I think about you often, and finally I wanted to write to you, and say I still feel so sad for all you went through. At this age, when you should have been thinking about the next toy you’d like, or how to have your hair styled, you’d just planned how to sneak your way out of your step dads flat, and run for it, pulling Mum behind you. You are brave! You haven’t had a childhood as your friends do, but it will work out in the end.
I want to tell you that now you have escaped this awful man’s grip that the drinking will end, that Mum will no longer numb the pain, but I’m so sorry, that grip of addiction is holding on so tightly now. There really is no escape, so life will calm down in many ways, you’ll stop moving house, and there’ll be no more violence. But sadly you will feel the side effects of Mums drinking at another level.
I think of your little face, as I look at my own babies now, and I think how on earth did you do it?
I think of your little face, as I look at my own babies now, and I think how on earth did you do it? How did you smile, and show up to every teacher that asked how you were, to every friend that asked why Mum wobbled when she walked. How did you keep the secret, and why could you never speak out?
But then I remember, it’s because you didn’t ever know it was an option. You protected Mum above everything. You gave up on your own needs, and stayed in a state of red alert, in order to be ready for anyone that may try to reveal your reality. I’m so glad you had Grandad: never a cross word, just the most amazing cuddles, and the ability to make every muscle relax. Just one look showed he understood. Today that security will give you the most wonderful gauge of the type of parent you would like to be, the consistent love and connection children need.
If I could come and tell you one thing it would be this—IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. I’m so sorry you felt you needed to control everything to keep the peace. But no amount of cleaning up the chaos, of tipping away cans of cider, or hiding her moods will improve the situation. She has to want to change, and no matter how much you are told you caused it—you didn’t.
If I could come and tell you one thing it would be this—IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
And now comes the hard bit, the bit you will never truly get your head round…. You are not unloveable, you are a child doing their best, and way more than a child should ever do. I know it doesn’t make sense that she drinks so much, and that she can’t always keep you safe. But it’s a reflection of addiction, and her trauma, not of you, and although I still find it hard to hear from others, she did love you, she was just so poorly,
I can’t tell you your childhood will become what you so vividly dream of. But I promise one day you will get your happy ending. I’m so sorry she won’t be there to see you get married, or to see your babies. It will be hard, and you will never stop missing her, because she will always be gone. But you will find a new normal: a different one, that will be wonderful, because you will work hard for it, and never give up.
You are important, and loved, and one day you will feel that love again. And one day the anger will pass, and you will finally separate the memories of Mum from the drunken eyes of the stranger she became. She really was the most amazing person, and that’s why its so hard. But you will turn your pain into purpose, to make a difference to others. You now feel you are the only one going through it, and one day this will be the one thing that connects you with so many, so just hold on……