I’ve learned to appreciate and hold onto the fact that my earliest memories had nothing to do with addiction. Those early moments were among few where I felt like a child, innocent and without worry. I remember being mesmerized by my mother, she was beautiful. I was only maybe 4 years old when I realized people were drawn to her. I recall feeling like I could only hope to be as beautiful as her someday. Sitting on the floor watching her dance in our tiny living room, would I ever be that amazing?
Those times were the beginning of the storm that she was, the beginning of the path she took us down. That beautiful version of her was something I would see less and less of as I grew. There were small windows of time throughout my life where I would see that woman I so idolized, those times are the only way I knew who she really was existed.
Now looking back I realize she was broken inside from the beginning. There was a constant need inside of her for validation and attention. Her first marriage, to my father, had come and gone by the time she was 22. Me and an old wedding album, I still have, are the only thing that proves that relationship existed. I’ve never seen the two of them in the same room, I am just assuming that since I’m here, they have in fact been in the same place.
Husband #2 faded away a few short years later. Her turning point had shown its face, I can define a place for her where she felt failure. I think she was searching for something her entire life. It started with feeling like she was never good enough in the eyes of my grandfather, and trailed into a very long, heartbroken road of bad relationships and poor choices.
As a woman I see where her life was filled with voids. She was no different from the rest of us, wanting to feel beautiful, good enough, validated, and loved. In fact, in times where I saw so much beauty, she probably felt so much insecurity. Perhaps it was her constant searching that led her astray. Is that what eventually made her feel that need to be numb? Did she simply surrender to the pain of it all?
Very quickly her beauty became masked by her demons. I’ve never felt as silent and invisible as I did in that time. I began to replace my doting innocence with a constant worry that I would make life harder for her. My little hand in hers, WE started on the path of my mother trying to fill her voids, and me creating mine.