charlotte for a girls weekend and to do the ROC Race. We’ve been close friends for a few years now, but were enjoying sharing stories from our past. The details of my move from Iowa I had never really dished out before, not in their entirety anyway.

As I finish, she looks at me puzzled and slightly horror stricken and says, “Whoa. Hold up. So you left your home without actually saying goodbye to anyone. You left a basic note. Your apartment abandoned. No one knew where you were going or if you arrived. You didn’t contact anyone for almost 4 months. And your mother, MOTHER, just wrote you off for dead? Nobody called the police? No one alert the authorities you were missing? Are you serious? She just decided you were dead and that was it?”

In 14 years I had never really thought about that. Four months after I had left I finally called back and let my family know I was alive and doing very well. One of the reasons why I left was because of my mother, a relationship that I would later realize would never be salvageable was deteriorating at that current time, but at the time I was still hopeful and a bit naive and made the phone call. When she answered, there was no sigh of relief. She simply said, “oh you’re alive. I assumed you were dead by now”, and I replied with a cheery, “nope! I’m definitely alive!”.

One could assume she was only joking. Maybe just blowing off what was probably a very stressful situation for a mother to make her seem as though she always remained cool and collected, never frantic. Well, she did. Remain cool and collected. Never frantic. As the next few years go by I listened to her side of that story many times, and it always ended with the same line, “I just assumed she was dead. What else was I supposed to think?”

I must had been lost in this thought, or my face was starting to blotch with a bright red, my telltale sign I’m either stressed, having a high blood pressure moment, or about to get very emotional, because my friend snapped me back into reality. “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it like that. I just meant, I don’t care how good that note was written or what my relationship was with my daughter, I would never, EVER, just let her disappear like that without some sort of a fight. Ever! I just can’t imagine….”

My mother is no longer in my life. Time passes. The signs you choose to ignore become unignorable. I eventually reached a point where it was obvious I needed to let go of something that was incredibly toxic in my life. And, every now and then there are these moments, like this one with my dear friend, where I’m reminded of just how dysfunctional the relationship was and why I’m truly at peace with it being over.



  1. says

    Sometimes it is just best to get rid of some people in our lives no matter no matter how close they are supposed to be to us,I have done it a few times and I am so much better off without them.
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  2. says

    What a powerful story. I’m glad you did what was right for your life. Sometimes people think that a biological parent is some sort of demi-god. They’re just people like you and me. They’re good. They’re bad. And sometimes they’re just down right mean. Whether it’s a friend, a relative, or work partner, you can’t keep people like that in your life.
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  3. says

    I can completely relate to your story.  I’ve had to distance myself from several toxic people in my life for my own sanity.  Not everyone understands why I don’t have a relationship with people that I should but they  could never understand how much these people were dragging me down.  It’s difficult, but necessary.
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  4. Pam says

    I can’t imagine just letting my daughter go like that! I’m glad you have made your own life and have found your own way.

  5. says

    It would be hard to just move away like that! Thankfully  I am pretty good at weeding those negative people out of my life, and keeping it that way!

  6. JB says

    Like the first commenter, I too am weaning myself from a friendship that just doesn’t cut it and like Laura, I’m at peace with that!

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing this story. I didn’t skip town, but I did move out and my mom never cared to visit or call me. Ever. I got married a few years later, invited her to the wedding but never got a response. She did know I was pregnant with my first of five – but she never cared enough to stay in my life. 10 years went by and three kids later I finally contacted her. We’re faking our relationship now. I’m still pissed off that I never got an “I’m sorry”. 
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  8. says

    I too have had to totally remove myself from a loved one.  Very very hard to do but once I came to the realization that it was what was causing so much pain – I had no choice.   It has been 13 years and I have to say I do not miss that person in my life.   Do I love them yes in a different way – do I want harm to them no – Do I want to try again NO!  

  9. says

    Cannot begin to imagine not having a relationship with my family … and yet divorced in May after twenty years together, my ex has simply fallen off the face of the earth when it comes to his children – or his family. Guess it is in the make up of some, and not in others … and we can only teach our children to be different.
    Much love to you xxxx
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  10. says

    What a powerful story. A few years ago I made a similar move. I didn’t know it then, but I ended up driving myself into a worse situation. I’ve also had to let go of a parent and a few months ago that parent passed away. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that portion of my life.
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  11. says

    I’m glad to read your story and some of these comments.  I felt like the only person in the world who has had to remove myself from relationship with my mom.  I haven’t found people as understanding as your friend.

    Not that it matters.  The right thing is seldom supported.
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  12. says

    Wow, that was so brave of you! Yeah, like your friend, I would be heartbroken if my daughter did that. However, I too have needed to cut someone out of my life who was toxic. I JUST blogged it too, in fact. I don’t think she (my step-mother) is giving up yet, as much as I wish she would.
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