empathy

A letter to my Mom, the addict, the drinker, the woman who forgot to love herself

Artwork by  Jean Giraud

Artwork by Jean Giraud

Dear Mum,

I decided to give into self righteousness and self indulgence and write you a little letter to tell you how sick to death I am with your abuse of sleeping pills.

You’ll start rolling your eyes or think of how cute this is, because you believe everybody has issues and I am naïve to be so concerned with this minute problem. That may be so, but it does not excuse your behaviour.

I concede that Jake, your partner, is condescending and hypocritical in his judgement of you, particularly when he a) takes the pills himself, b) has told me in the past to stop overreacting and c) is the one who brings them into the house – though to be fair to him, you’ve devoured Dozile in Stillnox’s place and if you really wanted some, you’d obtain some – as you told me you’d do with cigarettes last night. Building a barricade from an annoying pill addled woman is something I can understand, but something that borders on ridiculous from someone who takes sleeping pills and cooks rabbit stew or takes sleeping pills and drives his pregnant stepdaughter to the hospital.

Your behaviour is not necessarily the origin of Sam, my brother’s similar behaviours. However his eyes sickly lit up when he saw you were fucked and instantly asked for sleeping pills too. There’s enabling, and then there’s enabling.

You swayed like you used to, when you used to drink. When you bumped into walls I remember saying “wow mum you really need to put your glasses on”. Last night you dropped a petrol pump on my foot, asked if we could see if the service station was open when we had just gotten home from the service station and then asked me why I was treating you like such a retard. I thought that videoing you would be the perfect wake up call but as soon as the phone came out you turned oddly normal. Then I spent 15 minutes coaxing you into bed because you refused to. Remember “buying cigarettes it’s a normal adult thing to do”. Sorry mum, but that’s not the shit I was concerned about.

Now I never say what I truly feel entirely when I feel it, which is why it comes in outbursts, the same goes for Ariel. I feel unsafe. I feel threatened. I feel worried. I feel like the adult and I feel like you are the child. I feel like you feel like you’re being persecuted everyday. Being judged. Maybe you are, but maybe it’s the right amount of judgment.

You don’t value yourself like you once did, even if it wasn’t much then. And that’s probably partly to do with us. You are smarter, wiser, more talented, more beautiful and have a greater spirit than we could possibly communicate to you let alone make you believe. You are worth so much more – that doesn’t mean having a big career or a fancy house or a rich husband – that just means respecting yourself.

Ever since I can remember it’s been a journey. But its been segregated. You have your journey with addiction, and we have our journey with dealing with that. It’s always been; treat your mother gently, be easy on your mother, you’ll understand it’s a disease, we all have our crosses to bear. But it’s never been an effort we’ve made together. The effort for you has been to join AA and find a husband. You always thought the effort with us ended when you stopped drinking. Anything beyond that was our cross to bear, our psychiatrist to visit. Maybe you’re right. But you don’t get that we didn’t have a voice as kids, and with a new manifestation of addiction comes the voices from the past and the present.

I guess it’s easy for you with us because, even though I’m being ‘overdramatic’, whatever you do we will forgive you. You’re our mum and we’ll always adore you, always nurture you.

I think it’s a level beyond what others have because for better or for worse we’ve always known you as Lily as well as Mum. Who you are, as a person, not some illusion or figure. We know you’re tender, we know you need to laugh. I think sometimes that’s what gets in the way of us expressing our worries – with both you AND Jake – because you put us all on a level playing field, when we never really (emotionally) got to play the role of kids.

I can hear a snort of derision already – we’re all moochers, we’re all unemployed, we owe everything to you etc. etc. but it’s just an innate feeling I have, a remembering, a burden all children of deadbeats, addicts and adult-children have to deal with.

If we didn’t care about you both we’d let you veer off the road or continue creating this toxic chasm from which at some point, you both know, there is a point of no return.

Loving an addict is like grieving the loss of a loved one while they’re still living.

Having these feelings and being met with what you thought was a reformed and open mind and having them shoved back down your throat is the arsenic on the cake.

I’m tired now, and I know nothing I say will make any impression other than, how gorgeous, how poignant, how naïve or how fucking judgemental – but I will try and try again, I will  write and write and bitch and moan and act out and deny and judge until the jury goes home. Not because I think I’m better, not because I think you’re worse, but because I’ve lived with men and women named Addict before, and I just know with an adults logic instead of a child’s, it’s going to be worse.

But we’ll all forget tomorrow, you’ll say your sorry’s, Jake will slam the door til Tuesday then we’ll all laugh and bitch at each other. Then in a oouple of weeks it’ll happen again.

Til next time,
Abigail

Submitted to ArtParasites by  A. Gormand