Tag Archives: alcoholism

I Hate Vodka!

I walked into the liquor store and went straight to the checkout counter. The man standing behind the counter asked if he could help me find something. I nodded. I was slightly embarrassed and a little nervous. “I need some really cheap vodka. It’s for my hair,” I quickly stated.  I knew what he was thinking…sure lady it’s for your “hair.” Wink. Wink. I wanted to tell him it REALLY was for my hair. A bunch of us make this awesome recipe with Vodka and essential oils. But I knew he’d think I was just covering for my own addiction. I wanted to tell him how much I hated vodka – that it had killed my mother. It slowly and painfully killed her 5 months ago. But I didn’t. He showed me a few cheap brands. There it was. The one I really hated. The one I had purchased several years ago when mother was still alive. It was the first and last time I had ever bought it for my mother. It was the last time I had ever purchased vodka.

My mind took me back to that painful time…

Out of desperation, I had driven to the liquor store with mother in the car. She had been drinking heavily for a long time and I knew if she didn’t get more alcohol she could die from life threatening alcohol withdrawals. Going against everything I believed in, I drove her to the liquor store and while she sat in my car in a very bad way, for the first time in my life I went in and purchased what she needed…and the very thing that was killing her. I purchased the cheap brand she had asked for. I had never bought my mother vodka before that particular day. I had always refused because in my mind I was contributing to her addiction. I wasn’t going to spend my money on vodka she was slowly killing herself with. I had learned over the years to stop giving her money. It made me angry when she used it for a substance or alcohol. I somehow felt it made me part of her addiction and I tried desperately to separate myself from it. But the truth was I couldn’t separate myself from it and she always found a way to get the things her body and mind desperately craved. At one point, when she was still driving, I thought I was a genius when I had decided instead of giving her money I’d just put gas in her car. But somehow she always managed to outsmart me and still managed to somehow use that gas to get her substances. Walmart cards worked the same way – she’d trade or sell those too. I could never completely separate myself from the darkness.

Earlier, the same day I purchased the vodka for Mother I had found out about more darkness my mother had been living through. The kind of darkness you only see in movies. The kind of darkness that doesn’t happen to those you love. Something bad had happened. Something unbelievable. Something that made my heart hurt whenever I heard of those things happening but it disgusted me and broke my heart that it had happened to my mother. It made me cry and it made me so angry that she kept doing the same things over and over again. Everything was spinning out of control. It was so much worse than in years before and the years before had been excruciating. I didn’t know how to make it stop. I didn’t know how to help. All I could do was limit myself. Protect myself from the toxicity and pain. Powerlessly sitting by and watching the destruction she was creating and causing was paralyzing and heartbreaking. I wanted desperately to make her stop but I couldn’t. The truth was – I was as powerless as she was. She had to want it. She had to do the work. I couldn’t want it for her or do the work for her. Everything was getting worse. All of the ugliness centered around her powerlessness of substances which happened to be vodka at that point in time. Mother had always struggled and always been powerless to drugs and alcohol for as far back as I could remember.  

The day I bought her vodka, I had so much hope. Because of the darkness (I can’t bring myself to share those details), I had brought mother to our home. I was going to save her. I was going to move her closer and protect her from the evil that surrounded her. The evil she was a part of. The evil her addiction was holding her hostage to. My plan was to ration her vodka so she could get sober and I’d find her a clean little apartment and get her help. I told Scott my plan. He agreed. He was in charge of rationing the vodka out to her a little at a time until we had her tapered off of it. It was too heavy for me to give my mother Vodka. I couldn’t emotionally handle it. But Scott could handle it.   It didn’t create the pain for him like it did me. That illusion of saving my mother lasted from a Friday to a Monday.

