On Family, On Addiction

This one is bound to be heavy. Just a bit of a warning.

My mother is dying.

Dying. To see it in writing is almost more painful for me than when she looked at me dead straight while we reclined in her bed waching Criminal Minds and announced it as if she was letting me know she wanted to go get tacos.

That is how she does things. She just says them. There is no beating around bushes or skirting issues. No “We should talk” platitudes.

just fact. even on really sensitive issues that fuck with a 14 year olds head. but fact.

She is sick, her body is failing itself. She is an addict, which just speeds the other sickness.

It was just us for the first moments of my life. She was young and alone and pregnant. She might not have always made the best decisions but she made the decisions that she felt were right. She always protected me from the ugly horrible things. From the glaring otherness that has been my place in life.



But she is dying. Lupus is killing her. A pack of cigerettes a day from the time she was 16 and COPD is killing her. Stress of being a single mother. The stress of loving a man that dealt with addiction. Being an alcoholic with a recent bender going on day 9 14. Those are all killing her.

And it scares her. It scares me. I have finally after being angry at her for so long over the details of my childhood. Knowing what I know now, as a mother, I can see (not always agree with but see) why she did what she did.

But I need her still.

I need her to be there for my kids. I need them to know this amazing, strong woman. This woman that created life and held it up and built up her children despite the odds. We just got home. They just started to get to know her.


She has so many stories that I am yet to hear. Maybe she wrote them down. Maybe they are just locked away in her mind. Memories that she hopes die with her. But they are her history. and mine. I need them… I am compelled to know the details because with every detail of her life I have discovered more of myself.

This past 3 weeks has been emotionally exhausting for me. For my siblings. For my father loves my mother more than words. Watching her give up because the pain and because the alcohol makes it hurt less until the alcohol has worn off is slow and agonizing.

She finally agreed to go the hospital. She is now at least not drinking anymore. But her body is still failing.

I remember now why I rarely drink at home. I remember now why I feel uncomfortable when I make “that mom joke” about drinking a bottle of wine. My mom did that. She either doesn’t drink or she does and our life veers off course.

Flaws and everything she is my Momma and I need her. I need her sober. We need her.

Addiction has rewritten so much of my life. Taken away the possibilities and the might have beens for many things. It is something that I wish didn’t exist but does and it shapes so many of our lives.