15.10.09

These Shoulders are Heavy from the Weight of us Both

 Writer's Workshop: Describe a time when you knew your mom was more than just a mom
My mom and I always laughed and joked and were rather close, still are.  When I was fifteen years old my mother came to pick me up from school as she always did.  We usually goofed around in the car on the way home from school, but this time she said to me, "I have to tell you something about your father."  I didn't think much of it, said "okay" and waited rather impatiently just knowing that whatever she had to tell me couldn't be that big of a deal.  "You probably aren't going to like it,"  she insisted.  This annoyed me, what was her deal?  whatever the problem was, could not have been so serious as she was making it.  You see, my mother has a tendency to grandiose things.  I was sure she was doing this to me at the tender age of 15 when all that mattered was going to the mall and my friends and, man was she just trying to annoy me???  "Okay mom, just tell me," I rattled off.  I was a little scared though, just for a brief moment that maybe she wasn't being dramatic.  That perhaps this once something serious had happened... was happening... or was going to happen.  "You father has been using drugs."
Okay what????  Let me tell you... as a 15 year old who thinks that your home life is perfect, this can come as quite a shock.  I mean, my father was not the type you would think to use drugs.  He was well respected in our community as an interior designer for 20 something years, and also in our church.  He had served as a bishop when I was just a little girl. Not at all the kind of person you would expect to use drugs.  My father?  Drugs?  What?  Disbelief overwhelmed me, but I played it cool.  "What kind," I asked?  Mother was quick with her response, yet still shy about it, "crack."  OK... WHAT??  This is completely absurd!  It can't be, but it was!  My mother fell to pieces at moments. It was hard for her.  She and my father were best friends and had literally known each other their entire lives!  50+ years at this time! I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to not have her companion by her side.  To not be able to understand why all of the sudden out of no where... this new element of destruction (drugs) was introduced to her life.  Some days she would cry, others she seemed fine.  She was forced to sell her home.  The very house that my father proposed to her in front of.  The one she had built countless memories in, and move into a 2 bedroom duplex somewhere across town.  Forced to go back to work.  Forced to take on the stares and snide comments from people she knew. And when she couldn't do it all, when she couldn't take it... I carried her.  I got a FT job and paid our rent.  I stayed in school and early morning seminary and the school musical. 
Over the next few years life became a struggle for us.  Dad wasn't my daddy anymore.  He was taken over by the monster of addiction, no longer able to think for himself... only able to think for his hunger.  I lost my father at the age of 15 to drugs.  The prison system gained him, when I was 17 due to me pressing charges after he stole a bunch of things from me including my checkbook.  This made it easy to ensure his sobriety.  Treatment programs were unable to do that, and I feared the worst... death!  He was released from prison when I was 18 and by then had overcome his addiction.
I said I lost my father to drugs at the age of 15, I say this because he wasn't around.  I was lucky to get him back, but only to be taken again on April 24th, 2004.  This time really gone for good.  I miss him daily, and I think of those bad times.  Yet I think of them to remember the lessons it taught me in life.  That people can change.  That we can overcome.  That we are capable of anything if we put our minds to it.  I think of my father as the true hero that he was.  The last years of his life he devoted to helping others along their path to sobriety!  He shared his story, as painful as it was, to help others.  This post is for my superhero parents.  How I love you both for blessing me with knowledge and experience, but mostly for being an example!

9 comments:

Jarrie said...

Thanks Jenna-gave me time to reflect and I love you.

Neuffj said...

I love you too Jars!

JennVan said...

Wow, Jenna! I'm so grateful that you were able to share this. Keep writing! Its good stuff.

JaelCustomDesigns said...

Popping in from SITS!
Great blog...

Look forward to reading your posts, great tutorials as well. :-)

Doodles said...

Thank you for sharing your story so many families are effected by drug abuse. I am glad that you were able to spend some time with him when he was clean. To bad it couldn't have been longer.

Nori D said...

Thank you for passing by...

What a great story! Thanks or sharing.

sherri said...

How sad about your father. You've been a strong lady.
Blessings to you.

Jenners said...

What a heavy burden to have at such a young age. What love you had for your parents (and they for you) to get through all this. What courage it must have taken to press charges against your father -- but doing it to help him get better. I think you've had enough tough stuff in life so I hope the rest is much easier!

Dan said...

A heavy burden to bear. It is so good to hear that your father was able to recovery and help others on the road to recovery. Two of my best friends are alcoholics in recovery who work with others to help them get and stay sober - so I get glimpses into how hard that path can be.

Hopefully your mom was able to get through the difficult times without suffering more that she could bear.