Everything was going well according to my brilliantly stupid plan, or so I thought. It was Monday evening and I was driving home from Mason’s baseball game when I got the phone call from Derrelyn.  She was laughing hysterically. She said “have you talked to your mother?” We all had a pretty crazy sense of humor. “No, why?” I questioned.   Derrelyn replied “She’s drunk. I just got off the phone with her.” Derrelyn was still laughing. Dang it! I was pissed! She found the vodka Scott hid from her.  I thought he put it in a place where she couldn’t find it. She was so resourceful. I was disappointed. I thought she wanted to get better. Derrelyn was still laughing. She was trying to tell me more but she was laughing so hard. I was so mad! She kept on…“That’s not all.” Oh goodness! What else? She was laughing so hard she could barely talk. Which made me laugh too. She kept on…”she walked around your neighborhood knocking on doors until she found someone to take her to the liquor store.” Derrelyn laughed louder. My heart sank. Holy Cow! I couldn’t believe it. Derrelyn was still laughing. She wasn’t laughing because she thought it was funny. She was laughing because it was so stinking crazy and that’s how we dealt with the crazy. We laughed through the craziness. That’s how we got through it. We inappropriately laugh. How the heck did I think I could just whisk Mother away and save her? I started laughing and my stomach hurt at the same time. I was driving home going from being super mad to laughing in complete disbelief. Poor Madden. He had stayed at home that evening and she was there. Poor us. Scott and I had roots in this town. We knew people. People knew us. Whose door did she knock on? Who took her? Holy Cow! I was embarrassed and mad. Scott was on the School Board and I had previously been on the School Board. I wasn’t going to allow my kids to live through the embarrassment and junk I lived through. I was so mad at her.

I called Scott. He checked on Madden. Madden was okay.

I pulled into the garage and hurried into the house. I found mother. Of course she was totally hammered. There is no reasoning with an intoxicated person. Don’t waste your breathe. I did anyway. It did no good. I did it anyway. I asked in desperation – “Who did you get to take you to the liquor store?” Mother’s drunken slurred reply almost made me laugh “I walked several blocks over, Kandy.” Like somehow that made it okay. Like we might not know the people who lived that far from us. Mother muttered her drunken slurred words that made no sense. I was so stinking mad at her. But mainly my heart hurt. She finally went to bed. But she kept getting up and down going to the bathroom. Each time she’d mutter and almost growl some drunken hateful words showing us her ugliness that the vodka brought to life.

That night, Mason went to his other grandmothers to spend the night. He couldn’t take it. It was scary to be around. Madden and I slept in my room while Scott slept on the couch in the living room that separated where Mother was sleeping from the room his family was sleeping in…as if to protect his family from her craziness.

The next morning, I called work and told them I wouldn’t be there. After Scott, Mason and Madden were all gone to work and school, I went to mother and told her she wasn’t doing this in my house. She wasn’t going to do this to my kids. I told her I couldn’t help her if she wouldn’t help herself. I told her she had two choices. Go to treatment or go back home. She was still mean and hateful as if I was to blame for the current situation. And the truth was…in some way I probably was. She didn’t ask me to drag her to my house and save her. I just decided that’s what needed to happen. We made phone calls. She cried. I got angry. She called Derrelyn and cried and told her how mean I was being. She said I was being really mean to her. I was. I was mad. She needed treatment and I wanted her to make the right decision. But she didn’t. Ultimately she chose to go back to her house. It was a long two hour drive back down to her home. Just she and I. I had knots in my stomach. I was angry at her for once again choosing the alcohol over a better life. I had offered to help her. She refused. I cried the whole way home. My heart hurt. I was disappointed and didn’t get it. But I was also thankful. Thankful I had somehow been saved and that my children hadn’t grown up in a home filled with that junk. I hated taking her back down there but I wasn’t living this way and neither were my kids. I had to protect myself and them. This disease wasn’t stealing any more from me.

Sometimes you have to make a decision to remove people who bring toxicity into your life. I couldn’t completely remove her. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. But I had to limit the time I spent with her. Because I knew if I didn’t I’d turn into something I’d hate. If we’re honest we’ll see that as much pain as those people bring into our lives – we bring pain into theirs as well.  Sometimes it’s better to set boundaries and love from afar.

I hate vodka. For me, it symbolizes the heroin, cocaine, alcohol, prescription pills and all the substances that took my mother from me. I know it’s not really about the vodka but sometimes you just need something to blame and something is better than someone. I hated it for all the ugliness it brought into my life. I know it was really about Mother’s disease and the choices she made or didn’t make. But I hate vodka!

