It was 2.17pm March 16th 2006 and I had just been told by a counsellor that Alan was waiting downstairs and that my mum was in the hospital in Southport. I was in a treatment centre for my addiction to alcohol. I had just finished a ‘consequence’ session and I was yet to have the biggest consequence of my drinking career.
We left the treatment centre hoping that I could get to Southport to ‘rescue my mum’ it was bad, it had to be for me to have to be driven.
As we arrived at the hospital, I can still remember driving by the entrance and seeing my dad and oldest brother Les by the front door. I knew. I left the car and I dropped to my knees. I didn’t make it. I couldn’t save her.
13 years have passed and I can still remember that day, looking at my phone at the time and feeling so helpless to get there. The reality was, that she wasn’t going to survive anyway. It was her time. So cruelly taken away at 65 years.
As I write this now and recall that day, I still have sadness as who doesn’t want their mum with them? but I also have worked on the acceptance that it was how it was meant to be. I’m not talking religion or the other platitudes that people say ‘She’s out of pain, She’s in a better place”, I’m talking about realising that she is gone and never coming back.
I didn’t always have this acceptance. Within the first year, I was in the stage that people call ‘searching’ – I kept seeing her, her hat, her leggings, I even met a wonderful woman called Sheila whilst walking Guinness who, I believe, was sent for me at this stage. I then went to counselling. I met a wonderful Solution Focussed counsellor who was fabulous. Not only did this woman give me hope and freedom, but she also gave me my first taste of where I was and where I could be. The solution-focused approach triggered my inquisitive mind and the idea of coaching began.
She asked me what I missed about my mum. I listed her smile, her laugh, her ability to say her thoughts without polishing her speech. She was honest, strong, easy to be with (at times) and funny. She was a survivor of life, a mother of 5 who she gave her life for…. literally. I’m not talking Mother Teresa, I’m talking about a woman who never gave up despite often suffering her own demons.
Then the counsellor said the words I never wanted to hear. “Well Becky, she’s gone.” This ended the searching. She soften the blow then by looking forward to the solution which was to help me heal. “Now what you will have to do is look for these things you miss about your mum in the people you have around you.”
I was/am never ever going to have her back. So I work this solution every day. I surround myself with people who are honest, kind, smart, quick witted, strong, resilient and forgiving. I live a life that she would be proud of.
I also recall this day as a day where I realised alcohol was not the answer. I was 6 months sober on this same day and I had shared my consequences to my peers in treatment. So how does a binge drinker, addicted to alcohol get through this? I put myself in the hands of others. I knew I couldn’t be trusted to make the right decisions. I phone the treatment centre and they directed me. A great woman from AA stayed on the phone to me all the way home so that I got home safe and I went to a meeting. I literally kept putting one foot in front of the other, I had to.
I celebrate 13 and a half years sober today. My mum would be proud, my friends are proud, and they surround me now as much as they surrounded me then. They have never left me. nor as my mum. Every time I see a robin appear, she’s there. Whenever I need her.
Miss you mum. I’m getting there x