I smiled and said, "she died." What kind of answer is that? The kind that makes me think my heart has shriveled up and died with my mother. Maybe it froze in the past ice storm. I don't know, but it surprised me!
Then, to make it worse, I giggled. Not the "funny joke" giggle, but the "someone just pulled off my swimsuit bottoms" giggle. That makes a little more sense to me. It is embarrassing. Why couldn't my mom have developed cancer from her drinking like Patrick Swayze or overdose like many others? Instead she slowly killed herself one little drink at a time. I am dreading the question that I know is coming as this year progresses, "How did your mom die?" I have been saying "she was sick for a while". I guess that is true, but it feels like I am hiding from the complete truth.
I have not been to an Al Anon meeting since a year or so before she died. I feel like that is not really the place for me. Those people have alcoholics in their life that are still alive. Do they really want to hear my story of how my mom died, nothing worked, she gave up?
I went to a grieving class at my church....that did not go very well. I did not get to tell my mom goodbye or spend days with family thinking of all the good times we had. I spent the days after her death dealing with the medical examiner, cleaning out her filthy apartment and trying to keep her car from being repossessed. There was a little "thinking about the good times", but it was tainted with the underlying anger and frustration we all felt toward one another for "not doing enough"...."not saving her".
I wish I knew one other person who lost a parent to plain, simple alcoholism. I want to know them and I want them to know me. It feels like a very lonely existence.
Recently, I was at the grocery store buying some cleaning supplies and snacks. I asked that they put it all in one bag. (I forgot my reusable bags, so I only wanted one plastic bag.)
The man replied, "I just didn't want to mix the food and chemicals."
I said, with very little thought, "Oh, we all die eventually."
"Do you consider yourself as a realist or a pessimist?" he asked.
"A realist," I replied, "but good question."
I guess that is where I am right now. I am very optimistic about 2010 and the future with my family, my art, and life in general. But, this is my path. I have to face the difficult questions that have come up over the past year or ten.