After making the gut wrenching decision to cut ties with my mother, I’d never felt more at peace. It hurt like a tonne of bricks, but the hurt she was causing myself and my loved ones was unbearable. I’d tried to help her too many times to count. It came to the point that I realised you can’t help somebody who doesn’t want help. She couldn’t see the pain she was causing from her actions. The bottle is her shield, her way of dealing with life. But when you try and try to help, and you are constantly being hurt, lied to or minipulated, you have to weigh up your options and take the road that suits you. For me, that decision was made based on my boys. I couldn’t have them being exposed to her rage anymore.
My mother hasn’t always relied on alcohol to get her through her life. The last three years though is a different story. She lost her father to cancer, and not long after that lost her mother to cancer. My grandparents which I grew up with on their farm. When my grandpa passed, something just wasn’t right about my mother. Things got weird, uncomfortable and I started to notice she would have time frames of “needing” to be home as she had “things” to do. She was always in bed sleeping in, always sick, always had a headache. Not long after the alcohol was smelt on her breath early one morning and I knew. It all made sense. I approached her and there was no denying it. After that, things just got worse and worse. My parents split up, my mother was in and out of rehab, in and out of relationships, living with random men, numerous phone calls from the police, case workers, councillors regarding my mothers well being and actions. It was ugly. My family has seen more than any of you would in a life time. My siblings and I have held each other in absolute heartbreak and tears like no other. We’ve seen pain. We’ve felt pain. And we’re closer than ever from it. Our mother has treated her children like no mother ever would. Our family home was sold. We lost everything we had as a family. Everything we grew up with was thrown out or sold. My father moved interstate for work and my mother continued down her wreck less path.
Having her out of my life has felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Like I can finally be me again. I can enjoy my life. The one I’ve created with my family. I was beat down. Having Kyle had me worry I would spiral into a state of depression if I had to do this without my mother. I knew I was close to the edge and had to get myself together for my children. Only my husband knows the extent of my misery from “losing” my mother. Ive never really spoken to many people about it. I’d find friends and family got sick of the drama, and would stop checking in. I felt like there was no coming out of it.
I use to be able to count on her anytime of the day when Kurt was a baby. Kurt was her shining star. The two of them together was beautiful. She was completely and utterly in awe of her first grandson. She was there for me when I gave birth, but with Kyle, I had to do it without her. She didn’t even know I’d had him till weeks later. That hurt. And it’s something we will never be able to get back. Kyle is now 12 months old and she wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how amazing he is.
I’m ok now and have learnt to live independently. The odd moment will still break me. A certain song on the radio or a certain meal she use to cook is a reminder of her. My husband, father and siblings are an amazing bunch of people full of happiness, positivity and love. We know we have each other and that’s all we need. I feel completely untouchable when it comes to my mother these days. She can’t hurt me anymore. That wall I’ve built up is strong. But there’s one bit that chokes me up everytime. That one bit that makes me stop and left speechless. The words can’t come out. But I can feel the tears coming. I tell myself to stay strong but when Kurt asks when can he play with Nanny again, I just can’t keep it together. I can never find the words to say.
How do you tell your five year old where his Nanny has gone? When he keeps asking when can he see her, when is she coming home, when will she play shop keepers with him? When he talks about the things they use to do together, how she would always buy him a kinder surprise or Milky Way. How she would push him on the swings and make him milos. When he asks can Nanny sleep over one night or come over for dinner. How do you keep fobbing the “Nanny” topic off constantly?
Believe me, I tried to keep her in our lives and apart of the boys lives. I hoped the boys would be her reason for wanting to get better. I supported her through rehab and kept up appearances so she would know we were there for her. Rehab visits were always very down played to Kurt. We would tell him it was Nannys work and we would visit her there. Feels now, like a huge waste of our time.
I’m gentle with what I tell Kurt about his Nanny. I don’t want him having bad memories of her, or thinking she isn’t a good person. Because when she isn’t this person she is now, she actually was a beautiful grandmother. The love she had for Kurt was something else. When Kurt asks the questions, my husband will see me struggling for words and jump in to help. Of late, I’ve prepared myself for the questions Kurt will ask. I’ll now tell him that Nanny has moved to live with her sister to work on getting better for us. He knows Nanny is “sick” but he thinks it’s a sore tummy kind of sick. I’ve told Kurt that when Nanny is all better she might want to come see us and visit.
The reality is I don’t think she will ever get better. Not for her own children, not for her grandsons and most importantly, not even for herself. The truth is, she is very sick. Alcoholism is an illness. It’s a hard one to break and bounce back from. She’s got to want it enough to get better.
I believe Kurt has grieved not having his Nanny around. My Mama (grandmother – fathers side), believes so too. Kurt would wake through the nights crying for his Nanny, dreaming of her playing with him. Some mornings he would come into my bed crying saying he missed her. The one that still breaks my heart to this day is Kurt asked if he could please turn three again because when he was three years old Nanny would play with him.
It’s so unfair on a young child. The confusion that must go through his head about his Nanny would be horrible. I’ve kept him hidden from her hurt, he’s never been exposed or known of her actions but he knows something isn’t right either. Kyle knows no better, he wouldn’t even know who she is. And that’s heart breaking. I can only hope I’ve made the right decision in sheltering my children from her while she is on her path of destruction. The last thing I want is my boys to have bad memories of her like I do.