Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Remember Mamma :Part I

I posted this three or four years ago but in the spirit of Mother's Day I wish to re post it. I still think of her often as well as my father. I wish she were here...I wouldn't try to fix her, all I would do is love her as best as I could.

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

I Remember Mama Part II

The best gift I ever recieved from my Mama came to me in the form of a letter, shortly after she was released from jail. Even today, after all these many years, I still get some measure of comfort and peace each time I read it. The letter is dated December 29th, 1979.

My Dear Daughter...I'm writing you to say I'm sorry and to ask forgiveness for all I've said & done. Not only to you but to myself.

You see, Mama just got out of prison. Yes, prison. In Point-a-La-Hache I was drunk and they kept me there for 15 days, when I took real sick with my heart and they brought me to Chairty Hospital late that night. But for the 15 days that I was there I'm proud to say, I REALLY found Jesus!

These ladies came on the first Saturday I was there and they saw me crying and asked me if I would like to be saved and I said yes. You see, I only thought I was saved before that day in jail. I wasn't only sick in my body, but I was sick in my soul.

They wouldn't let the ladies in my cell but there was a hole in the door where they passed the food to me- about 6 inches high and 12 inches long and Mrs. Logan and I prayed for a long time and I have never felt so good in my life as I did that day.

I can only say, I did find peace and contentment in that cold cell that day. But after that it wasn't nearly as hard for me as it had been and I praise God for saving me, even though it had to be in prision.

Maybe that is what it took for me to realize the true me. At first I felt ashamed, but not anymore. I plan on going back to church next Sunday and continue to serve my Lord as He would want me too. I don't have any fine clothes, but that's ok too.

I'm just proud, you'll never know, that I can truly say I'm saved and I KNOW God has a place in His house for me.

...Love all of you, Mama

I am so very thankful for all that God has blessed my life with...

... Including the hope of seeing my Mama in heaven some day...clean, sober and at peace...finally.

**PS: And Mama...if your listening...I forgive you...I really do, and I hope you forgive me too**
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Blessings,Debrafree avatars


Anonymous said...

Your thoughts and feelings are precious - thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes my dear friend, no words are necessary. So.... (((hugs)))

Pat said...

I know that this post, written in painful honesty will be used to the Glory of God!
One sweet day, when you too are home with the Lord, that relationship will be whole. What a glorious day that will be!!! God is so merciful!

Sonja said...

What a beautiful and compassionate heart you have Debra. The sharing of this story brought tears, for both you and your dear mama.

No wonder God has placed you where you are. Your heart is FOR the people you are dealing with, and it is backed by the experience of your own life. He never wastes anything in our lives, does He?

What really brought tears was her letter to you. She is there, and she is waiting for the day she sees you again. It's a story with a beautiful ending.


forsythia said...

A sad, but sweet, story. May Light Perpetual shine upon her.

Finding Pam said...

Debra, a very tough read, but I do understand. Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day.

I am glad your moma was saved.

Deborah Ann said...

Debra...I struggled with alcohol for a time too. I was self-medicating. Saved...but never felt that way.

Please know that your Mom (from what I read in her letter) found Jesus. And like she said...maybe it took that time in jail to do that. So many hurting people in the many.

I wish she had seen what a treasure she had in you. But even if she didn't...God did.

I pray to God I will meet you some day...on this side. Something about your picture and your blog, I feel a soul connection. I feel in my spirit that God is showering His love on you, and He will make up for the love that you missed in this world.

You are loved...Please know that. You are so loved...

Jen said...

I love you Mama...Jen

AngelMc said...

Oh Debra, My heart hurt for you when I read these posts. We all never get over losing our mothers. I remember my Mama telling me that she never got over losing her mother, she said that she always felt like there was something missing after my grandmother died. I really understand that now. My comfort is now that I know when I die, Mama will be there waiting for me,reaching out to me as I cross over.

Travis Cody said...

To help others, and to live a kind and considerate life...that's a pretty fine legacy for you in response to the difficult life your mother led.

Maxine said...

Oh, Debra, this was difficult to read, but I was so thankful for the Part II. I'm sure much good is resulting from the many tragedies in your mom's life. Thank the Lord that He is a forgiving God. We all need it in one way or another.

Toyin O. said...

This such a touching story, what a wonderful tribute to your mum, have a wonderful Mother's day.

Mimi said...

That is a great post and such a fond recollection of your MOMMA!!!
Happy Mother's Day to you
many hugs to you,

Anonymous said...

What a perfect post for this time around Mother's Day.

Grayquill said...

Heartbreaking - sad and a lot of pain. It is a nice thought you will some day see her whole.
Good post - Thank for sharing it. Very touching.