My mother died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1995. It took a few months from diagnoses to death. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the fatigue, the yellow skin, etc. I didn’t even realize she was drinking uncontrollably. It all seems obvious now that she was both mentally and physically ill.
I would get calls from her at all hours. Her voice slurred, she’d either tell me she loved me over and over again or how disappointed she was in me, that I didn’t visit enough.
As I grow older I have learned to accept that I am my mother’s son. Well, minus the diabetes and liver disease. So far, at least. I drink uncontrollably at times. I’m not as self destructive as I was in my youth but there are days. I am a quiet drunk, a sleepy drunk. I’m not talky.
I don’t remember having the support for depression and anxiety back when my mother was alive or when I was younger. I don’t know why I drank so much and so hard, made decisions that could have caused great injury or death, or felt a need to argue and fight with my loved ones about the most trivial things. I made life a living hell for some people. I thought I was just fucked up and there was no way I could be fixed. Then the internet came along and I found people who were just like me and learned that there was medication and support. I didn’t have to feel hopeless.
I’m not ‘fixed’ but I function within normal parameters. I don’t drink the day before I have to devote a large amount of attention to something. I refuse to make other people’s lives a living hell. Now I am willing to sit down and discuss things without screaming and shouting. Trivial things are trivial things and they are put in their place. Things have changed.
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if my mother would have taken a similar journey like mine. How it would have been like to have her around as I close in on the big 5-0.