The man said… “Is this the one you want?” I pointed to the other one. The one I didn’t recognize or have a relationship with… “I’ll take that one.” I purchased the Vodka and took it home.  I made the beloved “Sassy Hair.” Stupid Vodka! It isn’t going to control my life anymore. I’ll spray that junk on my hair and wear it like I own it!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!


My scars tell a story


I opened my eyes. Scott was sitting in a chair beside me. Facing me. Where was I? I looked around. I was lying in a dimly lit room in a bed that wasn’t mine. Then I saw the doctor. He stepped around where I could see him. He started explaining…everything looked good. You have a little red irritation so I’m writing a prescription. You won’t need another EGD/Colonoscopy for ten years. However, I would like for you to follow up with a physician at the Liver Transplant Unit. WAIT! Hold up! WHAT???

He repeated. I don’t know what he said after that because my mind got crazy…foggy. Like someone had set off a smoke bomb and things were all smoky and mixed up in my head. Huh? You want me to see a liver specialist? Really? What’s up God? Seriously? I honestly laughed. My mother and father both had substance abuse issues. I had always been scared I would end up just like my mother, so after I had my kids I avoided things that might lead me down that direction. Sure, I did crazy things I wasn’t supposed to in high school and pre-kids. But since then I lived a pretty straight and narrow life. Now, I was the one being told to follow up with a liver specialist. Wow! What a mix-up!

I played along…just in case…but I laughed every time I told someone I was going to see a liver specialist. I know! That’s the crazy part of the sweet. I have a warped sense of humor. I laugh at the craziest things! For instance, one of my favorite movies is – August: Osage County. I laugh almost the whole way through the movie. It’s really a sad dysfunctional movie. Most people turn it off. It’s too crazy for them. But I get it. I understand the craziness. In a weird sort of way, it makes me feel more normal.

I did as the GI doctor instructed and followed up with the liver specialist. I met his nurse first. She was lovely…kind, caring, knowledgeable, compassionate and sweet. Then I met him. He was also kind, caring, knowledgeable, compassionate and humble. I loved them both and I knew I was in the right place. He looked over my information and asked me questions. So I filled him in as best as I could remember…

…about 3 years prior to having the EGD/Colonoscopy, I went to see my primary care physician and explained to him that I thought I might have a brain tumor AND an abdominal aneurysm. He and his nurse are also wonderful. I love them too. His nurse is my friend and she knows my sweet and my crazy. Those are good friends to have – ones who know the good and the bad and still love you. He could have treated me like I was crazy. But he didn’t. He just kindly smiled and asked me why and I gave him my symptoms. Honestly – nurses can be the worst patients. We know just enough to get us in trouble. Sometimes we convince ourselves we have some terrible debilitating disease or diagnosis. He listened and then he ordered some tests. At the follow up appointment, he reported good news – I didn’t have a brain tumor or an abdominal aneurysm. However, they did find a lesion on my liver. Lesion is a scary word. Lesion on my liver – sounded to me like “cancer on my liver.” But it wasn’t. Over the next several weeks, months and couple of years – my doctor ordered more tests to monitor for growth and to determine exactly what it was. The radiologists hadn’t ever thought it was anything to worry about.

The liver specialist listened patiently then took me to the computer and showed me my images and explained them to me the best he could. He told me normally a simple cyst is smooth on all edges but this one had “fingers” on one side. He didn’t think the cyst was anything to worry but he couldn’t be sure which was worrisome. I liked him. He explained things to me in a way I could understand and he took time with me. I appreciated him and knew he was really good. I continued to follow up with him. So every 6 months I would follow up with him and then I’d have more images done to check for differences. I saw him for a year and a half and there were no significant changes. However, those “fingers” were still a concern. We discussed numerous options and concerns. He wasn’t comfortable releasing me just yet. Then he asked me to do something that truly amazed me…he asked me if I’d go to the hospital where I had always had my images done and get the images on a disk. Not the reports that had been interpreted by the other hospital’s radiologists but the images. He was going to have his radiologists review them. As long as they agreed with the previous findings – he thought he would be comfortable releasing me. So that’s what I did. I got the images on disk and took them to him. I liked him! But more importantly I trusted him. I knew he was going above and beyond.

