Sunday, November 16, 2008

Remembering Mama: Part I

She would have been 80 this month, my Mama. She passed away at the very young age of 58. She was just three years older than I am right now. The many years of alcohol and prescription drug abuse had finally taken their toll.

I've thought a lot about her this month. Some fond thoughts... mostly painful. In some ways, I still feel responsible. I wished I could have fixed her. I wished I could have rescued her from the desire to self destruct. I'm still trying...everyday that I come to work and detox another patient, I am hopeful that I have helped one more person break free from the clutches of this sickness called addiction. A sickness that encompasses mind, body, soul and spirit. I did not plan this career,it just, somewhere along the way, became my calling, what I was born and destined to do. Who knows what I might have become, had it not been for my Mama.

She and Daddy had divorced in 1971. She moved back to New Orleans and we stayed in Mississippi with my Dad. I would be married and gone just 2 months after the divorce, leaving behind my younger sister and brother ages 15 and 10.

The years immediately preceding her death were some of her rockiest. Drifting from place to place, in and out of psych hospitals, detox units and jails (for public drunk)anywhere between the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Despite any efforts made by myself or siblings to help her obtain housing, food, money...she would eventually become restless, find someone to drink with and take off again.. As one could expect, this cycle strained what little we had left of a relationship. There came a time, when I gave up, but in my heart I never stopped hoping and praying she would get better.

Back in New Orleans again, Mama had been living with her sister for about a year when I got the call. December 23, 1986. We had not even been told she was in the hospital, but then again she was in and out so often. Mama was gone. Her heart had become enlarged due to the years of drinking, we were told she died of congestive heart failure.

She was alone. She died alone in a hospital room in New Orleans. I cannot tell you how that grieves me, but no amount of grieving can change the fact. It still hurts my heart to think about it. No one deserves to die alone. No one.

I loved her, she loved me as best she knew how. She, as a mother, made mistakes ...big ones. As a daughter, in hindsight, I did too...big ones.

"The truth is: we never leave grief behind. We never forget. Our loved ones becomes a part of who we are today. And our stories are nestled in our hearts safe and secure in the knowledge that life and love are eternal."Author unknown.

~~But he who sows "in tears shall reap in joy psalm 126:5
~~Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning psalm 30:5

***Note to blogger friends, so sorry this is a rather sad post, but it is cheaper than a therapist.

Blessings of peace and all that is good.


Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Yes sad, but a part of who you are and what made you who you are. I can so relate to wanting to help someone so self destructive, and I too lost him and every day I wonder what else I could have done but he made a choice that I can't change and all I can hope for is he is safe now and happy in the arms of God.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

the disease of addiction affects everyone in the family unit, near and far. our son has failed so many times but at the moment is clean and sober. tomorrow, who knows? it will always be a day to day thing. all we can do is pray. and love them. nothing more.

hugs, bee

Jenn said...

How true it is that as we are younger we make mistakes...think we know right and wrong..but, as we age, we began to see beautiful shades of gray, I love to see gray matched with soft and pretty, I love gray skies in the winter when I am warm and snuggling on the couch, I love to see the gray sky when I'm driving down the road at the beginning of a strong storm...feel the breeze blowing against my face..But mostly, the most beautiful shades of gray are the not so sure things that I once was so sure about...?? crazy, probably...but then it's all about how I will be perceived.

I love you, Jenny