So My mother is not dead. I thought she was when I first walked in. Slumped over in the frame of the chair, her body motionless and grey. Empty like a dilapidated building that once was filled with Life. Where beauty still lingered but only because of Memories that you imagine might have happened there once.
It strangely hurt my heart more than I had prepared myself for it to hurt (all these years of saying goodbye). That’s knowledge that will be good for me to have.
Almost 20 years watching her and my father destroying their lives and our family with Prescription Pills and Alcohol. Each overdose somehow coming as a surprise. It’s been ‘Food Poisoning’, ‘A stroke’, ‘The Flu’, a multitude of ailments that we all know aren’t real but no one had the energy to call out. Again.
I’ve felt like I was standing in some kind of Fog or Mist Horror Story, where no one was willing to admit there was a Monster lurking. Only me. Every time I screamed ‘Monster’ another member of the family would disown me. How dare I be so disrespectful. Those are ‘good’ people. ‘Great Friends’. God Bless them and we’ll pray for them.
They lived in a beautiful perfect home that could have been put together by Martha Stewart herself. Not anymore. The money is gone. Not even enough to finish the small cabin in the woods they are trying to build. Sleeping on a mattress without sheets and sitting on camp chairs by the woodstove, which is their only source of heat. Walls and ceiling half finished. A pantry full of canned Pork & Beans and soup. A refrigerator full of nothing but beer and wine, no real food. A washing machine full of folded clothes and shoes, because at some point there was major confusion on how to do a load of laundry.
Picture perfect Christians. Only their children and spouses & grandchildren saw behind that curtain. We talked about it in secret, when no one else was listening. Because they had all seen the reactions from the Non-Believers when we allowed the Elephant out. No one wanted to clean up that mess. In fairness maybe no one knew how. Us girls, their kids, sure could have used some help all these years.
You don’t pray away an Opioid & Alcohol addiction. You don’t sober them up with coffee and a couple AA meetings, or apparently 22 years of them either. That Monster just lingers in the Mist waiting for the door to be opened. Waiting for its friend Death to join him at the Party.
This time though, it brought me and my sisters into a room, together, for the first time in 20 years and we all were in agreement on how to proceed. We left the elephant back at the shack. We locked arms around the Tree of Life and we talked about being Sisters and we imagined what that might mean now.
We had an amazing shift, where Love was shared. THAT was a beautiful and unexpected gift.