So up until the day the gastroenterologist told me to follow up with the Liver specialist all worry had subsided. The truth was – even when he referred me, I wasn’t ever worried. I had a sense of peace and I thought someone made a huge mistake but whatever – I’d follow up. I called my mother and told her. She had a warped since of humor too. I said can you believe I’M the one going to the transplant unit? Mother had been through interferon treatments because the alcohol had damaged her liver so much. She sounded worried. I made a couple of more jokes and we hung up. I was seeing a liver specialist. Not my mother the addict. But me the one who was too scared to drink much.

A couple of days after dropping off the images I received a phone call from his sweet nurse. She let me know the liver specialist’s radiologists disagreed with the other hospital’s radiologists. The liver specialist wanted to aspirate the cyst and run tests on the fluid. They wanted to specifically check for cancer tumor markers and levels. I still couldn’t fathom that I was seeing a liver specialist. I talked to his nurse for some time. She was always so knowledgeable and I trusted them both. I agreed to the aspiration. Scott took the day off and drove me up there and took great care of me. I knew it would be nothing and didn’t really worry. It was an outpatient procedure. They would call me in a couple of days and let me know everything was fine. At least that’s what I thought.

Then my life changed…in more than one way…

July 23rd 2013 – the worst day of my life. I was a little over 2 hours away from home orienting one of our new registered nurses when I received the devastating phone call from my son telling me my nephew had passed away. I was crushed. Devastated. We all were. My heart hurt, my mind swirled, my thoughts were with my family, his mom, step dad, fiancé, daughter, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and all who loved him. My liver issues were nothing compared to this devastation. I somehow managed to compose myself and get through the orientation before loading up and traveling the two hours back to our office. I had ridden with my boss and another Director that day which was unusual.   They tried to get me to head back right after I got the news but I knew people were counting on me to get the orientation completed. I knew I would need time off for the funeral and to help as best I could…so I shoved my feelings and emotions in a box and put it aside until I could deal with them when I got home. I learned to do that at an early age. It was part of what I had learned from my mother’s addiction. File away hard feelings and deal with them later. I was dying on the inside…I prayed.

We were headed back to the corporate office (and home) when my phone rang again. I expected it to be from my family but as I looked at the number I realized it was from the office of my liver doctor. I answered the phone waiting to hear his nurse’s voice. I was surprised to hear the doctor himself. Up until that day, he had never called me. He said “Kandy, we got the results from the aspiration and your results were extremely high. Extremely high. The cyst needs to come out. We need to know for sure what it is.” What? This couldn’t be happening. My brain couldn’t wrap itself around the two major events I had just been slammed with in only a couple of hours. My sweet 27 year old nephew had passed away. That was devastating. And now I needed liver surgery? Me? I’d never had any surgery in my life and now I was facing a major surgery. I tried to make sense of it. My poor doctor knew nothing of the day’s events that had unfolded earlier. I know I sounded crazy…“okay – when does it need to be done?” I asked. “Can I wait several months?” My head was swirling. Nothing was making any sense. I kept talking…” I just started this exercise program and need to finish it.” My boss, who knew about my liver issues was sitting in the front driver’s seat and as I spoke, I saw his head flip around and he looked at me…several times. He is a kind, intelligent man whom I trust a great deal. I knew I must sound crazy. I explained to the doctor – I’m so sorry, I just found out a couple of hours ago that my nephew passed away. I think the doctor realized I couldn’t comprehend all that was being thrown at me. He asked if I could come in and see him in a couple of days after the funeral. My nephew’s passing was devastating for my family and me.

