Posts tagged Drug Addiction
By Stephan Reed
I believe that you don’t have to be the perfect parent to make an everlasting, positive impact on your child’s life.
My mother, Tracy Anne Reed, battled alcoholism and drug addiction from her teenage years until the day she died at the age of 47. My earliest memories of her involve her slurring words, driving recklessly and putting the lives of my sister and me in danger.
But I loved her. I still love her. I will always love her.
Even though she seemed to have nothing organized in her life, she tried her best to make a decent life for me. She knew she didn’t have the resources to care for my sister and me, so she put the responsibility of raising us into the hands of our grandmother and later, my godmother.
But this made me care for her no less.
As years went on, her drug addiction worsened and our relationship was strained. We would go months without talking and much longer without seeing each other.
But the urge to be responsible for her never faded.
One time, I arrived at her dilapidated trailer home and found her intoxicated on her cigarette-burned couch. The look of despair on her face as I walked through her torn screen door is unforgettable. She instantly burst into tears. She never wanted me to see her so broken.
After her drunken, yet heartfelt apology, I left her home, leaving $50 on her kitchen counter because, at a glance, she didn’t have an adequate amount of food. I could never let my mother go without.
The relationship with my mother deteriorated as the one with my now ex-girlfriend grew. At the height of my romantic relationship, I hadn’t talked to my mother in six months.
On July 16, 2009, my mother died. I was in Chicago on a church trip with my girlfriend. I was 17 years old. According to a 2010 survey from Comfort Zone Camp, one out of nine people under the age of 20 have lost a parent.
When I received the message, my body went numb. Nothing seemed real.
I told my girlfriend first. She threw her arms around me and cried with me. The first time she met my mother was at the funeral three days later.
The ceremony was grim, yet routine. The same speeches are given at all funerals, yet no words, no speech could give my mother’s life justice.
Her death lingered in my mind. Whenever I saw my girlfriend, I thought of my mother. Eventually, my girlfriend began to fill the emotional void left by my mother. I treated this girl with the same love that I would have treated my mom if she were still here.
Selfless. Eternal. I care this much for the friends I now consider family.
Even though she wasn’t the greatest mother, she was still my mother and I loved her exponentially. She didn’t have the estate to leave me with something tangible, but she left this world with a lesson in empathy, responsibility and forgiveness in her metaphysical will.
I was her sole heir.