Throwback article: My parents’ lifestyle taught me to live

I wrote this for my column in the Spartan Daily. I had always try to write personal things that could teach people something. This subject was extremely personal and is often something I think about as an adult. I think about my parents when I’m struggling and when I’m talking to my therapist about my deep rooted insecurities. I’m still trying to do better by them, do better than them.

 

First published Dec 9, 2014

I was 5 years old when my mother died.

I have been thinking about her a lot lately. I never got to know her as a person.

She has always been a ghost in my mind.

I was not able to go to her funeral because of family issues.

Because I never said goodbye, I could not receive a proper closure.

Her memory has always inspired me to continue on the path that I am on.

I’m sure my mom did not live the ideal life.

She was surrounded by violence and drugs and had no support.

I don’t know much of her story, but I do forgive her circumstances.

I used to be so angry with her.

Growing up, I would blame her for all my problems.

We were poor because mom left us.

I had emotional problems because I never had a mom growing up.

I didn’t trust adults because my mom abandoned me for drugs.

Although these statements might be true, I don’t blame her anymore because she is not here to defend herself.

I found out the dad I never knew died when I was 15.

Years later, I obtained a copy of his death certificate along with my mom’s.

I found out they died of     cocaine overdoses.

My parents were the crackheads I often hear people joke about.

The Center for Disease Control classifies a drug overdose as “drug poisoning.”

The International Overdose Awareness Day website states, “Drug overdose was responsible for 41,340 deaths in the US in 2011.”

The organization’s website also states that between 2008 and 2011, “the number of US citizens whose deaths were drug-related exceeded the number of fatalities in road traffic accidents (33,561).”

The more I learn about drug use, the more I understand that drug addicts are not bad people, they just need help.

According to http://dualdiagnosis.org, addiction and depression are common comorbid conditions, which means the ability of drug-addicted individuals to function is low.

I hated my mom for choosing drugs over her children and I hated my dad for never trying to be in my life.

But the more I dwelled on my dead parents, the further I slipped     into depression.

Realizing this I began to understand and accept the fact that maybe each of my parents were depressed and addicted to drugs.

Maybe they were stuck in a vicious cycle they could not escape.

I now know that a person dealing with depression can often resort to self-medicating their pain.

This makes me sad because I know there was nothing I could have done to help my parents.

I am sure they had this problem way before I was even a twinkle in their eyes.

Growing up, I always used my mother as an example of what not to be as an adult.

I want to be better than my parents.

My mother did not graduate high school, so I made it a goal to graduate.

I am the first of my siblings to go to college and have a chance at getting a degree.

I want to prove to others I can better myself despite coming from a less fortunate background.

I surround myself with people who support me.

I surround myself with people who love me.

I still have a long way to go before I reach my goals.

But letting go of past events helps me move forward and live my life to the fullest.

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