After the funeral, I went to my appt. He asked me where my husband was. I told him I didn’t bring him. I don’t’ think I still fully understood the enormity of the situation or maybe I was just trying to get through it so I minimized it. He went on to explain his thoughts and recommendations. After speaking with him at great length and consulting several other trusted and knowledgeable people, I decided to have the surgery to remove the cyst. There was a chance it could be or could turn into cancer and I didn’t want to take any chances. So, my very first and only surgery was a liver resection. The left lobe of my liver was removed. You know what’s amazing? Our liver regenerates. So after he removed the left lobe – it grew back. Isn’t that amazing? I also elected to have my gall bladder removed. My doctor prepared me well. He said I’d be in the hospital for about 5-7 days and be off work for 3 months. The surgery went well. I was released from the hospital after 3 nights.  I was back working half days after three weeks. Scott took three weeks off to take care of me and was continuously by my side. He was an amazing caregiver. Much better than me. My sweet friends and family cooked me meals, visited the hospital, checked on me and took excellent care of me. The cyst ended up not being cancerous but he told me there was a very good chance in 7-10 years it would have been. My surgery was a blessing. In 7-10, surgery might have been too late. I was thankful.

After I got home from the hospital, I googled liver resection recovery. Had I done that prior to surgery -I’m not sure I would have so easily agreed. The internet was full of people’s devastating recovery stories. The thing that amazed me most was that I hadn’t googled or researched the recovery of a liver resection at all. I google everything. I mean everything. I didn’t google one thing about liver resection until after I had already had the surgery. That wasn’t an accident but it wasn’t something I did on purpose either. Divine intervention.  After reading everything I read – I would have been scared and I’m sure those things would have affected my own outcome.

I’m still not sure why the gastroenterologist sent me to the liver specialist in the first place. What did he see that others hadn’t?  I went to see him not to long ago thinking he might tell me some divine reason he referred me. He didn’t really remember and since we were there for Scott’s appointment he didn’t have my chart in front of him. I didn’t need him to tell me anyway. I knew it was a divine intervention. All of it – from the very start.

I’m still blown away that I had a liver resection. I wouldn’t believe it but I have a huge scar to prove it.

I can’t explain all the ugliness in the world. I can’t explain about why and when someone passes away. But I do know God is good. And when we look hard enough – there is always sweetness.

“My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.” Steve Maraboli

Finding the sweet side of crazy!






Were You Loved Enough?

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”        – Mother Teresa

Remember Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood? I love that movie! A line in the movie has been stuck in my head so I watched it again last night.

So the story goes – four childhood friends who made up their own secret society, the Ya-Ya Sisterhood are now woman in their 70’s. They are spunky, scandalous and spirited.  Through joy, devastation and heartache – they are always there for each other giving love and support.  One of the Ya-Ya sisters, Vivi has a troubled relationship with her grown daughter Sidalee.   Vivi struggled with mental breakdowns and alcohol. The Ya-Ya’s are determined to fix the struggling relationship. So they kidnap Sidalee and in an effort to help her understand her mother, they share stories of Vivi’s heartache, struggles, disappointments, mistakes and childhood.

It’s great really. They kidnap their friend’s daughter and tell her things about her mom.  Things she lived through that were devastating, disappointing and heartbreaking.  Instead of Sidalee focusing on her own disappointments and what she suffered as a child, it allows her to see and feel what her mother experienced. It allows her to find empathy for her mom instead of just judgment.

One of the most profound lines in the movie is when Sidalee is talking to her dad who is a gentle and quiet man. She asks him…“Daddy, did you get loved enough? He replies…”What’s enough? My question is, did you?

That’s the question that’s been on my mind – Did you get loved enough? Or more appropriately did Mother got loved enough? Do most addicts feel loved enough?

Because of mother’s choices and how she lived her life, it was hard to be around her. The endless drunk phone calls, trips to jail and the hospital, time with her supplier and all of the crazy insanity that goes along with addiction. She had one childhood friend who she loved like a sister but she had died years ago. I wonder what that must have been like for Mother. Her choices and behavior alienated her from most people including myself. It was too hard for us to watch her devastating actions and be around her as she remained powerless to her addiction. Her choices and the consequences of those choices were heartbreaking. Sometimes, I had to get far away from her. Thankfully there were people who showed Mother love when I couldn’t. I am forever thankful for them. I understand those who couldn’t…it’s hard. I had to set boundaries too.  Addiction causes so much destruction.

