What If

My mother passed almost 3 weeks ago at 48 years old from a heart attack. I can’t begin to describe the emotions I’ve experienced since then and how much I miss her. I have her ashes sitting next to my little music/Disney shrine in my living room until we scatter them next month. I tell her hello and kiss her picture in the morning and hope for a good day and try my best to keep a positive mindset at life. I tell her goodnight every night, cry, and wonder “what if”.

Our relationship was extremely strained the last 7-8 years due to heavy substance use. I was actually mentally preparing myself prior to her death to cope with cutting her off for a bit cause my mental health couldn’t take it. Our last phone call was 2 days before her death. I hung up on her cause the conversation was getting toxic. It wasn’t going to end well if we continued on.

But I do remember our good memories from when she was sober and was a mom. I remember them very well. She had a really good sober run from when I was about seven years old to some point into my teens. She may have slipped behind closed doors, but for a lot of years during my childhood, things were kind of normal. Jokes, life advice, mom/daughter talks, vacations, holidays, church, shopping together, etc, all around really good memories. My mom was funny. Loud and outspoken. Easy to love. Beautiful. And fun.

Then shit hit the fan. Like really bad. Like in my baby, toddler, early early childhood years, prior to my brother being born.

She started drinking heavily… then drinking turned into pills… pills turned into other things… other things basically turned into a drug induced psychosis… and this turned into her not understanding or caring about her health at all. I tried to help her. I did everything in my power from hoping, begging, offering financial support, researching successful rehabs that would be affordable (which is barely a thing), getting social workers involved, speaking with her nurses and doctors in the hospital and at dialysis. I did my best while trying not to sacrifice all of my mental health.

She didn’t want the help. She didn’t care at that time. And I would always get so upset and somewhat bitter about it. I’d scream. I’d cuss. I’d cry. And repeat.

Being a parent to someone who was once your parent is so incredibly difficult and mentally challenging.

I didn’t understand why she was doing this to herself. I didn’t understand why she was putting me through this.

My brother had said she mailed him something about a month or so prior to her death. It is not my place to speak too much on it but it was a letter that was written with much love and sincerity. My heart was so content and happy that he received it. He was a mama’s boy through and through and she loved him with a very deep and special love.

After she had passed and we were gathering her things, I found a handwritten letter at her bedside written to “her darling daughter Danielle” It was recently written. Written with words I longed to hear for a very long time.

The letter stated how much she loved me. It stated how badly she wished we had a different relationship. It stated how she hoped one day I could forgive her. It stated flaws in her own childhood/adolescence. It stated how proud she was of me. It stated how much she liked my significant other. It stated ways to love and how to forgive the person you are in relationship with and others close to you. The letter was a piece of her heart.

For the first time ever, I truly and deeply felt so much sadness and pain for her. That she hated herself and was so sad with life that she never realized those who loved her. Those who wanted her healthy. Those who wanted to enjoy life with her. Her children who needed her. It saddens me I’ll get married one day and have children and she’ll never see that. It saddens me she won’t see my little brother graduate high school. It saddens me that I will always wonder “what if”.

I miss you ma, so much. Even during the roughest times, I could never stay mad for long. You were contagious. I’d walk in your hospital room or bedroom or a restaurant or anywhere and you’d immediately make me laugh with some smart ass, witty comment.

You taught me to not put up with shit. You taught me responsibility. And you taught me how to be strong, which is something I’m trying to be now more than ever.

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