Losing Yourself

February 20, 2011
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I love to watch the birds fly; they are living examples of being content and carefree, feelings which I haven’t felt in a long time...
“This is the last straw she’s killed herself; I’m going to have to bury my daughter.” My mum paced rhythmically with the beep of my heart monitor. Her midnight hair flowed effortlessly below her shoulders; her angelic smile appeared to have not existed. “This was it.” I thought, I had been caught. Five years was the penalty, I was going to jail. Mia would have to stay with my parents. I reflected back on my decisions, my wrong-doings. I was the lousy mother, the mum who couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t face the disappointment, the grousing, the tears; I just kept my eyes shut hoping I would fall asleep and never wake up.
For those three years, however I changed; I stopped taking drugs and even payed attention to my daughter. Her illness seemed to of gone, her living in a cleaner environment helped. I knew that it was such a simple cure, a simple need that she required from me, but I just couldn’t follow it. I found a guy, Ryan. He was kind generous and even accepted Mia; I was so content for those few years. I remember lying on the beach; Mia playing happily with the seagulls her short stringy hair dancing in the wind. Ryan sitting next to me telling me how much he loved me how much he cared. But my luck never lasted long. I pushed Ryan away made some sappy excuse for him to leave and I was left alone once more. To fill this emptiness I somehow thought that Mia could come and live with me, that was the worst mistake I have ever made.
“Look mummy, I painted a picture of us!” Mia scrambled toward me. Her hair was pale almost white, as the sun brushed it an iridescent glow omitted through the blonde mane, sparkling like a running stream. Her stunning sapphire jewels showed love and affection, which broke my heart every time I stared for too long. I was on drugs again, and seeing her surmounted me with a pang of guilt. Sad to say, but that was the best and clearest memory I have of her, my past is just a mass of blurs.

