I had a great childhood, the normal ups and downs but I had a good family. At the age of 13, my family quit attending church. It didn’t take long for my parents to start drinking, all thanks to New Years Eve of course. My dad could handle it, my mom was a different story. Before long, drinking became a daily thing. My mom had fibromyalgia and wasn’t the best at handling difficult situations mentally. She claimed that the alcohol was used to medicate and was cheaper than her prescriptions, which is at least partially true. The drinking started with beer, then scotch, and finally vodka. Straight. My mom owned an in-home daycare and eventually my brother and I (my brother was 6 years older than me and in college) had to stay home from school because my mom was too drunk to watch the kids. My dad shut the daycare down before anything bad happened. Thank God. My mom and I had a strained relationship before the drinking. She couldn’t stand that I was a tomboy. I had 2 older brothers so she wanted her daughter to be girly. I wanted to play softball and shoot stuff. Oops. Anyway, while all this is going on, I’m being abused. I mean she was dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night by the hair of my head. I caught many scotch glasses upside the head. My brother would drag her off me and put her to bed. My dad was working crazy hours because she wasn’t working again yet after the daycare and was spending crazy money on booze. My parents had to file bankruptcy with the help of attorneys for chapter 7 bankruptcy and were going to lose the house. Because of that, I decided not to tell my dad about the abuse. I couldn’t put that on him, my dad and I are really close. My mom promised to stop, went to rehab a few times, but we’d always find it. Her favorite hiding spot was behind her shoes in the closet. My mom finally started working nights at Walmart a town over. We lived in a dry county but there was the county on the other side of where she worked was wet. Can you guess where she went everyday after work? The liquor store of course. My brother moved out and I was 16 by this time. It was summertime, June 10, 2007. Mom worked nights so got home about 8 am and had a 5th of vodka gone by 9. She was beyond wasted. I had softball physicals that day and she was supposed to take me. When I told her it was time to leave, she lost it. I called my dad to let him know I wouldn’t make the physical. She had been outside tanning and came in and caught me on the phone. This sent her into a rage. She came at me harder than she ever had. We scuffed for a good while, and by we, I do legitimately mean her. I’m sure I said things I shouldn’t have but I never laid a hand on my mother. I grabbed her cellphone and the car keys and ran outside to lock myself in the car for protection and was going to get the hell out of there. I forgot there were 2 sets of keys so she made her way into the car as I climbed out the other side. When I got out she got out and yelled, “I’m going to blondie, I hate you!” Blondie is what we called my dad’s Winchester 30-30. She was going to shoot me. I’ve never been more scared in my life. I jumped in the car and drove off, calling my dad in the process. I didn’t even have a license yet even though I was 16. Dad told me to drive around until he got home from work. He got home and I went to the house. I got in the truck without either of us going in and he took me to my physical, where I saw all my friends and I looked like hell from the fight. I had to make up some bull crap story about why I looked the way I did. When we got back home, the cops were there. I lived right in a major highway across the street from someone I went to school with. Great. My mom was bleeding from falling and smelt like 100 Irishmen yet somehow the cops believed that I beat her up. My dad all but told the cops where to go and they let my dad and I pack a few things and leave. That’s how my dad found out about the abuse I had been going through for 3 years. We spent a couple nights with an uncle and then moved in with my aunt where we lived for the next 6 months. I slept on the floor and lost almost all of my belongings. I had visitations with my mom but it was awful. The verbal abuse was unreal. I was told many times I should have been aborted, that she never wanted me. I felt like it too. My aunt was very religious and it was partially her faith that kept me from losing mine. I was pissed at God but I knew deep down this was her decision, not His. My mom moved out, my parents lost the house, and my dog died. My mom bounced around, went to a few more rehabs, spent a couple nights in a drunk tank. My parents finally divorced a couple years later. She didn’t show up. At one point she faked cancer to get me and my brother to feel sorry for her. My brother got just as much verbal abuse as I did. Mom and I had to visit at the park because she wasn’t allowed to come to where my dad and I lived. We had a day planned to go shopping once and she showed up drunk and almost killed us both trying to drive. My brother had to come get me and yet another fight ensued. She married her ex-husband in 2011, my older brothers’ real dad. My brother got married in 2012 and that was the last time I spoke to my mom for 2 years. I couldn’t keep going through that though it didn’t stop the voicemails. In the meantime, she missed my proms and college graduation. She was at my high school graduation but I didn’t know it until years later. One day in2014, I got a call that she was in the hospital dying and of course I went. She was so swollen. Cirrhosis. The doctor told her the liver would heal if she would stop drinking. This started a long battle of hospitals and doctors but she never stopped. We got Power of Attorney a year later. Our relationship was still strained and I couldn’t hardly force myself to talk to her. In October of 2015 my step dad called me. This was unusual so I went to see them. She was dying. She couldn’t hardly stand or do anything. Within a week she was bed-ridden and not really talking. She quit eating the next week and eventually lost her battle on November 2nd. One of my last memories of her was the coroner wrapping her in a sheet and picking her up. The month of October was good. Both of my brothers came so she buried the hatchett with all 3 kids. Although we buried her peacefully, I’d be kidding myself if I said it didn’t affect me. She wasn’t there when I got married, she won’t be there when I have kids. I got through high school and college without her all on scholarships. I never missed an assignment in school even during the abuse. I knew to get above this, I HAD to get an education and I HAD to make something of myself. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to be like her, a dropout who didn’t have options. I got a degree in education and worked for DHS/Child Protective Services because I knew I had to help kids. The abuse I saw was horrific but I understood it from the child’s point of view. I could relate. I’m a teacher now and I still do everything in my power to let those kids know they have have options and that their circumstances do not have to define them. They have a future, they just need to go get it! Your situation, your family, and being from poverty mean nothing unless you let them. I was able to rise above all of those because I refuse to quit…and I had a damn good dad. I love the show guys!! You motivate me to embrace what makes me strong and I hope I can do the same for others.

Author: Abby