Mother had always struggled with her relationship with her own mother. I wonder if mother saw the similarities. History repeats itself. I’ve always tried to be mindful of this. I think most of us take a real and a critical look at other people. But when it comes to ourselves, we wear rose colored glasses and view our own actions in a more flattering light or justify them in some way. Or we shift the story to make it what we want it to be not what it actually was. We don’t get real with ourselves because to do so would mean we might have to make some big changes. It’s easier to blame others and keep pointing fingers. It takes the focus off of ourselves. I’m trying to be more real to look at things more objectively – from all sides and views. Not just from my view. That’s how we learn and how we grow….looking at things from all views because they are so different. You will see things differently, in ways you couldn’t see from the view you once had. It’s like looking at a beautiful scenery full of trees and nature and a big building being in your way – you can only see so much. Step around the building so you can see behind it and around it. There are things you couldn’t see before. Change your view…you’ll see differently.

I think it’s important to identify, understand and work through our struggles, we can’t allow ourselves to get stuck in them. We have to keep moving forward, experiencing life, giving love, spreading goodness.

We tend to be selfish creatures and focus on our own disappointments and struggles. How often do we truly strive to know another person’s hurt? We usually want to make sure everyone knows our struggles instead of first seeking to understand someone else’s. We sometimes feel unloved and unwanted. But you know what…

When we get to heaven, I don’t think God will ask us if we were loved enough. I think he will ask us “Did you love enough? Did you take the time to understand someone else? Did you take the time to show love?”

You feel love by giving love. How do we love enough when we don’t feel we were loved enough ourselves? Empathy! When we realize – the lack of love they gave had nothing to do with us. It was about them and their own struggles.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

So the real question is – Do you strive to know another person’s struggles and pain? Do you get real with yourself? Do you show empathy or judgment? Do you love enough?

Finding the sweet side of crazy!





Mother’s Day


“There is an emptiness inside of me — a void that will never be filled. No one in your life will ever love you as your mother does. There is no love as pure, unconditional and strong as a mother’s love. And I will never be loved that way again.” – Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

That’s what I grieve…that kind of mother’s love. That’s what I’ve always grieved but not just since Mother’s death. Always.

Mother’s Day! For as far back as I can remember it has always been one of the hardest days of the year for me.  It has always been a constant reminder of what was stolen from me. I felt cheated. Cheated and then guilty…for feeling cheated. But I was always thankful for those who loved me, looked after me and cared for me. Those surrogate moms never really took the place of my mother. They were a sweet bonus. I still grieved my own mother. My mother. I grieved for the mom I needed and wanted and I grieved for her and the love she was missing.

When others posted pictures of their mom and told how wonderful she was or how she was their best friend and all of the wonderful things she had done for them…guided them, taken care of them, loved them unconditionally, had always been there for them, was an awesome grandmother and every other wonderful thing – I couldn’t relate. I was hurting. I longed for those things. What happened to my mom?

When I would hear or read things like…I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mom I’d think, I wonder where I would have been if only… In the back of my mind, I’ve always had such a longing for what could have been. It’s hard to describe. My mother was alive but she wasn’t there for me. She hadn’t really ever been. Not the way other people’s moms were there for them. She taught me a lot but not in the traditional way. It was mainly hard lessons of why I had to live a different life and not travel down her path. Mother’s Day was always the official day of reminding me every year of my disappointment. My mother wasn’t like other mothers. Oh sure, I focused on the positives and the blessings but underneath I was hurting and disappointed. But I was always thankful for those who took me in and loved me.

Ours was a much different relationship. She always needed me to do something for her or needed something from me. She always wanted to tell me about people she knew. If she was sober, it was the kind people. The ones who helped her and were there for her. If she was drunk, it was the mean ugly people. The ones I was scared of and who gave me the creeps. They did really mean and dark things I won’t go into but I believed some of these people were evil. The truth was I didn’t want to hear about those people. Any of them. I was thankful for those who were kind to her but I longed for her to ask me about my boys or ask about me. I wanted her to want to know them and want to know me but she didn’t. Not often anyway. It bothered me. Our relationship was mainly about her needs and what she needed from me. Mother’s Day is the official day I am supposed to celebrate my mother who had never really been a mother. So I struggle with Mother’s Day. I know that sounds terrible and rude but that’s honestly how I felt.

