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  • Writer's picturePaige Harris

The Fondest Memory of My Mother

When I was a child I saw my mother as this beautiful woman with long red curly hair that matched her painted red nails, in my eyes, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. However, these thoughts are now overlapped with drunken fights, harsh words, dishonesty and heartbreak. Unfortunately, now she is homelessly caged by an addiction she’s had for years, and I continue to question why. Why had she treated me the way she did, why had she abandoned me, most of all, could she still be helped?

I wanted to write about my fondest memory of her because I feel as though I’ve been upset about who my mother has become for too long. Instead, I’d like to remember my mother as this beautiful woman, this beautifully broken woman I remember as a child, which I know she still is. Although it is hard to see past the sunken cheeks, bruised fingers, cigarette-stained hair, and gummy smile. She had to have been a young girl in her 20s with her whole life ahead of her at some point, and somewhere along the line she just got lost, and with that, she lost me.

My fondest memory of her must have been when I was 9 or 10 [I am unsure what age specifically, all my memories seem to mend together at this point] I had done the dishes all by myself because I wanted to help around the house and I could tell that my mother was stressed. When I did the dishes I used too much soap, so if you had a glass of water it would taste like soap. I was just trying to help, easy mistake. But my mother freaked out at me, and screamed at me for doing the dishes wrong, she may have been drunk but my memory is very blurry. I went to my room and thought that it would be a good idea to ‘pretend’ to run away. I did this a few times when I was a kid, but never had the guts to actually run away [Until I moved out at 16, but that’s a different story]. 

I was hiding on the balcony that was attached to my room behind the corner until I realized I should have put stuffed animals under neither my blanket covers. I quickly tried to shove some stuffed animals under the sheets until my mother walked in. I didn’t say anything, I was just thinking about how my plan was foiled. She sat down on the bed and sincerely apologized. I don’t quite remember what she said, I just remember seeing the look in her eyes, and feeling like I had been acknowledged. I told her that it was okay, which I told her a lot after drunken screaming nights and abuse. But I remember that moment so vividly and the guilt she had for screaming at me. 

I don’t really know why I remember that memory, or if I am looking back at this memory differently after so many years, but every time I do, I miss my mother, honestly miss her, because the person she is now, is not who she was then.

That mother that I remember is buried deep, and I don’t know if I will ever see her again, I still love my mother now, but it's complicated, and I don’t know how to help her, she needs serious mental help, and that isn't something I can do. I’ve encouraged her, cried, fought, and after my brother had passed from an overdose I thought that was going to be the day the fog settled and she finally sought out help, but it's been a year now and she is in the same place she was.

I know, there’s no sense being sad about it, or thinking about it, but I am a part of her and she is a part of me, how could I not keep wondering, hoping that this day won't be the day I find out she's truly gone...

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