My Mother, My Cross

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You have not loved until you have loved the unlovable, the ugly, the undeserving,
like a mother strung out on drugs and drunk all of the time.

Every ounce of her; you know, the part that held me at night, read to me, bathed and fed me, is absorbed in this addict that reeks of booze.

I know my mother is in there somewhere, because this addict calls me by name and expects me to love her like I love my mom.

This addict plays nice at first.
She laughs where my mother would’ve cried; she does where my mother would’ve slept.

But with every drink…and, taken in secret, a pill here and there, this addict loses her like-ability and fast.

She does not care about me or my children, or even the woman she overtook and is now portraying.

With hatred and selfishness, using my mother’s mouth and body…she destroys everything valuable my mother holds dear, with the words she spews out, the way she moves my mother to stumble and fall.

The daughters she bore, no longer responsive to her need for them, the son disgusted in the mother that allows this to happen.

My mother became just another woman to me. I learned to acknowledge the addict in her, and no longer the mother that gave birth to me, in order to lessen the pain.

If she didn’t care enough to stop, why should I care to be there for her, to respect her and love her?

It just became easier to accept the addict and forget the mother that’s hardly ever there anymore.

Until I grew in my faith, until my views were made to align to my makers, I knew love by what I got from it.

I loved my children. I loved my husband. I loved friends and family. I loved books and music. I loved afternoon naps. I loved them because they gave me something in return.

Until God opened my eyes to my sins and showed me how He loved me in spite of them, I would have gone on in my ignorance.

I thought love was supposed to be easy, but love is hard. Love is dying on the cross…

I have since learned each of us have our own cross to bear, and mine so happens to be to love my mother through her addiction.

When she smells of booze…when she can’t stand…when she is sick from pancreatitis…when she is lonely…

I will allow her to hug me and I will focus only on her touch and not the smell.

I will hold her up and not allow her to fall, and if she falls I will help her up with no condemnation.

I will not run the other way; I will not ignore her and act like I don’t know her.

I will talk with her even though I can’t understand what she is saying.

And in my quest to carry my cross, I will have loved the way He first loved me.

I will have done it and not just spoken of it.

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Woman to Woman

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So many things are running through my mind and my throat has entirely swelled shut.
I’m sure, an allergic reaction to the words it will have to allow through.
I’ve prayed for this time for some time, not really expecting such a “time” to come.
Secretly hoping the prayer would be placed in God’s treasure chest of unanswered prayers,
Prayers people think they want answered but God, knowing best, saves them from.
She has been so distant for so long, nothing more than an empty vessel.
Empty vessels make the most noise, and she no different.
Every effort to reach her ricocheted within her, and I found myself cringing in preparation.
She had figured out how to exist within her own realm, and such a sad world she had created.
Then – I thought she wanted to be “there”.
It wasn’t until today I learned different.
“You remember when I dropped the coke in the car and I cried? I thought you’d make me tell you then. I thought you would make me talk to you …but you didn’t”?
My sweet girl was stuck in quick sand and with every effort to free herself she sunk deeper…
And I failed to save her, to fight for her.
Eliminating anger in all its excusing glory, she shared her most dark secrets.
Excuses were no good to her.
She had become thirsty for change and was tired of the bitter drink of defeat.
She had altered her thoughts and allowed God to align them to His will.
Alone. Without me.
She told me she didn’t want secrets anymore, between her and I.
She needed her best friend back…me.
She ended her letter with “Mom, I’m sorry I’m not your perfect little girl.”
And she wasn’t anymore. At that moment I was forced to come to terms with that fact.
It had tried to creep up like ivy on a wall, her woman curves, mature demeanor.
But I wouldn’t let it, I couldn’t.
I needed her to stay little. She’d need me still.
Though not little anymore, but still perfect, always perfect.
She was my young lady, in all her beauty and demand to be seen.
And today I would have to tell her my secret in respect of this new found relationship,
A secret that would prove I wasn’t so perfect either.
She sat in front of me.
Her brown eyes puzzled by my struggle to speak, and tears, oh so many tears.
Once, the cozy coffee shop we had been sitting in, had now become consequently confining.
I asked to move outside, as if that would make the words easier to say
… “After I had you, I had an abortion.”
There. I. Had. Said. It.
I feared she had distain for me in her once-loving eyes, and I dare not look up.
I spoke of that mistake, that sin, not to excuse it or explain it, but to keep her quiet.
Her questions scared me too much to give her the opportunity to ask them,
And when I had said all there was to say, and the unknowing had become greater than the fear,
I looked into her eyes and I said, “I am sorry”…
But there was no disdain, no surprise.
With a mixture of sympathy and love, my beautiful grown young lady answered,
“I’ve known…I read it in your poem book years ago.”
We left the same people we had always been, but truer to the love for one another,
For we had taken off the ill-fitting “Mother” and “Daughter” costumes we had made.
The costumes that hid our “unlovable” mistakes and imperfections,
Dwarfing us into something lovable, all along never really feeling loved.
We had removed our mask and garment as if Halloween had finally ended…
Still we saw love in each other’s eyes.
Now when we hear the other say “I Love you”,
There will be no voice that follows saying…
“She wouldn’t if she knew”,
Because she does,
And still she loves.

Regret

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Regret is all too familiar for each of us. Some regrets can be shrugged off, as easy as you would a gnat.

And there are some, that linger in the air, with a strong aroma of “what ifs”.

Still there are those that hit you like a bus, running you over, again and again, breaking every backbone and wishbone you’ve managed to build since.

It is a date, a scent, a song, a color, a place, that uncovers the regret, as if lifting a rock to expose maggots and worms.

Against all odds, it has remained a part of you, even though, not in your everyday thinking; awakening what you knew, back when…no matter how much time passes, it. will. always. remain.

It is part of you.

You are saddened by the part of you that was before and no more, taken and replaced by this regret.

Death in its place, walking, talking, sleeping, as if regret had not stolen its soul.

A scripture comes to mind today, as I fight back tears,

comforting me…

this too, He died for.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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