I Don’t Ask for Much – But This is a Big One addiction grief isolation judgment mother’s day parenting relationships & communication shame stigma taboo

I don’t think I can go more than four hours without stepping on broken glass.  Of course this is a metaphor.  It’s the best way to describe how I feel when the painful realization surfaces that my oldest son is homeless, mentally ill and addicted to heroin.

I doubt you can imagine the emotions I hold in my heart, let alone comprehend what I’ve witnessed over the last ten years.  You can’t imagine how I’ve suffered because frankly, there are no words to describe the depth and darkness of my nightmare.

You can’t imagine because I don’t have the courage to share my story with very many people. I claw and scream to escape public scrutiny and when I do open my heart, I don’t know what I’ll receive in return.
I’ve been told that addiction is a matter of willpower or something that happens to bad people.
I’ve been told that addiction is the result of poor parenting.
I’ve also overheard  harsh comments about junkies and I shrink inside my shell; afraid that my fury fueled grief may cause me to say something I’ll regret.
I’m a mom who cries herself to sleep, swaddled in thick guilt.
I’m a mom paralyzed by late night calls from unknown numbers.
I’m a mom who dreads holiday celebrations, graduations and family gatherings. I listen politely to the Norman Rockwell-esque proclamations of your children’s achievements and I’m just hoping my son is still alive.

For Mother’s Day, I’m proud to declare that I’m becoming a mom who won’t let her son’s disease take her life too.  I must keep living despite the enormous grief.

I will weather these emotional storms because shame, blame and guilt are not as powerful as my conviction for total wellness.

While I can’t change everything, I ask that you consider one simple request.  Please connect with a relative, coworker, neighbor or friends, whomever you know that may be impacted by addiction, and ask how they are doing AND how their child is doing.  Don’t let us suffer alone!

We are avoided like the plague however, please realize that addiction is a disease.  Addiction is a disease just like cancer except there are no celebrity sponsors or spaghetti dinner fundraisers. No collectible stamps or invitations to the White House. Addiction is a taboo subject yet millions of our loved ones are in the clutches of this insatiable monster.

People say they don’t want to bring up anything sad or negative so they don’t ask me about my son.  Here’s my perspective. If you don’t ask, you don’t care and you perpetuate the insidious shame cycle.
I’m not asking for your pity.
I’m am asking that you soften your heart.
I’m not asking for any endorsement of my strength or character.
I’m asking for your compassion.
I’m not asking for answers, cures or...
Continue Reading...
Oh Momma, Why’d You Have to Leave Me? #mygirlfriendvoice death emotions & emotional inventory grief loss of a parent mothers parenting relationships & communication sadness saying goodbye

Oh Momma…….. My heart is heavy because I learned on Friday that my Mother passed away. Thank God she transitioned swiftly in her own own home and on her own terms. She was terrified of becoming dependent on her children or living in a nursing home.

Mom had inoperable aneurysms and never knew if or when she’d leave us. Our relationship was good; not always easy but really solid. I’m so proud that we were on good terms. My relationship with my Mother was a priority so I forgave her and accepted her for who she was. She was a little wounded bird.

I hold on to her praise and how proud she was to have birthed a woman like me.  She revelled in my kindness and my way with words. I still laugh about her asking me, “Why are you so honest?”

Mom loved My Girlfriend Voice and  kept a binder of my blog posts. I hadn’t shown her the new MGV website yet — my only regret. She would have loved it— except for the swear words peppered here and there!  I’m sassy, what can I say? I have to be true to my voice!

My biggest hope is that my Mom wasn’t afraid to die.  I want her to know that everything will be OK here.  I’ll grieve her absence and celebrate her memory.  Wow, she lived so much longer than any of us expected, having been ill for almost twenty years.

I’ve traveled  back “home” to visit her body to kiss her goodbye. I had to touch and talk to her face just once more. Losing your Mother, the person who brought you to Earth, is devastating.  I trust that she is free. I trust that she feels complete and worthy. I trust that she is rejoicing with my Dad.

Please keep me, my family and Momma “Kaye” in your prayers.  I picture her young and healthy, dancing and laughing— the broken body has been left behind. Her spirit lives within me and amongst us.

Mom is one of the two women who most impacted my life. And for that, I am grateful to be her daughter.

From my broken heart,




Continue Reading...