I am a mother, but I don’t have any children.
I hate Mother’s Day.
I hate birthdays.
I hate holidays.
Most of all I hate addiction.
Addiction stole my only child one awful day in September of 2013. He died alone in a hotel parking lot in a company van. He was 26. He was a good kid. Not a bad kid, like the policeman told me. He told me I had a bad kid. I wanted to coldcock him. But I am only 5’2”, and he was at least a foot taller. I spewed some nasty words at him instead. I have a good vocabulary and I am not afraid to swear. I think he wanted to put me in jail. I didn’t care.
Did I mention I hate heroin? I hate it, too.
I feel angry today. The only way I can deal with it is to write. Write and write some more and some more, until I get it out of my head and heart; for the moment anyway, it won’t last. Grief is like a leaky faucet, just when you think it’s stopped, it starts again, more annoying than ever. I can’t think clearly when I hear the drip, drip, drip.
I have to let my emotions out and not worry about the stigma. Not worry what others think of me and my son. I don’t give a damn. A dead child is dead whether it was cancer or drugs. I want to shout it out, scream at the top of my lungs, and let God and the whole world know my unspeakable pain.
I want my son back. I want a do over. I promise I will do better.
This could have been prevented. He didn’t have to die. I should have sent him back to rehab for a sixth time. He would have gone. Treatment is what works. I knew that. I know that. The seeds of recovery get planted each time. Why did I let him go that Sunday night? Threw him out of my car, along with his duffle bag and his dignity.
I was the only one who never gave up on him, but I told him there was no hope. That I was done.
Fuck tough love and the horse it rode in on.
I watch other mothers celebrate the day with their children. It makes me jealous and it hurts. I was a good mother and I don’t deserve to spend another mother’s day without my child. I didn’t do anything differently than they did. I rejoiced in my son’s childhood just as much as any other mother.
Yet, here I am letting it turn into guilt and shame.
How do I turn this around today? My ranting is not going to bring my Cody back to me. Healing takes place when I allow myself to be honest about my feelings; to feel the pain in my body, in my heart, and in my soul. Not push it away, but FEEL it for real.
How can I describe it? It feels like a curled-up snake, which starts in my achy head, slithering down through my stiff neck and shoulders, twisting and turning, until it rips my heart in two, then makes its way through my belly, finally spewing its poison into my center. I take deep breaths to allow the venom to dissipate, and know that afterwards I can make peace with my snake because I haven’t pushed it away.
It isn’t easy, but I survive its poison and my pain.
I pray for a reprieve from my grief, for Cody’s soul, for Cody’s sweet father, and all of the other mothers who have lost their children to addiction. I pray for the mothers, who are still dealing with the stress of active addiction, in particular a very good friend of mine.
I remind myself of what I have to be grateful for. I have a beautiful granddaughter, a precious piece of my son, whom I adore.
I have loyal friends and family who support me and love me, even in my darkest moments.
I have Cody’s beautiful girlfriend, who is like a daughter to me, and wants to cook dinner for me on Sunday.
I have a sweet relationship with Cody’s father. He will send me flowers today with a note from Cody. He never forgets.
I have my faith, which one way or another, I have not lost during all of this sorrow. I believe in love, compassion, hope, and trust God has a plan for me.
I am who I am because of what has happened to me. I am not ashamed.
I don’t hate Mother’s Day anymore. Well, maybe just a little.
Mary Cucarola – May 6, 2016