I wrote this to my mum on 23rd November 2016.
Today, on 20th April, 2017, I am posting it. As today was the day my mum was admitted to hospital due to taking an overdose and today, is hopefully the day she allows me to get her into rehab.
For anyone suffering with addiction, or loving a person who is, be vocal. Take your dirty laundry outside and let people help you clean it.
To my beautiful mum.
I was 12 when my dad cheated on you with your best friend of 20 years. I remember, even up until the week before how in love you both were with each other. He was in awe of you, just as the whole family were. You had jet black hair, always wore red lips and despite being a smoker, you somehow always carried a grace and elegance around with you. For as long as I've known you, you've had many friends.
People naturally warm to you. Old people, new-borns, dogs, lost youngsters who argue with their own parents. You were this incredible empath who can get even the most guarded of people to open up and feel loved. Our house looked lived in but always beautiful, you had a way with designing a home - a natural flare. We used to say you would have been an interior designer had you not grown up a working class girl from 'The Heath' aka Thornton Heath. You were also incredibly gullible, my brothers and I would spend hours winding you up, asking you why there was a million pounds in the cupboard or telling you that someone we knew did something outrageous. We laughed every day and I genuinely don't believe that to be an exaggeration. I blame and compliment my family for my choosing a career in comedy.
Then my dad broke your heart and your world fell apart with no explanation. You must have felt so betrayed, so confused and so heartbroken. A double betrayal from the two people you trusted the most. For the next couple of years, I almost felt you would use the pain to get a better life, that somehow it would be the making of you.
You cut your hair and hit the town, and despite the early signs of alcohol abuse, I still believed the strongest woman I knew would come out trumps. After all, this was the same woman who sent the priest packing when he came to give your first son his rights on his death bad when appendicitis had left him in a coma, the same woman who fought a teacher who dared to insult her son and the same woman who taught me how to feel with old Catherine Cookson movies on rainy Saturday afternoons.
Then the rest of the knocks came. Literally one after another! My brother, your first-born, was killed in a car crash, aged only 24. Our entire four-piece unit after Dad leaving was broken beyond repair.
Despite learning to downsize as a family, we lost the heartbeat. Of course, alcohol in one way kept you alive in a time when you wanted to join him. But your tears after drinking never released any of the pain you kept locked up in the days.
When my dad was marrying your best friend and buying a family home with her, building stability for her two adult kids to visit, you had a dead son and two older teenagers who had never even met anyone else who had lost a sibling and who didn't know what to do or how to behave. We were lost. You were broken.
The debt didn't help. You went from two wages to just one, and it barely constituted as one. By the time Gavin died we had downsized from our four-bed family home to a one bedroom bungalow. You gave me the bedroom, obviously. Then your dad died. Your loving dad! The man who adored you, the man you would sit in the garden smoking with, talking for hours, the man with the smiley eyes.
It was then the abuse really went up a notch. Firstly with yourself, and then with alcohol, and then from the bad men you dated. Each year that passed seemed to slap you harder than the last and you were never given an explanation as to why. You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't deserve it. Do you know that, Mum?
Several moves later, a spell in hospital, some shitty partners and learning your own mum has Alzheimer's and needed to move to a home, you now live in a shared ownership flat in negative equity with a lodger in the second room. You need alcohol to get through each day. Most days, you don't want to live and some days I don't blame you.
But my brother and I are grown-ups now Mum, and we want you around for when we get married and have kids. We want to see that pride in yourself and in your home again.
We are here to help too. The day you tell me you want to leave alcohol behind and start the healing process for all the crap you've been through, is the day I spend every penny I earn on rehab for you.
I don't know how you will find the strength to be the woman you once were, but if you can find the ability to try I promise we are with you every step of the way. I thought I might remind you of the woman and mother you are and not the one you are masquerading to be.
I'm getting married in June, to the best guy I know. But I carry around the fear that history will repeat itself every day. That one day, I too will find the people I love and trust most in this world abandon and hurt me. Selfishly, I want you to show me it won't. I would love to believe that despite the heartbreak, you finished your story on top. It can't all be in vain, Mum. You didn't deserve this. Do you know that, Mum?
Alcohol isn't the cause of your problems, it's the reaction to them, but it would be a better, healthier life without it. It would involve remembering the trips to London when you come and stay with me and enjoying the days in spas and nights laughing in restaurants. Hopefully, one day it will involve you being a nanny and giving my brother or I a well-earned break. I still believe in this idea Mum.
Although my memories from the sober times are fading, I still believe that my mum is in there somewhere. The elegant, creative, kind, gullible woman with the jet black hair and red lips, showing love to anyone who needs it.
It's now time you start showing love to yourself now Mum. You know you deserve that, don't you Mum?
This was blog was written as a last resort and means no hurt or pain to anyone mentioned, especially, my beautiful mother.Suggest a correction