Tag Archives: mother

I Grieved in Reverse

It’s been over two and a half months since I’ve heard my drunk mother on the phone and cried myself to sleep because I couldn’t help her and I couldn’t stop her. She couldn’t stop or help herself either.

It’s been over two and a half months since I’ve felt helpless and powerless…just like her.

It’s been over two and a half months since I’ve been bombarded with phone calls from the E.R., hospital, police, concerned people and life line.

It’s been over two and a half months since I’ve heard my mother cry and tell me she was scared because she was bleeding again and knew she would eventually bleed to death. Even though she knew Vodka was killing her, she couldn’t stop. I felt scared…just like her.

It’s been over two and a half months since I’ve heard my mother’s sweet sober voice on the phone. The one that would say “everything’s wonderful” on one of her good days.

It’s been over two and a half months since I laughed with my mother.

It’s been over three years since I tried to force my mother into treatment and she refused. I sat next to her while she spoke to her niece on the phone. Mother was crying  so hard it was difficult to understand her.  She told her niece I was trying to make her go to treatment, she didn’t want to and I was being mean to her.  I wasn’t being mean but I was firm and made it clear she wasn’t staying with me.  She had to go to treatment or go back to her apartment.  My boys weren’t going to be put through this.  I felt bad for her but I was also furious over her stunt of walking my neighborhood and knocking on doors until she found someone to take her to the liquor store. I was angry that she had humiliated herself and my boys…mainly my boys. I tried to protect them from all of the hurt and disappointment that I had known throughout my life and she brought it into my home. She got drunk and Madden had been alone with her. She was a scary mean drunk. It was very emotional for me. I was furious. My kids weren’t going to go through what I had lived through.

Everyone knows you can’t force someone into treatment. But I tried and I failed. I ended up driving her back to her apartment. It took many months before I could speak to her again.  I knew she would eventually kill herself and I couldn’t take it. I had to separate myself from her. It was the only way I knew to protect myself from the hurt.

As I drove home from work yesterday, I thought about Mother and my feelings about her recent death. I let my mind move through different questions and feelings. My thoughts wandered to my friends – How would they feel if they had lost their mom? Would they be devastated? Would they spend a lot of time crying? Would their world be turned upside down? Would they feel heartbroken and hopeless? Would they feel like they had been cheated? Would they miss them? Would they have a hard time? I imagined the answer would have been yes to most of those questions.

I didn’t feel the things I thought my friends might feel. I know this sounds harsh and cold but I almost felt relief…like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I could breathe and finally had some peace. I no longer got the endless, helpless, heartbreaking phone calls. I was no longer tormented with worry about her – wondering if she had enough to eat because she had spent her last three dollars on another bottle of vodka. I no longer had to worry if someone was taking advantage of her, if she was getting beat up, if she was in jail or in the ER or hospital. I no longer anticipated the phone call telling me she was dead. I no longer worried about what others must have thought about me – her only daughter not saving her or not hopping in the car and driving the almost 2 hours with every phone call. I no longer felt guilt about putting my kids and husband first and wanting to protect them from the craziness.

That’s when it hit me – my grief was in reverse. I grieved my Mother throughout her life – my life. The feelings I imagined my friends would have with the loss of their mom where the feelings I had during the life of mine. I felt devastated, heartbroken and hopeless. I felt cheated and missed not having her. I had a very hard time with her decisions and the things she put me through. I grieved her my entire life. I prayed for her and tried to help her. It was only in death that she could have peace. Even though she had struggled in this life, I knew the moment she had taken her last breath she had gone to heaven. That gave me peace.

I wish I had gotten the opportunity to have my mother be the mom that I always knew she could have been. It makes me sad that we both missed out on that sweet mother/daughter relationship. God blessed me with so many sweet relationships and I am thankful for those.

I still cry occasionally but it’s not for what was…it’s for what could have been.

The greatest gift of all was that her struggles and my relationship with her inadvertently taught me to be a better mom and savor the sweetness.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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Shop for the Sweet!

Shopping cart

Do you ever wonder why some people repeat ugly family cycles and others break them? Me too! So, I was thinking…what if we decided to change our future with a shopping cart?  We could shop for the sweet and leave the junk behind.

What happens when we go to the grocery store without a list? We’ve all done it. We end up with a bunch of junk, an expensive bill, wasted time and we forget important recipe ingredients.

We all know the best approach is to prepare and plan…to go through our recipes and figure out what we will eat for the next week. Then go through our cabinets, pantry, freezer and refrigerator and decide what ingredients we need to purchase. Make the list. Go to the store. Stick to the list. Yay!! The grocery bill is cheaper. There’s not a lot of junk (we’re not perfect). And we have all the ingredients for a week’s worth of meals. Or most of the ingredients anyway. We aren’t perfect and may have to make another stop sometime during the week to grab something. But whatever!

So what if we did something similar with our own history and our family’s history? What if we took a shopping cart and shopped through our past, through our family’s past and decided what we are going to carry into the future and what we are going to leave behind? What we are going to hand off to our kids and what cycles we are going to stop.

I really like word pictures (thanks to Gary Smalley), so years ago I was thinking (which can be dangerous)…Why can’t we shop for the good things (habits or actions) we want to carry into our own families. Like picking the items we need for recipes. So it would go a little like this…Oh I love how you spend quality family time – I’ll take it. I really want to do family vacations – I’ll take that too. I don’t like that mean tone you use – I’ll leave that. I love the way your life is Christ centered – I’ll take that too. I love how you treat others with respect and love – I’ll take it. I don’t like the laziness – no thank you. I don’t like the drinking and drugging – no thank you. I love the way you encourage each other – I want some of that too. I don’t like how you don’t take care of things – I’ll leave that. I love how you set goals and work hard to have nice things – I want that too. I love how you make your kids and their events a priority – I’ll take it. I love how you make health and exercise a priority – I’ll take it. I don’t like that cheating and lying – no thank you. I love how you say I love you so often – I’ll take that too.

