I google most everything. Google knows everything…all the important stuff and the junk.
April 6, 2015, five days after Mother was found dead on her couch from years of binge drinking…with trails of blood that had drained from her nose – I googled her name. I’m not sure why. I think I expected to see some kind of death notice. But I didn’t. There was nothing that let the world know my Mother had died a brutal slow death from her own powerless actions. Her addiction killed her. And even though she had died just five days prior – I had lost her over 40 years ago when I was just a little girl.
I knew the obituary wouldn’t be there. That’s the family’s responsibility. My responsibility. I hadn’t written it yet. And still haven’t. I will. I’m trying to make sense of all of it. Trying to do something positive with such a tragedy. No, I knew a big fancy well written obituary outlining all of her loves and accomplishments wouldn’t be there. But I thought there would at least be something listing her name, age, city and date of death. Maybe I expected to see some kind of article about how she was found and how she lived. I’m not exactly sure what I was looking for.
But I did find something. It was such a strange feeling. It made me sad, cry and mad. And in a very crazy way – it brought me a speckle of comfort. It reminded me of the misery and devastating life she had been living but was now free from. It reminded me that I no longer had to worry about her. Or that I would no longer be getting the crazy drunk phone calls…powerless to the craziness. It was a mugshot. Mother’s mugshot. MY mother’s mugshot. The whole thing was heartbreaking really. It was dated October 2012. The title read…”MugShot of the Day!!!” Just like that. Three exclamation marks!!! Making fun of my mother during such a heartbreaking time. It listed her full name, age, arrest date, city she was arrested in and charges. I looked at the picture. She was drunk. I could tell just by looking. She had on her glasses and the picture captured the tears that rolled down her cheek. It showed the misery her addiction had brought into her life. It made me sad. It made me cry. I sat looking at the picture of my crying sad drunk mother as the mugshot of the day. I saw a broken, sad, hurt, out of control, devastated woman. I cried.
Then I noticed the comments. Heartless cruel comments. People were making fun of her. The people writing those comments obviously hadn’t experienced the heartache of addiction like I had. They hadn’t had their mother stolen from them at a very young age and watched as she spiraled out of control over and over again. They hadn’t watched as their mother continually fell further and further into darkness. They hadn’t tried to stop the out of control spinning only to realize the more you tried to stop it the faster things would spin and spiral further and further into ugliness.
I’m sure they had no idea her daughter would one day read those things. Especially not just after she died. Or maybe they wouldn’t care. Maybe they couldn’t understand the devastation and heartbreak addiction brings to the addict and those who love them. I don’t really know why they took the time to write ugly comments about a person who was already miserable. It made me mad. Then it just made me sad and cry some more.
People are mean. Making fun of someone when they are at their worst…when they are hurting and obviously in a very bad way is just cruel. I get it. She wasn’t there. They weren’t doing it in front of her. They were hiding behind a computer typing ugliness not facing those who were affected.
Some people still think addiction is a moral issue instead of the brain disease that it is. They don’t realize how much power addiction has over a person. That it devours the person as much as the person devours the alcohol or drug. They wouldn’t make fun of someone who had another disease such as dementia, cancer, diabetes or heart disease but yet we are cruel to addicts…and their families.
I saved the picture to my phone. I knew I would need to be able to look at it in the future.
I looked past the hurt and the ugly comments. It was strange. I found comfort. When I looked at that picture…I was and I am reminded of how miserable my mother was. How miserable I was. How helpless we both were. She had been in a bad way for a very long time. I was thankful she finally had peace. Of course I would have rather she beat the disease. I would have rather had my Mother. Not like she was but like I dreamed she could have been. I would have loved for her to have known me. To have known my boys. I would have rather she would have known the simple joys in life. But the disease controlled her. She was ate up with it and had been for far too long. It had weakened her. Stolen her strength. Stolen her family. Stolen her joy. Stolen her life. The picture reminded me of how sad she had been and brought me peace knowing she was no longer living like that. Besides, what choice did I have? Be miserable and give the disease more power than it already had. Allow it to take even more from me than it already had?
It’s the younger picture of her that made me sad. I looked at that picture, before she was controlled – all I could see was a beautiful girl who lost so much. I saw what could have been.
So tonight, as I was typing this – I googled to see what else I could find. Surprisingly, the Mugshot is gone. I looked and looked and can’t find it. I have it. I know it existed. I have proof. I looked to see what day I saved the picture – It was April 6th, 2015. Tonight when I googled her name, I found the death notice that I was originally looking for. It was posted April 6th. The very day I was originally searching for it. The day I found the mug shot instead. Strange.
It’s as if God erased that sad, heartbreaking photo where people were making fun of my mother. It made me smile.
Addiction is a devastating brain disease. It affects not only the addict but the whole family. It is heartbreaking and tragic. Please be kind, empathetic and compassionate. You never know another’s struggles. Your kindness may be the only thing that helps someone get through the day. Show love. Love does.
Finding the sweet side of crazy!