I want to tell you guys a secret. If there is one thing that is known about me it is my tendency to share, to be open; I never hide my soul. Till one moment in December 2013, I learned very quickly what it meant to have that dark place... that one corner of your soul that no one ever sees.
See I was raised by a few different people and my biological family was never one of them. I knew who my mother and father were, but the contact was sporadic. I never met my father and my mother was a junkie, in and out of my life, depending on her addiction at that moment. She never was a bad person, but she made a lot of bad choices. One of the best choices she ever made was to let go of my siblings and I. To this day my old brother and my younger sister have never met each other. I have met each of them, my sister once, my brother twice. My brother was raised by our father’s family and my sister was part of a closed adoption. Neither of them had any contact with our mother. The way she gave me up, allowed room for her in my life. I always considered myself strong, choosing a life much different than hers. Never making the same mistakes and always being leery of anything that could cause addictions.
She sobered up when I was 19. Since I was 5, she had a partner who always did his best to care and provide for her. They might have lived in hotels at times when his jobs were always changing but things really started to look up for them. They settled down in an apartment, she was clean and going to school, he was doing his best to manage his health... Then 5 years down the road his health started to fail and slowly he passed away. She lost a part of herself that day. I was so scared for her sobriety, but damn, she proved me wrong.
She couldn't work in a normal environment due to the years of drugs and her mental state. Don't get me wrong, she was smart as a whip, but easily aggravated and unable to control her attitude sometimes. Instead, she sold off everything she could, including his tools, paid off their car, got a job taking care of an elderly man and life was as good as it could be. She was still sober. She was a college student. She was experiencing the same frustrations over math as I was. Over those 7 years we bonded. That was something we had never had before. 2012 I was so impressed with her and her strength and I was back in the states, I wanted her to spend Christmas with Goose, his father and I. It was the first Christmas I had ever had with her. It was the only picture taken of her, Goose and I. I bought her a kindle because of her love for reading and even got all the gadgets for night reading and a card to load it with the first few books. The look on her face when she opened it is something I will never forget. She cried tears of joy... something she hadn't felt in a long time.
After her visit, she went back home and the ward she was caring for started falling ill. It shook the very ground she stood on because not only did she care for him, she knew finding another set up like this was rare. To add to it her she started having issues with her thyroid and had to have it removed. Finding the right balance in hormones was difficult and the pain and such started messing with her mental health. She was struggling in school, missed her partner, didn't have a community in this new location to bond with, she even started to lose her faith a little bit. Then the icing on the cake happened. The ward she cared for went into a coma. She lost control of her will power and wrote herself checks from her wards account and went to the streets.
I knew something wasn't right because I didn't hear from her for a few weeks. Then I got a phone call from her ward that his daughters pressed charges for fraudulent checks and that she was in jail for a few weeks. When we finally talked I could hear the anger in her voice and her patience shortened when she asked me for money and I said no. She wanted to come to Utah and at that moment, I was in the middle of a divorce and custody agreements with my sons father. I also had my career and clearance to worry about so I told her that was not an option. We didn't speak again for a few more weeks and I was so angry with her for throwing 8 years out the window.
Then she surprised me again. She went to a shelter that had a work program and would house you for 3 months to help you get back on your feet. She was back in school again and I sent her a care package to try and encourage her despite my disappointment. When her 3 months were up, she had nowhere to go. She was house to house trying to get back into the home but there were issues with her trial, her charges and I honestly do not know what else. She found some man to stay with who turned out to be a controlling POS and that ended quickly. She was so scared of going to prison, telling me how terrible the food was and that she was better than that. I thought she wanted it.
I was still upset and harboring inside. I put her out of my mind when I wasn't talking to her, thinking she would figure it out like she always did. Then she missed my birthday. The first time in 27 years, she didn't call or send a card. A few weeks later, I got a text that she was okay and she told me about her case some and that was it. Then Christmas passed. Again, the first time in 20 something years I didn't hear from her. December 26th she called. She told me about how she was taking the bus across town when she could, back and forth to the shelter daily and looking for a new place to live for a while. She said it rained the day before and she walked in her shoes for a few miles and they fell apart, but don't worry, one of her friends was going to give her a pair to wear. I told her that maybe going to jail for a year was better than probation for 5 years. She would get sober, have a place to live, get some more schooling, and they would force her to get things together. We talked a little bit longer and then that was the last time I talked to her. I sent a text to Ace about the call and how I was just disappointed in her and there was nothing I could do at this point.
December 28th, my biological brother called me to say that the police had found her body on the side of the highway. My brother who had not seen her since he was 4 years old. My brother, who did not care one bit, got the call accidently through our biological father because he and I have the same name and they confused us. My world crumbled in. She was beaten, raped, and her neck was broken before being thrown out on the side of the road. I never knew I had mommy issues till that moment. I never had a panic attack till then. They found the murdered within a few hours. A trucker was about to dispose of the evidence as they found him. Her welfare phone had allowed them to track him down. He tried to kill himself twice once they brought him into the station. As they have investigated this guy, they found that he has rape charges, arson, fraud, assault charges and even possibly child abuse. This guy was a monster. As I hear about more women coming forward, I think of her death as not in vain. Even still, it has left me damaged.
I have lost my best friend, lost her partner who I considered family, lost my nephew who was like my little brother. I have suffered more in a lifetime than one can imagine but yet, I have always pushed on and grown from it. This, I tried so hard to bottle up after it happened that now I am exploding with emotion. Her ashes are in my home and I cannot bring myself to try and plan how to spread them. I cannot look at a box and see what a life was reduced to. A life of bad choices and wrong places. She left the world alone and it breaks my heart. I thought for a the longest time that she went out of the world thinking that I didn't love her or not being able to understand where my anger was coming from.
Then a detective sent me some of her belongings. In there was a journal of sorts and there were different homework assignments for sobriety she was working on. In one of those books there was a question about choices. She wrote that she understood that her daughter couldn't just forgive her and that she (I) needed time to heal too. I cried like a baby when I read that because she knew. She knew I was struggling with her choices just as she was. She knew I had a family to protect and that I couldn't allow for her to bring us down too. I see homeless people and I want to hug them all. I want to tell them someone loves them and that it might not be okay today but have a little faith. I smile when I can and donate if I have extra... but it doesn't stop my aching heart.
I want to hold on to Goose and never let him experience that life. I think about getting out of the military so that he can have a mother at home to raise him and provide that example of what a family is. I think I want to smother him with my love, I know. I am going to turn into that mother that all the girls hate haha.
I do not know what it is that I miss or that I think I am missing. Maybe it is guilt or maybe it is the unknowns of what we could have had as the years pass. I just know that the last few weeks have been rough. I don't talk about it with anyone other than my therapist (yay for getting help!/no shame!) but sometimes it is healthy to tell the story. To show some depth and let people in. Maybe you are a stranger reading this, maybe you are a friend... either way, now you know.