My mother was not always a great mom. She was an active and very drunk alcoholic until I was 21. I never really knew her until I was an adult. When she finally sobered up, she changed and it was like meeting a new person.
People loved my mom. I continued to be surprised by how much. I guess I had seen her be such a bitch for so long, that when people gushed about her, I was just sort of surprised.
And it’s not like she was just a bitch when she was drunk. She apparently was … uh… let’s say high maintenance as a teenager and young adult. She threw some fairly colossal fits.
She was beautiful when she was young. Not in an ordinary way, although she was a nice looking woman. It was the way she carried herself and her style. And although the alcohol stole her physical beauty and replaced it with bags and wrinkles, she never stopped carrying herself with a certain style and attitude.
But more than any of that, my mother taught me several important things. She taught me the importance of equality and tolerance. She taught me that being smart was the most important thing I was. She taught me that helping people was the gift you gave yourself. She taught me that family was important. And she never really told me those things directly.
But she taught them to me, despite being drunk and mean and not very reliable. And when you think about that, that is pretty fucking impressive.
But the biggest and most important thing she taught me was that it’s possible to change. It’s possible to pull yourself out of mire of misery and self destruction and make your life good again. Because she did. She sobered up and changed her life completely. She did it after 20+ years of being at least some level of drunk 90% of the time.
She did it at the age of 60.
She became one of my best friends. And I miss her so much.