For three long years I had been living under the same roof with an alcoholic. Most kids want to go straight home right after the final bell rings, I wasn’t like most kids. The last thing I wanted was to go home. Going home meant not knowing what kind of state she would be in when you opened the door. It was almost always a good day when she greeted you as you walked in and asked how your day was with that huge smile spread across her face. But those days were few and the larger situation was so much scarier.
I found it disturbing when I was the only one that knew what the strong, bitter liquid was that she was trying to hide in little sippy-cups, or the time that Mark was gone for business and she had a keg in her closet. She never knew that I knew. When I would find a “24 hours” token given in A.A. meetings thrown on the counter, it was a good day.
After a night of yelling and screaming between mom and Mark, and mom leaving to go to the “store,” everything was quiet. The phone rang at six in the morning and I knew it was her because she didn’t come home that night. I could see the hand cuff marks on her wrists that the police slapped on because she crashed into three parked cars on the way home right down the street. The fact that she was still alive made me smile.
Her black Acura drove up slowly to our church, and my sister and I got in. I could tell she had been crying. “Mark and I are splitting up,” was all she said as tears filled my eyes. I told her everything was going to be all right and she looked up at me with hopeful eyes.
When I woke up and saw my family together on the couch crying, I knew she was gone forever. My dad kept saying “your mom really loved you.” I don’t think I spoke to anyone for days. Maybe taking her life was the only way she knew of to be in a better place. But now I believe in cherishing every moment. Her life in the end taught me that there is always something worth fighting for.
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