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Reaching back into the depths of my memory, I distinctly recall a single sentence spoke to me when I was a young girl. That one line of words has haunted me all the days of my short life. I had put trust into that group of syllables, only to be left in the dark.
“I promise I won't ever leave you again.” It is a line that was spoken by my mother when I was roughly nine years old. The moment that those words rolled off my mom's tongue and filled my ears, I assumed every bit of agony I had gone through was well over. I thought everything was going to be peachy from that point on, but how foolish I was to believe. My hopes had been tossed sky high, carrying along with them my childhood and ability to live simply. Every bit of my life delicately hung in the sky. A single gust of wind could have knocked everything down, crushing all hope within my juvenile soul. I put too much into those words, so much that when they were broken, I was out of luck and left dazed.
My mother, Marina, was a woman who loved living. She had a wise outlook on the world, constantly reminding everyone around her on how beautiful every detail was. Her laugh had the tendency to echo for miles, making every ear who heard it perk up and spread joy. My mom wore bright, flowered dresses that blew around her legs in the wind. She would walk into a field of wildflowers and go crazy gathering them, only to get attacked by bees or ants. The entire back of the blue van would be covered in sunflowers by the end of the day. When we'd drive home she'd always have the windows rolled down with music blasting from the speakers. She'd sing on the top of her lungs while holding a cup of soda in her hand. I'll never forget the way she would look at me as we watched the sun go down over the city sky line.
My mother's heart was pure gold, one that was tarnished with negative choices. Beyond all of her inner wonder, a trail of drugs and illegal activity clouded her sunny smile. All the years of my living with her, I remember her constant mood swings. Her mouth would hang wide open as she slept for days on the living room couch. I would look over at her during the day to see her laying there motionless, and I'd fear that my own life would lead me to a three legged, wobbly couch. I would cry silently inside myself, concerned for my loving mother's life. I felt yearning to try to help her in some way, but I was told by my father that there was nothing that a little girl could do. I was simply crushed, but on with my life I went.
Good and bad times passed by the day. Sometimes my mother would be up cleaning, but other times she'd be half conscious with a pool of drool forming on the pillow. Some days her wavy black hair would be put up in a tight bun, but on other occasions it was in a tangled spiders web, threatening any comb that dared attempt to tame it. Nothing seemed to effect me much at such a young age. Everything was perfect in my elementary school life. I had not a single problem with my family or school, I was just happy to have everyone together. Thinking back now, I felt that I was almost blind to the world around me. World events or problems effected me in no way whatsoever.
When I was in first grade my mother had got up and left for a month. We didn't hear from her at all, she could have been dead and my family wouldn't have even known. My high school aged brother cared for me at night when my father was working. The night she came back she cried into my long, dark brown hair and promised me she'd never do it again.
Over the years my life swirled in and out with the tide. My mother's problem with drugs and depression lingered on, making everyday a challenge to get through. Money was wasted trying to help her problem, but no progression was ever made. My parents would fight in the evening over the simplest of things, making the dinner meal a unfavored time.
After the death of my grandfather when I was ten, everything started to boil up. My mother was as awkward as ever, adding to the problems. One day near Easter my mother was acting particularly peculiar. My father went outside to see what was wrong. I seen my parents arguing by the gate from my seat at the front window. My mother was crying as my dad lead her inside. My mom took me in her arms and cried for many moments. During those few minutes my feelings inside stirred with confusion. There was something wrong, I could sense it, but what it was I had not an idea. My mother pulled away and wiped her nose on the back of her long, slender hand. Her big brown eyes looked into mine as she said goodbye forever. She said that eventually things would work out and that she'd always love me. With tears in her eyes she walked out the door, leaving me to grow up never understanding why. My father sat on the couch trying to keep back tears. I was on my knees at the window, watching my mother sit on the bumper of the van waiting to be picked up and carried away. My heart wrenched out and hot tears rolled down my cheeks by the hundreds. I cried until I was gasping for breath. I watched her get into a unfamiliar car and drive off down the street, never to return. I sat their for hours screaming for my mama, but no such wish ever came true. The tears that fell from my cheeks, leave a stain on my heart, forever marking me of that day. I was abandoned by my mom, left to live my life thinking what I could have done to help her. If only I had walked outside to talk to her that day, if I had maybe just gave her a goodnight kiss the night before.
Over the next few months I had to grow from a innocent ten year old to a person who could take care of themselves. I shut myself up inside, hoping that if I ignored the obvious the pain couldn't effect me. My brother was gone in the army and my mother had left. I felt alone in my world, like there was no one to talk to. My father tried to keep me in good spirits, but I could see that he was just as miserable as I was. Every time I cried he would whisper in my ear that eventually the pain would die away, that eventually everything would be okay. I had a hard time believing him, for just a few years before I thought the same thing, only to be left disappointed and heartbroken.
Over the years the pain did grow dull. Every once in awhile the agony will hit me like a wave, throwing me helplessly back to the day that I said farewell to my careless living. On the days that I cry and reminisce I realize that the pain never goes away. That pain will be with me all the hours of my life, only being put farther and farther into the back of my mind.
I talked to my mother over the phone occasionally, and during the summer we visited her. She had decided to go to Montana, where she had been born and raised. She would cry to me over the phone, making my own heart swell and leak with sadness. Over and over again she would say how sorry she was for leaving, and how she regretted it with all her might. I forgave her, but I still wonder what exactly caused her to leave her child. I just can't understand what could bring a mother to such extreme measures.
Now, so many years after that miserable day, I still think to myself about my mother and how she touched my life. I can still see her wearing flowers in her hair while singing a sweet tune. I can smell her thick perfume scent from across the country. I can still see the glint of her silver ring on her finger. I am her daughter, she is my mother. I love her as I always have. Everywhere I go I take part of her with me, whether its the brown eyes she gave me at birth, or the ability to see the face on the moon's surface. The number of states or miles between us does not hold us apart. Forever will I remain in her, just as she is in me.