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Guest columnist: Hard Case

The beauty within

March 23, 2010

Whenever life brings me to a new page I try to ask myself what lessons I can take from each new experience. Even the hardships in life bring beauty and comfort if you are open to Him. My mother is dying. At the age of 52 she is dying.

Mom, I want you to know that I will try to remember the good things you brought to me. I will cling tight to the beauty that God created in you, through you. He made you a beautiful, strong, sensitive, intelligent, dedicated and hard working spirit. You should know I intend to embrace your strengths as I have seen them. Your grandchildren will learn these gifts as you have passed some of them down to me. I too will pass them on.

All of the years I spent fighting with you to change your ways, it was only to watch my greatest fear for you realized. I always knew even as a child that I would lose you way too soon. I knew in my heart that you were a prisoner to addiction and that the only release would be death. I certainly never wished it. Desperately I tried to help you to change. I don’t blame you or think of you as weak. I no longer blame myself as I used to. It still hurts. I still wonder if I could have done something, anything, better or differently… if I might have made enough impact on your heart to make a difference in the outcome. Maybe if I prayed more. Maybe if I called on Him to fix this. Maybe.

I am sorry if I let you down. I know I hurt you and I am sorry. I never meant to hurt you. My goal was only to help you see the hurt and damage your choices were making on my sister and me. Why couldn’t you love us enough to change? Didn’t you understand that every child needs a mother? Couldn’t you see?

I want to tell you that I forgive you for what you have done wrong. I stopped feeling anger about this a long time ago. At some point I realized that you, too, were hurting. I chose to love you for the Beauty within. A beauty that I did not get to know, intimately, but saw glimpses of.

I wish things could have been different for you. I wish you were able to see your own Beauty. A lesson I take from this. I also struggle with accepting my beauty. I promise to honor you by trying harder to see the beauty I bring to this world. Whatever it might be, it is what He intended for me and I need to embrace it.

As I parent my three boys I think back on how you parented. I always felt unwanted. Like a burden to you and your life. Since then I’ve decided this was your way of “protecting” us. Your greatest fear was to see us hurt. Funny how that’s what hurt me the most. I wish so badly that you could have let us in. That you would have let us hurt when people hurt, but then taught us how to handle life. Another lesson learned. I promise to try my hardest not to push my children away. When things get tough, I want them to see me struggle through it. I want them to see what life is truly like. I want them to learn from me that people experience hardships. I also hope to show them that hardships do not define who you are. They give you the opportunity to show what you’ve got.

My last note to you will be to thank you. All the hardships that having an alcoholic parent brought to my life helped to create the person I am today. Although the outcome isn’t ideal I choose to believe you accomplished your goal. You helped raise two intelligent beautiful women who love the Lord and who love and admire you. As a parent I can’t imagine what could be more satisfying to know as I lie on my death bed.

Thank you, Mom, for all the sacrifices you made to be our mother. Thank you for taking the time to make us healthy meals. Thank you for taking us on vacations. Thank you for teaching us valuable lessons about life. Thank you for your contribution of knowledge and the relationship you were willing to have with me. Thank you for everything.

Maybe it’s just human nature to feel like it’s never enough, but that is exactly how I feel. I feel like our relationship wasn’t enough. I am just not ready to lose you forever. You will be missed.


From Belmont, Michigan

April 8, 2010 - I lost my mom to breast cancer when she was 55. My daughters were only 5 and 1 at the time. She was a smoker and didn't quit until she could no longer lift a cigarette to her mouth... I remember you and Samantha as little girls. We had many fun times together. I am so sorry that you are having to witness your mom dying so young. It is such an out of control and heartbreaking experience. I hope you and Samantha are close so that you can be there for each other. You are both in my thoughts and prayers. Love and Hugs! - Penny, Kalamazoo

March 29, 2010 - Samantha and Casey... I couldn't be more proud of both of you. As I read these both to Grandma and Grandpa I cried all the way thru as did G&G. Your pain touched me so much and also made me feel so very guilty for not being there for you more as you were growing up. I am so sorry and I love you both so very much. You both are truly beutiful strong women and have so much to be proud of... so rejoice that you are both Nina's girls. You will always be in my life... love you... - Aunt Mary, Silver Lake, Michigan

March 28, 2010 - Casey, See my comment underneath your sister's piece. This goes for you, too! Hugs to you both. - Patti, Silver Lake, Michigan

March 23, 2010 - I take it you're Samantha's sister. Another heartbreaking piece, and you also need to realize that you have nothing to apologize for. By the way, from what I can tell you both turned out awesome. Be proud. - Walter F., Chicago

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