Look at that smile

Look at that smile

Mom, I love you.

This is the dedication in my first book, Wholly Sober.

There are no words to express the depth of love I have for my mom. She is my why.

As I write these words, my breath collects in my belly, there is constriction around my heart, and tears flood my lower lids.

My Mom died sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning. So many questions, emotions, regrets, wish I had, should have, if only.

I love my Mom so much. I hated that she never got to LIVE a life where she felt free. The last few years would be the closest to freedom that she experienced. She was in a state of being childlike due to Alzheimer’s.

I loved how silly she was when we chatted on the phone. She often flirted with my husband. Mom put way more value on a man’s attention than a woman. I have a theory that I will explore and share with you another time. It’s a box I don’t want to open and rob me of this moment.

We got baptized together

My work has always been the emancipation from self-imprisonment. My mom is my inspiration in my quest to help women break free from the need to misuse alcohol. Hell, just break free from expectations cast on her by others, hurtful opinions of herself, thinking that she had to settle even though she was miserable. “I chose this life.” Well, yes, you may have, but it was with the information and awareness you had then.

As the passage from Wholly Sober reads, “Trying to tell her to quit drinking was like taking away her life pass. With alcohol, she could talk to people, speak her mind, dance, live without worry, let go of her inhibitions, disconnect from fear.”

We both used alcohol to stop feeling, thinking, and accept our fates without demanding better. I found my freedom. Even now in my greatest pain, I KNOW the power of feeling it all and allowing myself to explore my thoughts and let them flow before assimilating. I checked in last night and thought would alcohol help now? And while walking in the twilight I knew drinking would only make the pain worse. I wish to heal.

Mom did stop drinking around 2007. No program, meetings, or identifying as an alcoholic. She just stopped drinking.

In her final years, Judy came out to play, and you would see that little girl with life in her start dancing in the middle of a grocery store, say something naughty and giggle, or find her singing along to a song. I’m very lucky to have caught some of these moments on video and pictures.

No amount of bubble wrap could keep you safe

Mom, wherever you are, please stay close to me.

We have only just begun.

I love you.