Examine your unique family…the sweet and the junk. Decide what you want to carry into the future (handing off to your kids) and what you want to leave behind. Make an active decision to leave the junk behind. Make a list…what does your family do well? What attributes and characteristics do you want to carry into your own little family? What do you want to leave behind? You don’t have to take it all. You have to have a list, stick to the list and when you see yourself or other’s throwing the junk in your basket – throw it out. You’ve got a goal.

Bottom line – if we don’t take a real look at our own history, our spouses history and generational family history we will most likely just keeping carrying everything forward – the good, the bad and the ugly. Because that’s what we know, what we have been handed and what has been passed down. Change your future! Change your children’s future!

Go shopping for the sweet stuff and leave the junk behind!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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You can’t fix ’em

bandage

“Mother, quit drinking! You are killing yourself. And me. Just stop!”

I’m a fixer. I see something that isn’t working correctly or someone who is struggling and I automatically have this need to fix it or fix them. But I’ve learned – you can’t fix people. They have to fix their own broken self. We can help, support and love them but they have to do the hard stuff themselves. Showering an addict with all of the love in the world won’t stop them. They have to get to a place where the desire to change is greater than the desire to use. That’s hard.  We can’t drag, yell, push or pull them to that place. They have to be willing to work hard and make many changes. Difficult changes. Ones we really don’t even think about. It’s not just about stopping. It’s really more about starting…starting to do things differently. They have to learn to deal with feelings of guilt, embarrassment, shame, depression, anxiety, coping and so much more. They may have physical painful withdrawals. Depending on the substance, sometimes the withdrawals can be life threatening. They usually have to seek out a different group of “friends.” It’s not as easy as what we non-addicts make it out to be.

Just remember – they don’t drink or use because of you. It’s not personal. It is something within them. Not you. Love them. Who they are when they are using…isn’t who they really are. Remember who they really are and love that person. Take care of yourself. Gather knowledge about addiction and great treatment options so when they are ready for a change – you are ready to help. Our society is much more reactive than proactive. Healthcare treatment for addiction stinks! Seriously. Do your research and have a plan because when the moment arrives when your addict says “I need help,” you want to be prepared. Seize the opportunity as soon as they say they need help because the window of opportunity is very small so you’ll need to act quickly. Have a plan.

Remember it is long term recovery. Recovery is a good thing. Recovery is something to be proud of not embarrassed of. Celebrate the small things. They may relapse. Love them anyway. Unconditionally. Set limits and healthy boundaries. Take care of yourself. Be kind and loving to yourself. Forgive. It does the heart good. Cry when you need to cry. Talk to your trusted people. Refill your love cup so you aren’t running on empty.

Fix yourself. You can’t fix others but you can do love.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

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Mother’s death

 

Mother

Wednesday evening, April 1st 2015 (yes – April Fool’s day), I received the dreaded news I’d been mentally trying to prepare myself for over the last several years. The one where I hear “they found your mother dead.” I know those words sound harsh and hard. Saying “passed away” sounds much softer. But that’s not what I heard because her life wasn’t soft and gentle. She didn’t just pass away.  Her death  was hard and tragic just like she lived. Addiction steals and brings ugly hard dark stuff.

Down deep, she was a scared, disappointed, lonely, hurt young girl. She covered it by drinking and drugging and showing her mean, hard, ugly ,scary junk. Some could see through to the kinder gentler person but not all got the chance.

No matter how much you try to prepare – you are never really prepared for the finality – no matter the circumstances.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her. She looks happy and still has a spark in her eye. It was before she became completely powerless to the substances that controlled her. It was before her life was so dark. It was before a little girl was robbed of her mother and before little boys were robbed of a grandmother they would really never know. She was also robbed. Probably more than any of us. She never got to experience the real joys of being a wife, mother or grandmother. I think back to all the things she missed in life. I don’t believe she ever made it to one of my boys games- little league through high school. She missed kindergarten graduations, Mason’s HS graduation, school programs, birthdays, my college graduation, the big stuff and the small stuff. I don’t remember her really being at much.

I believe she would have if she could have. She just couldn’t. She was submerged in darkness. My heart has always hurt for her and what could have been. She lost so much in this old world.

She had the best sense of humor and was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. She always made me laugh. She was the most resourceful person I know. She thought she was one of the toughest people in the world and maybe she was.  

I am thankful for God’s strategic placement of people who took care of me when she couldn’t. I’m thankful for people who took care of her when I couldn’t. I’m thankful for my wonderful family and friends who teach me so much. I’m thankful for all the lessons she never meant to teach me but did anyway. I’m thankful for God’s grace, love and forgiveness.

I’m thankful my mother finally has peace and is whole again. I know she was God’s child and battled the ugliness for so long.

Sometimes we look at people like mother with disgust and judgment.  These people who suffer addiction face battles and darkness most of us you will thankfully never know personally.  It’s a terrible vicious cycle of darkness, dispare, hope, unforgiveness (of self and others) hard work and battle after battle after battle. 

My prayers are with all of you (and your family and friends) whose lives have been forever changed because of this terrible tragic disease.

You can beat this. Reach for the light and surround yourself with people who lift you up.  And most of all forgive. Forgive yourself for everything you’re still hanging on too and forgive those who hurt you. God never intended for any of us to suffer through this.

Much love and hugs!

Kandy

 

 

 

 

 

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