Dedication: My Mom- Miranda Fambrough
Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it contains descriptions of childhood rape.
I remember when I was younger, feeling, that I was different from other kids. I did not have a mom or dad at home and kids used to ask me questions as to why. The honest truth is, I really didn’t know. I used to watch other kids run and jump into their dads’ arms after school and I knew, sadly, that I would never be able to do that. I knew my mom loved me because she said she did, but this was a daily thing that I would ask myself were true. I was primarily raised by my grandmother. In most cases such as mines, if a mother and father are not present or capable, then their grandparents takes over. For that I am forever grateful because mines did, but let’s be clear. Our relationship was not a great one. In fact, it’s one of the hardest relationships in my life. To add insult to injury, my mom was living a life that would soon kill her and I had no idea about. I felt abandoned. Alone. Hurt. I remember asking myself what was wrong with me. Why didn’t my mom love me? Why did she just leave me and never come back….? I would lay by the phone and just pray and hope she would call or show up. I always worried about where she was or if she was even alive. I lived with my grandmother and as much as I appreciate her now I didn’t back then and still struggle with our relationship now. I blamed her for taking me from my mom. I hated her for the things she used to say to me. I’ve always felt like she wanted me to be someone I wasn’t and to this day, I still feel that way. Looking back she did what she could but our relationship has never been repaired and I don’t know that it will be, although we both try. I saw a lot growing up, a lot of things that kids should never see, things that no one really knows about because I chose to hide it. I didn’t want to be the one making another reason for my mom not to be able to come around.
No matter what anyone did to try and stop me I was on a mission to save my mom and to get my mom back. She was my best friend and she loved me for who I was which was what I felt like I was missing at home. When I was raped at 13 I blamed myself at first. People use to say like mother like daughter, making me feel like that was all I was worth. Like I would just become my mom, as if I didn’t have a chance for something better. So, I eventually started acting out I started trying new things sex, marijuana, alcohol, lies, manipulation, etc……whatever it was to feel some sort of love connection or disconnection from reality. At first I think I did it out of spite and hate because I wanted to hurt my grandma the way I felt she was hurting me. But then it turned into me trying to get closer to my mother by selling drugs being around people that knew her. I can’t say that I remember a happy time in my life thinking back today. In fact I’m not even positive I know what true happiness is because of the scars deep in my heart still today. The fact is that there was never anything I could have done, she just didn’t want to change but I still tried and tried. Most of the family turned their backs on her and my grandma tried to keep her away because she thought that was best. She may have been right but I wasn’t going to believe that and it wasn’t going to stop me.
My mom had two severe accidents, almost killing her, and I remember thinking both times that she would change after that that things would be better. That I would finally have my mom. That was not the case. It was almost as if the drugs called for her and that’s all she could think about. Don’t get me wrong there were times that she was sober and I never felt a stronger connection and I wanted it to stay that way forever, it just didn’t. I don’t think anyone knew what was really going on with me. I kept my emotions bottled up until I blew up and after that it was a wrap.
After the accidents and after my mom disappeared again I was raped. I was only 13 and I was scared for my life. I changed after that, I no longer trusted anyone I no longer cared about anyone and I lost the want to care about myself. I used to lay in bed at night with a knife to my wrists and cry because I wanted it to be over but something kept pulling me out of it. I met a guy and attached myself to him and fell in love with the idea of being loved by him forever. I lost a baby of ours at 14 which I kept a secret for quite some time from everyone. I ran away several times through all this, I wanted to get away from all the pain and my friends were the ones that made me laugh that made me feel like I could be happy.
