It’s sometime in November of 2014. My memory fails me often, because of the haze I was in. Snow draped over the treetops and there was beauty to be found in this cold and white place- but I couldn’t see it. A week before I tried falling as hard as I could on the ice to convince my grandmother that I had really gotten hurt- and needed someone to give me Percocet for the pain. I did what I could to maintain, but she didn’t see the fall, so I tried again. She still didn’t look out the window. Why didn’t she look out the window? I came inside with snow caked to my pants and the back of my coat. She kind of shrugged it off because everyone falls sometimes… right? Maybe not as hard as I was falling.
Fast forward a week and my son and his father are in my Subaru. We had to go to grandma’s house for something. On the way there I was in withdrawals and desperate. I kept obsessing, tirelessly thinking of a way to get high. What can I do? Gram is off her pills now, who do I go to? Then the idea hit me.
I thought, I have to bring Johnny and the baby back home, I don’t want them to get hurt the way that I will tonight. I pulled in the driveway and we got out. We all went upstairs and Johnny had no idea of my intentions. “Oh, I forgot to give grandma something!” I said. If I remembered more I would share just exactly what I “forgot” to give her.
“You guys stay home, it’s too cold to bring the baby out again,” I said. I got into my car, desperate. I should’ve turned around and went home and spent that snowy night with my baby and watched movies. I should have snapped back into reality and realized that all was not hopeless. I wish I could go back to these times and hug myself, tell myself that I was worth so much more than this- but I can’t. Sometimes that’s the hardest part of all of this.
I’m driving. It’s not very slippery and that’s unfortunate because it’s a whole lot harder to convince people of a tragic accident if it’s not slippery. I get to grandma’s road. It’s dark, the street lights are on and I think to myself “this is the only way, there is no other way.” I was hesitant and afraid, which at that time- I chastised myself for it. Now I know it is healthy to fear life-endangering situations. I drive slowly past grandma’s house.
“You should’ve just done it!” I yelled. I found a driveway up the road and turned around if my memory serves me correctly. I drive past grandma’s house again, a little ways past the creek that’s a straight drop-off, close my eyes, swerve and plow my way into a ditch. I still remember the way my headlights bounced off of the snow. I still remember feeling more pain- thinking I should have sped up more. But it was finished.
And I was off to the hospital where I would receive a shot of Dilaudid and the will to live again- if only for a moment.
It’s Christmas, 2014. It’s my sons first Christmas. I have no money because I just spent the 20 bucks I got on a Suboxone strip. My son’s father bought him this adorable little suit and tie for great grandma’s Christmas party. It’s Christmas morning. I bought him nothing. Luckily his dad did. I am tired and can barely stomach the thought of having to stay at the house, instead of running to get more pills. When I wasn’t high the world seemed gray and all of the joyful moments others shared were but a romanticized thought in my head that I could never quite manifest with them.
He’s opening his presents. I’m taking a couple pictures and thanking God that he has such a good dad. He’s playing with boxes while I sat in the corner hating myself, wishing I was never born, incapable of absorbing and cherishing this moment, this most precious moment, my son’s first Christmas.
Addiction took every holiday from me; every bright moment, every cherished memory and turned them all to ash. I still taste its bitterness from time to time as I remember all that I missed and all that I kept from my son. He doesn’t remember now- but I do.
To be honest, I can’t remember most holidays. Except for my first mother’s day, which was the day I first tried heroin. It’s still disgusting to think of.
There’s something special about my story; a silver lining so to speak.
I remember Christmas of 2015, 2016 and soon I’ll remember Christmas of 2017. I can finally buy my children toys because I am not snorting my money up my nose or swallowing it in pill form. I even decorate now. I cherish these moments. The snow outside that used to be so bone-chilling I could barely breathe in it, I now cherish. Seasons change as do people.
I am now that mom who bakes cookies and cakes and pies, that mom who has Thanksgivings at her house, that mom who sings and dances with her children, that mom who comforts them when they cry, that mom who gives them warm baths, that mom who prays with them, that mom who makes their holidays worth remembering. I am that mom because I am in recovery.
It’s December 20th, 2017. I know what day it is now. I am grateful for Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas. I’m not crashing my car or falling on the ice (on purpose) and most of all; I am home, with my children, preparing for the holidays.