I made a horrible decision of visiting my mother. “She needs to live with us, you’re not stable.” Her monotonous voice was like a bullet to the heart.
“I’m fine. And don’t bother trying to take her away from me!” I snapped back, with the same abrupt honesty.
“You see, it’s the drugs. What’s it this time, cocaine? Heroin?“ Gritting her teeth she brushed past me, malice in her voice.
“No you can’t see! I am NOT taking drugs I am looking after my daughter and making a living!” I retorted.
“What? 20p an hour? It’s a wonder how you’re still alive, living on baked beans and toast are we?”
I felt every emotion burst at once, all I wanted was my mother to tell me it was okay that everything would be alright, but she never did, and probably never would say that, not to me anyways. Frustration and anger was all that I could express. “I hate you! Look at you- a spiteful old woman.” I clipped those last words with as much menace as I could, and ran out the house without a word of goodbye.
It’s funny, but throughout the whole of my teenage years I prayed for my mum’s death wish. My mum comes and visits me now but it’s awkward and only necessary to keep up appearances. We lost respect between each other when I turned fourteen; I dated a guy five years older, and started taking drugs around that time too. At fifteen I was pregnant with Mia; I was only sixteen years old when I had her. Even then when Mia was living me I was still young. Mia was three years old and I was nineteen, still a teenager. It’s funny how you reflect back on life and it just doesn’t seem like yours.
I refrained from taking drugs when I was pregnant, consequently I started smoking. Mia was an hour old and she was diagnosed with tracheobronchomalacia, it’s a disease that prevents her from breathing properly. She is constantly coughing and wheezing, sometimes she can’t even breathe. She was suffering for my mistakes and I knew it wasn’t right. I hate to think of the times when we were both in hospital. Me for overdosing and her, for the illness because of it. My mum lost all value and trust for me after she discovered her only granddaughter’s illness.
I slowly wheel myself to the other side of the rooftop; it stands right next to a cafe, which always smells of apple pie. I barely come this side of the rooftop my aching heart can only take so much pain.
Apple pie always reminds me of my dad. He was the only man I ever truly loved and admired; he never lost faith in me. Staggering back home drunk out of my mind he would look after me, and then make his famous apple pie that I would indulge in until I had fully recovered. Just thinking about it, makes a tear solemnly escape from my vibrant rainforest eyes specked with yellow rays of sunshine. He had the same eyes as me; in fact many people said we were like twins with his young features, and smile wrinkles. He had wise and striking white hair, and could tell you stories that would keep you occupied for hours. I remember the day he died, it was one of the occasions I wasn’t stoned, and he had been having stress recently subsequently after it was established he was hospitalised.There was a risk of the stress triggering his on-going battle with cancer. He never said it at the time but I found out the stress was because of me. I held him in my arms and watched him die; he told me if we sang he wouldn’t go. So we sang “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” his favourite fisherman song of all time. But our theory never worked, on that same day as the lunatics from the third floor sang, Joseph Thomas Miller died of stress and cancer. He never told me, but he would worry about me every night and finally it took a toll on his weak heart.
He seemed so strong, so content, and so secure; I never would have imagined that he would become as weak as he was. It was never meant to end that way, I was supposed to fulfil his desire for me to be successful, since I was their only child. I was meant to be the doctor, the lawyer, the prosperous businesswoman, uncanny how my life really turned out to be.
It was the summer of 1999 my dad had passed away only a few months ago, my mum and I hadn’t talked since his funeral and Mia was living with me. She was five years old and had just started primary school. I was probably the lowest I had ever been, at twenty one years old I was taking every drug imaginable, depressed and just walking through life not fully there. Mia wasn’t any better her trachea was becoming worse because of my constant smoking around her, but I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t admit to the doctors my own disease, my addiction, the secret that only now one other person knew. This addiction ruined my life.
I am going to tell you about this day which is probably the worst day of my life, and the guilt that I am burdened with because of it, is inconceivable...
“Mummy I’m hungry what’s for dinner? I haven’t eaten all day.” Mia groaned, insistently rubbing her stomach which was beginning to dangerously irritate me. I was just taking another swig of cocaine and she had interrupted, I felt no sympathy. No one got in the way of the bond between the drug and I.
“Get something out the freezer, and shut up!” I snapped, aggression seething out of my body. She started crying, however I ignored her. I had become immune to her tears, her hiccups, and her moans. I was yearning for the numb feeling I got after the drug, then I would feed her. After a while, she gave up like a new she would. Her face was stained with tears her blue eyes looked almost purple with how red they were. I was a monster, I watched my daughter pleading for food and all I could think about was the drugs. I wasn’t with it after that, I can only remember snippets of what happened next.
I started smoking in the kitchen whilst she was trying to make some sort of dinner; I was so juvenile I wanted to get her back for interrupting me. I knew the fumes would trigger her disease: I wanted her to pay! As planned, she started coughing; I remember sniggering to myself as she gasped for pure air. Consequently this got out of hand. She started coughing up blood and I remember sheer panic rushing through my body.
“I love my daughter!” I thought in my head. I was losing myself, how could I sabotage my own daughter’s life? I grabbed a cup from the first cupboard I saw and got some water. I didn’t know what to do! I quickly forced the water down her throat, trying to stop at least the blood. That just made it worse. She started vomiting and her mouth was turning blue. She had green blotches all over her skin, I could tell she was losing oxygen and blood fast. I wasn’t right, I couldn’t think properly I ran to grab a telephone dialled 999 but I wasn’t looking where I was going, I tripped and my head smacked onto the table: I passed out instantly.
They were too late. Mia, beautiful loving and loyal died that day because of me. I was supposed to go back to prison but I’m unwell. Ten years of drugs is practically suicide. I am in a wheelchair, alone. I have sensitive eyes and always have to wear sunglasses; I have heart, lung and liver problems, and my best hobby is sitting here on the rooftop watching the birds. I envy them; they’ve got a better life than I have ever had. I just want to fly with the birds and have the freedom and relief that they have. If I just wheel off I know they’ll catch me, and for the first time in many years I know I’ll be relieved of my guilt, of my mistakes, of my losses, and just be me, Caroline Miller.

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