A few times I reached out to my mom, I found her and stayed there. I watched her get raped and beaten. But she still stood up and tried to protect me, the guy tried to get me too he held a gun to us he threatened us for our lives. But we fought, being so young I just wanted to protect my mom, being my mom she just wanted to protect me. My mom finally gave up and gave him what he wanted so he would leave me be, he locked her in the room with him by putting the bookcase in front of the door, I still remember the noise of it squeaking across the floor. I cried and cried and tried to get in I pounded on the door for what seemed like forever, but not once did she make a sound. I don’t know who he was and I still try and picture his face to this day. My mom was a survivor even though she lived a life that people think is a disgrace. She went through more than anyone should have to in their lifetime. Through my life I’ve seen her passed out thought she was dead, I have seen her shoot up smoke crack and try to detox off of whatever she had been taking and I saw her sell herself to make money on the street…. but then she tried to sell me on the street for drugs and I ran and ran, the guy followed me for a few blocks and finally gave it up. I thought I was going to die at times. I instantly knew at 12 years old I had to let her live her life without me. But it was the hardest reality I had ever faced. Finally my grandma had enough of me, of my emotional struggles, of me acting out and sent me away, I hated her for a long time, some resentments I still hold on to. But I think she just didn’t know what else to do for me. I have been on my own since. I was in a facility (lockup place) for teens for 2 years total from 14-16yrs old, after that I asked to be emancipated, I went to job corps and finished the rest of high school, and said I would live and I wasn’t going back home, that is what I told myself at least. I learned a lot about myself over the years but I had to face a lot of hard issues and one of them was my mother. Even after that I couldn’t let her go. It is a hard emotion to explain loving someone so deeply but never getting the chance to know if they even think about you. It is a feeling and life that I would never wish on anyone but it happens so frequently. I lost my mom a few years back, her kidneys gave out at the age of 37 years old. I was 22 and it was one of the hardest days of my life. I knew it was coming, I always feared the day it would come. When it did there was just so much I never got to say and so many things I never got to do with her. I will never have a chance to now, but it makes me want to be able to make that chance for my kids even more.
That’s not all though, you see what people do not realize is the past scars you forever, even after finally working through these things I don’t think I truly love myself completely still, in fact I don’t think I know what that truly means. I spent so much of my time being worried and afraid I forgot about myself. In fact honestly I still don’t know how to love myself completely. I try all the techniques I was taught but no matter what I find the flaws and it keeps me down. I thought I had found love when I met my daughter’s father. He is a good guy, but eventually we fell apart and I decided to leave because it wasn’t fair for me or him to keep pursuing a relationship that was not healthy for either of us. We were young and dumb and the right decisions were not made. I lost a baby with him also and I remember feeling like maybe God didn’t want me to have children because I didn’t know what being a mother was and it would be hard for me to be a good mom not knowing. Or maybe I was being punished for all the wrong choices I made. But soon after I got pregnant with my first and only daughter. I was scared, excited, nervous, all the typical feelings but enhanced. But the thoughts may be different than what you would think. I thought the worst that I wouldn’t be a good mom, that she would hate me, that I couldn’t handle it. And so far we are ok but it has been hard for us. I think that it’s because of the mother figures in my life I just have yet to be able to break through and bond with her as I truly want to do. There is a distance between me and my daughter, I don’t know how it got this way and I don’t know how to fix it, but I am going to do my best and find a way to fix it. I finally met the man of my dreams, he helps keep me strong and positive and most of all he keeps me going when I just don’t think I can do it anymore. Whether he knows it or not he is a huge part of my strength and he has pulled me through some really dark moments, I can never thank him enough. I now have 3 beautiful children and one more on the way. The past is something that I struggle with every day and it is haunting to think that I may not be able to get past it. I have faith that with support and positive people in my life I can manage. I do ok, some days are easier than others, but nothing is ever how I pictured me to be. Happiness is something that I struggle even knowing what that is. My kids are the reason I live, the reason I get up and without my family I have created for myself I don’t think I would have made it to tell this story.
I have to say having a drug addict as a parent is not easy for kids. I wanted to share pieces of my story because there is absolutely no reason I can think of that I went through all of this for me not to be able to share it. To try and be a voice. To try and be of some help to someone that may be asking themselves WHY? IS IT MY FAULT? To let at least one person know it can get better. But to also share with the world that when a person goes through the kind of pain that rips at your heart, whatever that pain is, it doesn’t ever go away. It gets easier, but it’s there. Maybe a parent may change their mind and see who they are affecting outside of themselves.
Photo credit: Images provided by Footage and by the storyteller.