*To anyone who has dealt with a family member who is an alcoholic – it is so hard to know what to say or how to say anything. Just know that it affects your life as well. Never feel like it is your fault because it 100% is not your fault.
I love you and miss you so more than you will ever know. I miss who you used to be, my mom. The last six years you have become a complete stranger. Growing up I looked up to you in many ways and wanted to have a good job and be able to be a good mom so my kids felt comfortable to talk to me about anything. I was able to go to you for almost everything without worry of judgement or retaliation.
I thought it was the coolest thing that you would buy me Smirnoff Ice every once in a while. Looking back – that should have been a sign. You used to give me advice about my ex and how he wasn’t the greatest thing on earth, I should have listened to you, but I needed to learn that on my own. I remember you being there for me and I miss that so much.
Although this isn’t who you are anymore… You aren’t the mom that you used to be. In High School I hated being home, that’s why I wasn’t home anymore than I needed to be. I worked two jobs, one almost full time, while maintaining a 3.5 GPA and still spending time with my little brother. I wasn’t home on the weekends because that is when it was bad… From Friday after work until Monday morning, sometimes Tuesday, you would turn into this toxic stranger. You weren’t my loving mom anymore. You were a drunk who just wanted to start fights with people… even your six year old son.
From the time my brother was born – he is nine years younger than me – I feel like I have been more his mom than sister. That is a lot to put on a kid. I was changing diapers and feeding him more than I should have. During the summers I helped at daycare and was his parental figure. When he needed something he would come to me first nine times out of ten. I have always tried to shelter him from the fighting, from the alcohol and cigarettes but I couldn’t protect him from all of it because I was still trying to live my life as well, and I was just a kid myself. When I was home, and even when I wasn’t, he would be in my room from Friday after school until Sunday night. And those nights we had sleepovers are some of my favorite memories that he and I share. I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t protect him from you.
I wish you could have been stronger for us kids… to stand up for yourself and see how bad things were getting before it was too late to fix them. Even though I am an adult, there have been times where I needed you and you just weren’t there. I know when I left for the Air Force I broke your heart and I don’t think you ever recovered from that. I needed to get out of that town, I needed to be an adult and do something with my life. I thought you would have been proud of the things that I was doing, but it sure didn’t feel that way.
I know there are things that I’m not aware of… but some of the biggest moments of my life you weren’t there for me and I think it’s because it would have made you get out of your routine and away from your precious alcohol. When I graduated Basic Training, something I was so proud of myself for, you weren’t there. I don’t even remember what the excuse was honestly. Couldn’t have been finances because you were literally pouring thousands of dollars down the drain buying a couple cases of beer a week. And what makes this worse is whenever I would voice my concern about it, you would get so defensive and turn it around on me, like I was the problem and you were fine.
The moment I knew for sure that you were gone and there was no coming back was when I told you I was finally pregnant. Do you remember what you did when I told you? Probably not because you were drinking. You hung up on me. Said you were disappointed in me. Keep in mind I had been in the Air Force for almost three years, I was married for a year and a half, and I was going to school. I was doing things right and making something of myself and when I finally got pregnant (I had been actively trying for almost 8 months) I was so excited to share this with my family. You crushed me… The reaction I got from you was terrible. I get it, it might have been a surprise and maybe you weren’t ready to be a Grandma – but at that moment it wasn’t about you. Everyone else was so excited to meet my baby, and Dad… my dad, was crying and saying how proud he was of me and how excited he was to be a Grandpa. He isn’t even my blood, but was more supportive than you.
You finally came around and accepted that I was going to have a baby, maybe it was because I was your baby – 21.5 years old – and having a kid? I’m not sure, but once it got closer to my due date we talked about you coming up to Alaska to help me with being a mom. I should have known that I shouldn’t get my hopes up with you actually being there. I believe it was a month out you told me that you couldn’t come up when Owen was born. Even when I offered to pay the $400 plane ticket you couldn’t do it… In that moment I knew that you were gone and completely controlled by alcohol. At that point I hadn’t seen you in almost two years and didn’t really know how bad it was… Looking back my heart just hurts for my brother… I wish I could have been there more for him. But in spite of you, he has turned out to be such a great guy.
After I had Owen I found out you and dad were getting divorced. I was relieved. Your marriage hadn’t been good in years and I was hoping, praying even, that this would be the change that you needed to better yourself… boy was I wrong. I came home for a week that October when Owen was four months old. I don’t even think you offered us a place to stay at your house, my childhood home. That’s just how messed up you were; you didn’t want me to see how bad it was. Thankfully my Nana and Papa let us stay there and got to spend some quality time with Owen. Out of a whole week home I think we spent three hours together and within those three short hours you couldn’t even spend 20 mins consistently talking without having to go smoke or drink. I wouldn’t let you hold my child because you reeked of cigarettes. I am sure that hurt, but you have to realize I am doing what’s best for my child because I refuse to let him be around people that are toxic. He wouldn’t even let you hold him. He only screamed when you held him, out of everyone in the family. I am sorry for that, but you weren’t healthy. I was hoping that seeing me and realizing what kind of habit hole you were going down, that maybe, just maybe, you would get help and better yourself. Strike two… that wasn’t going to happen.
From October 2016 until August 2018 we barely talked… you would disappear for months and never return phone calls or texts. But when you would finally reach out, you would talk in circles and just talk about things that didn’t make sense or really even matter. You would constantly be drunk and God knows what else. You weren’t even remotely the same person… The worst part about this was I was almost 4,000 miles away and an adult so I get not talking regularly or any of that, but from the age of almost 11 to now, my little brother didn’t have a mom either. He got the same treatment that I did. But instead of being 4,000 miles away from you, he was within ten minutes of you… and that, not only as a big sister, but a mom, breaks my heart of how you could just ignore your kid and treat him the way you do. By blaming everyone around you for your problems.
When I drove down form Alaska and was home for not even a day and half, everyone knew I was going to be home and saw all of our family. I spent most of that time with my brother because he was the one I missed the most. Not to mention he grew about a foot and I barely recognized his voice. There was something we needed to do. As brother and sister, we needed to go see our mom. When we showed up your lovely boyfriend answered the door because you weren’t able to yourself. When you walked into the living room I was amazed at how much you had changed. I hadn’t seen you in almost two years and I was amazed at how much you let yourself go. It looked like your diet consisted of alcohol and smelled like it consisted of cigarettes. You were far from healthy and you had the audacity to say I was fat…. Okay. I told you, you didn’t look good and you need to start taking care of yourself and you brushed it off. You redirected your attention to my brother. You then told him that he needs to come over more and put the blame on him for why you haven’t been in his life recently. THAT IS NOT OKAY. Take ownership of your mistakes and stop putting them on others. Especially him, he has been through more than any kid should and I back him 100% for not wanting someone so toxic in his life. I wouldn’t want to be in that environment either.
At this point there was nothing we could say or do. It was all on you. So I told you I was done. I am done. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss you. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. Because I love you very much. I just need to be selfish when it comes to my mental health because even just being around you was unhealthy for me. I told you you need to get your shit figured out and better yourself… and when that happens let me know because I need you to be okay. I need my mom back.
That was in August.. it is now December and we have talked once. You seemed a little better, but I know better than to believe that you’re doing better. I’m sure you are back to your old self. I wish you were doing well, though. So badly. I guess I just need you to know that yes, the last few years have been hard, but so many people tried to help you for so long and you completely burned those bridges. Until you make yourself number one priority, it is unhealthy for me to be part of your life. Not like much will change because we never hear from you anyways.
I just want you to know that I miss you, I miss my mom, and that I do love you, I just need you to get better.