Today would have been my moms 62nd birthday.
I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since she left this earth.
My mom was a great and amazing mom, for a solid 14 years of my life. Then around that time addiction took over.
My mom was an alcoholic.
This is extremely intense for me to write. It’s hard to admit the faults in someone after they pass. It almost feels like I’m shaming her. But it’s my truth. I was raised to believe that if you tell your truth, then you can’t truly be faulted for it. I hate the thought of hurting my mom, her family or her friends (which is not my intention, and the fear of this is why it’s been so hard to write). But at the same time, this is a big part of me. This is something that really made me… me.
When I was about 14, my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she started slipping pretty fast. I remember for a time her memory issues would go in and out…but then I remember the day that Grandma couldn’t remember who my sister was, or my cousin.
This process was obviously really hard on her children and husband. During this time my mom started drinking, too much. I have always connected the two situations. Even at the age of 14.
Things started slow with my mom. She had always been a “cheap date,” according to my dad. If they would go out to social events she would often times get very drunk, very fast.
At some point the drinking started becoming a nightly thing. Wine was her vice, then later she stopped drinking wine all together and stuck to vodka.
My little family at this time (mom, dad, sister and myself) started getting lost. On the outside everything looked great. But inside we were just dealing with one disaster after another.
Later as an adult, friends would come to me, shocked and surprised to find out my parents were divorcing (this was my Freshman year of college). They had always looked at us as the “perfect family.” Something they had wished, they had.
This was not done intentionally. We didn’t cover anything up for the sake of perfection. We were just living and then cleaning up, and then living and then cleaning up. It was all we knew. It was exhausting.
Several years after my parents divorced and after my husband and I had our first child, my mom got very sick. I remember her calling me crying. She was bleeding a lot and couldn’t remember why. I drove to her house with my 3 month old baby and had to physically force her to the car, to take her to the emergency room. She was scared, but did not want to go to a doctor at all. We waited in the emergency room for hours and hours. 5 to be exact. When they finally called us back, they did a ton of blood work on my mom. The doctor came in the room and asked to speak to me separately. He asked me what was going on. He said her blood alcohol levels were extremely high and he wanted to know if he needed to do some tests on her liver. He truly knew the answer before I even confirmed. When the results came back that her liver was beginning to shut down and that the only way she would survive is if she detoxed now and quit drinking….my mom was pissed. She would not have any of this. She didn’t want to stop. At this point I remember my Grandpa walking in the room. He looked at her and said, “this can’t be an option, the doctor said if you don’t stop, you will have a month to live.” She looked shocked, but still wasn’t having any of it. At this point I was over it. The years of clean up and confusion, the anger. I told her if she didn’t do this, she would never see her new grandson again. That I refused to allow him to be hurt by her. She was mad, but agreed and they carted her upstairs and she stayed there for roughly a week, detoxing.
After this my mom lived in a sober living home. She was there for a year and half. She changed back to the mom I had before. She was loving to her grandson, she was proud of my sister and I, for our accomplishments…. she was our mom. A real mom again. Even if she lived with 20 other women in this big crazy house in North Park. When it was time for her to move on, she ended up moving in with another sober roommate. She got a job and started living. She was lonely often, but hid it well.
Then, I lost Taylor (story of my pregnancy loss). Everything started slowly happening again. Those close to her immediately knew something was up. But she always had a great excuse, to throw us for a loop. This went on for almost a year. I was pregnant for my third time now and I remember calling her directly after my amniocentesis, letting her know that we were having a boy and he was strong and healthy. I actually was calling her as we were just setting off for a road trip, to visit friends and family. She was relieved and excited to know that her new grandson was doing great. We said our “I love you’s”.
That was the last time I ever spoke to my mom.
The final couple days remaining of our trip, I received a phone call from the Coroner. My moms roommate had found my mother dead in their apartment. She was gone. I never got to say good bye. The fact that I was in Texas at the moment, also made it so I never got to see her body. I was in a constant battle of doubt. How can you just put your faith in to some stranger, that your mom really was gone?
It literally is still something that haunts me. I know she has passed, I had her ashes for awhile to prove it…. but there is still that feeling. Then on days like this, her 62nd birthday, I almost picture her walking through the front door, with some elaborate story about where she has been for the last 7 years. We will laugh, cry, hug and be then be okay.
I know this isn’t really going to happen. I pray one day I can finally just feel closure, but until then, this is my truth.
My mom and I