But as much as I felt bad for myself, I felt worse for Mother. She missed out on so much and my heart ached for her too.

As I’m typing my mind travels back to a recent phone call one just a couple of weeks or months before Mother died. I could always tell when Mother had been drinking. So my normal routine was to call her and do a quick assessment to see if she was sober or not. If she was sober, we’d talk for a bit but if she had been drinking, I’d get off the phone as quickly as I could. So, not long ago I called Mother. She answered the phone. Immediately I could tell she was drunk. Her speech was rapid and tone was aggressive. “Hello!” she yelled. I asked “What are you doing?” “Hello?” she yelled louder. “Mother?” She yelled over me… “Go to Hell, F——!” and slammed down the phone! I kind of laughed as I tried to figure out what had just occurred and why she had not answered me. I looked at my phone and realized I had it on mute. I couldn’t help but laugh at the craziness. Who answers the phone and says things like that? I was honestly a little thankful my phone was on mute. I waited a couple of days and called her back. She was sober. I told her I had called a few days earlier and asked if she had remembered getting such a phone call. She said a little. She was back to her mild, sweet and meek mannered self. She was embarrassed when I told her about it. Then we laughed at the craziness.

This is the first Mother’s Day since Mother’s death. She has been gone 40 days. It’s different this year.  I know my mother is finally at peace. Her body and mind were tired. She had been controlled by substances for far too long.  She had lost so much.  I’m not sure she even knew what sweetness she was missing at least that’s my hope.  My guess is she probably did know and that along with her guilt gave the substances that much more power.

It was always so hard to pick out a Mother’s Day Card. The premade cards were never right. They never fit our relationship. I always ended up buying a very generic or blank one and wrote in it. I always dreaded calling her. I would put it off until later during the day. I felt guilty for dreading it. Funny, as I think back, I don’t ever remember her being drunk on those days. She was always sober as if sitting and waiting for my call. She was always so excited when she would hear my voice and when I’d tell her “Happy Mother’s Day” and “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your card in the mail. I’ll put it in this week.” She’d say “Oh thank you.” She was honestly very sweet when she was sober.

I wonder if she ever knew how hard Mother’s Day was for me. I hope not. I hope she never knew my struggles with Mother’s Day.

My mother had her own struggles with her mother and the truth is…we all have disappointments. I can’t imagine any greater tragedy than not having a real and loving relationship with your child or children. The greatest joy in my life has been being a mom. My boys are my greatest gifts! They make me laugh, worry and even cuss sometimes. But mainly they make me proud and bring me great joy! I love them more than life itself. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them or nothing they could do to make me love them any less. I would give my last dime or last breath to help them. I would trade my life for theirs. My mother never got to enjoy motherhood like I do. Not the real and close relationships. Not the deep conversations about thoughts, goals, disappointments and joys. She never knew the joy of going swimming at 10:30 at night or making a quick trip for ice cream after you were already in your pajamas and ready to crawl in bed just because your son asked you to. She never got to know the craziness of taking them to a movie, realizing it wasn’t the best choice and insisting they call you “aunt Kandy” because no mom in her right mind would take them to this kind of movie. That’s something I got from my mother. She had a great sense of humor. She could almost always laugh. I’m thankful she passed that gift on to me. I only wish she could have known the greatest joys of being a mom.

The truth is we all have hurts, disappointments, tragedies and blessings. We are all the same that way. The specifics may be different but not the feelings. We have to feel our pain, allow ourselves to grieve and push through so we can also feel the joys of our many blessings. Being a mother makes my Mother’s Day special. I love my boys! I’m thankful for my husband who has always worked hard to make it a loving day for me.

I am so thankful for the surrogate moms I’ve had. I’m thankful they have loved and do love me. I am thankful for all they have taught me. I am thankful they make me feel loved. I am so thankful for the joys of being a mom. I LOVE being a mom! I am truly blessed. I hope my mother is enjoying a joyful reunion with her own mother and I hope it is her best mother’s day ever!

I will savor my time with my boys!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!