Mother's Day musings on messy relationships....
TW: Mentions addiction, toxic relationships, loss of a child, strong language
For some, it means waking up to the sounds of giggles and laughter as young children do their messy best to make and serve breakfast in bed. For others, it’s waking up with that feeling of deep dread – realization that the mom that was with them through every high and low in life can’t be there anymore. And for still others, it’s being torn between loving a mom that doesn’t know how to love you back, and the effort to love yourself enough to establish healthy boundaries.
Throughout my entire life, I had my feet firmly planted in the last category. If you’ve followed me awhile, you’ll know that I wasn’t raised by my parents. I – along with a younger brother and older sister – were with them off and on until they split up when I was five. A year later – after living with our alcoholic single mom in an extremely toxic environment - other family members took us in.
At 17, after more than a year of trying to live on my own and support myself, I made my way to knock on my mom’s door.
Childhood fantasies have a way of crumbling and falling apart when faced with the truth of cold hard reality. This wasn’t the warm, safe and secure home life I’d been hoping for; had dreamed and fantasized about all my life. I would find no ‘rescue’ here.
At the age of 21, I became a mom for the first time to my only daughter. Heartbreakingly, my beautiful flower didn’t have time to bloom, as she passed from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) just before she turned two months old. On the day that she passed, I called my mom from the hospital at 6am to let her know I had just lost my daughter – her granddaughter - and that I was on my way over. When I arrived, she was sitting at the kitchen table, her shock and disbelief a mirror to my own inner turmoil of emotions.
The table was covered with overflowing ashtrays, cigarette butts, puddles of sticky booze, and half-empty bottles ~ leftovers from pre-Christmas celebrations that night before. As I sat down, my mom reached for the nearest bottle of wine, holding it up to the light to check for floating cigarette butts.
“Please don’t,” I said. “Not today.” “I have to,” she said, and proceeded to drink the day away.
I went and curled up on the livingroom floor in the fetal position, willing the numbness to set in, and layed like that for hours. I was married to my daughter’s father at the time, but he was as unprepared and devastated as I was and couldn’t support me through his own grief.