Why Am I Doing This?
I have been going through the chapters of my memoir for a few weeks now trying to decide which chapter I wanted to release this time around. I have so many stories I want to share with everyone but I finally decided I would write this story fresh from my mind. It’s not necessarily a story but a topic of discussion brought up to me by a family member. It has been stuck in my mind the past few weeks and almost bearing a small burden because I wonder if my essays bother my other family members.
We were sitting down, enjoying our drinks just talking about different things. After some laughs she gets to the topic of my first essay ‘Grapefruit Juice’ and mentions her husband asked why I would do that? I thought to myself, do what? She said he was curious as to why I would she share such personal stories with complete strangers? This question made me feel particularly uneasy, slightly annoyed and it made me second-guess the decision to write my memoir.
For weeks I have been dwelling on the answer to this question. When I was speaking to this person I briefly explained to her it was how I coped with my experiences. I explained how it is helping me to find closure in things left unsaid or undone. Granted, I may not have said it exactly in those words but I think the message was received and she totally got it. She understood where I was coming from and we just stopped talking about it.
Here is the more specific answer to her question:
To my family, friends and readers please know the writings I share are not to give my Mom this horrible reputation of being this totally unfit Mom, wife, Grandma, daughter or sister. My writings are not for sympathy or to say my life was worse or even better than someone else’s. I am sharing my story because thirty years later I finally get it. I have finally come to terms with my Mom’s disease and I have finally realized she did the best for us in the best way she knew how. Her way was not perfect but whose way is? Her way was at times bad but none of us are always good. She made mistakes but who doesn’t make mistakes? I make mistakes daily.
Thirty years later I still deal with the effects of my tumultuous childhood and teenage years. Thirty years later I still need to rid of the negative feelings I have harbor. Thirty years later I still tell myself everything in the past has helped me become a better person in the present and in the future. Thirty years later I am done holding in my feelings. Thirty years later I am ready to share my story in hopes it will help someone. Maybe, they are the alcoholic or the loved one of an alcoholic. Whoever it may be I want them to know they are not alone and they are not a bad person. My Mom was not a bad person and to you and her loving grandchildren…Please know she may have been an alcoholic but she was a good woman!
She was the shepherd in our family. No matter what state of mind she was in she always managed to make sure we were going in the right direction. She was always there for her grandchildren and would have done anything for them. She did her best to protect her children. She always took care of her parents and her siblings, helping them whenever she could financially or if they needed a place to live. I remember my uncles and cousins always coming to her when they needed something and she never turned any of them down or away. She was always trying to please everyone and deep down she was fighting her own demons. She was human.
When she passed away twenty-four years ago it seems our immediate family suffered tremendously. I think to this day we all struggle to keep the family together like she did. Not because we don’t love each other but because she was our rock. We were the papers she held down and when she passed we all just flew about in the wind. We have since gathered ourselves and we remain a tight unit to the best of our ability. We don’t always see eye to eye and much to my dismay I think we forget who we are and where we came from. We forget who our Mother is. We forget who our grandmother is. We forget we are family.
My Mom was had her issues, I mean who doesn’t but she was also the boat who always came to rescue us. When her rescue boat finally sank she left behind drowning children who are still trying to save themselves. And we have saved ourselves time and time again and at times we have saved each other because she taught us family is about being there for each other, even during those times when you hardly have enough strength to be there for yourself. We are overcoming struggles daily and this loving woman left behind the willingness to survive and persevere not only for ourselves but also for each other.
Sometimes we laugh and ask each other, “What do you think Mom would do? How do you think Mom would handle this situation?” Or, “If Mom were here she would kick our ass! Or she would kick her ass or his ass!” So, I don’t only remember the bad things I had to deal with in my childhood but I remember the good things as well. I won’t go into detail now because many of the essays I write will include good things as well as the bad.
I am sharing my story with you not because I have to but because I want to. Writing and sharing this is not easy for me but it is helping me to heal old wounds.