Today would have been my mom’s 56th birthday.
Celebrating my mom’s birthday and her life has always been a difficult task for me since her passing because she has two opposing sides to her. It has been a struggle to find a way to balance telling both sides to this story.
Everyone can remember my mom as the intelligent, adventurous, giving, full of life person that she was. She loved the beach and road trips. She was quick witted and always able to make people laugh. She was the first to volunteer to set up for a party and always willing to help people who were struggling. She never went to college but read every book she could get her hands on – and in turn, she developed this wealth of knowledge on everything from history to art to religion to geography.
There was another side to my mom though. My mom was a drug addict and an alcoholic. She became those things because she was constantly looking for an escape from her depression, anxiety, and anger. This constant search for an escape is what led to us losing her: her alcoholism caused liver failure and her body began to shut down. Although she passed away on February 28, 2010, I always say that I lost my mother way before. The alcohol took over and the intelligent, adventurous, giving, funny woman that I knew disappeared.
On her birthday, I remember my mom as the woman who always had her nose in a book. I remember her as the woman who loved to fix up old pieces of furniture to make them look new again. I remember her as the woman who loved camping and beach days and road trips to anywhere. I remember her as the woman willing to give her time and money to help those around her. I remember her as the woman who always stressed doing the right thing, even when it was scary or hard. I remember her as someone who loved to laugh and enjoyed the company of good friends.
And those are the things I miss the most.
She was special.
She was one of a kind.
She was my mom.
Happy birthday, Mom.