That’s a photo of my Mother holding me up by my crotch in 1978, the year I was born.
She died early Sunday morning (September 6), sometime shortly after midnight or so. She was 51 years old. How did she die? Well, I’m sure official medical records will show something involving complications from cirrhosis, or something like that. I would call it suicide. Slow, reckless suicide. She started abusing her body at age 9, and (aside from hospital stays) never went a day without intentionally ingesting some form of poison into herself. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, “medication”, whatever it was, it was always something.
Like so many people I know, she just liked to party. Consistently. She wasn’t some dark junkie laying a corner, unable to function. Well, not until much later, anyway. She liked to go out, and she liked to have fun. Luckily for her, having a child didn’t have to slow her down too much, thanks to her adopted parents, otherwise known as my “grandparents”. If it weren’t for them, I have no idea what my life would have been like. I spent the vast majority of my childhood and adolescence living with them, with my mom also living there on and off. Mostly on. She would disappear for hours, and sometimes days or longer with not so much as a mention as to where she might be going or what she might be doing. Of course, at a certain age that part became more clear to me.
It was this fucked up behavior, combined with her young age (she had me at age 20) that made her so obviously the “cool mom” to all of my friends and trouble-making teenagers in my neighborhood. She took us to the drive-in, the mall, concerts, and there wasn’t much that was off-limits. You could smoke, drink, curse, and puff on some joints all under the watchful eye of my mother. As a rebellious kid who thrived on dirty rock n roll and heavy metal, I knew that it was my job to be nothing like my parents. So my path was clear from pretty early on; I had to be straight edge. Thanks, Mom.
Speaking of music, I have to thank her for that one as well. As a kid, my mom had music playing constantly. Too many to name, but the list was as diverse as my current music library. Black Sabbath and Teena Marie were among her first gifts to me, along with the first Mötley Crüe album. Queen, Dio, W.A.S.P., AC/DC… she was a rocker. She took me to my first concert (Michael Jackson/The Jacksons) on September 2, 1984, my second concert (Iron Maiden) on July 22, 1988, and countless others after that. When I was a teenager, it was more like her just going to the same show I was going to because we dug the same bands. Like White Zombie for example. I can’t tell you how often my Mom had on a fucking White Zombie t-shirt. She bought me my first bass when I was in high school, and was always very supportive of my musical endeavors.
In the end, she was stubborn. As medical issues started to appear, she could have altered her behavior. She knew what she was doing, and chose to continue on her path. And make no mistake, the vice that did the most damage to my mother, without question, was cigarette smoking. Yeah she fucked with some hard drugs in her day, and she had some periods of frequent drinking, but those cigarettes were constant.
My relationship with her was up and down for sure. I’ve felt close to her at times, but also extremely angry and resentful. I hated the fact that she did so much wrong, but seemed to be given such an easy ride. Constantly forgiven and bailed out of everything she got herself into. I’ve also made it clear that those people, mainly my grandmother, contributed greatly to her untimely demise by never forcing her to do things right. My Mom knew that no matter how much of a fuck-up she was, that she had a free house to live in, with virtually no responsibilities whatsoever. I was very vocal about the fact that she should be thrown out of the house and forced to be an adult, for her own good. That never happened, she never learned to be responsible, and she’s dead at 51 because of it.
Darwin will grow up without grandparents from my side, which is very sad to me. My dad is technically still alive, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s as dead as my mother is. This was the final step in taking away everything that I can call family, aside from Darwin.
Despite my hesitance to express it in recent years, I did love my Mother. I’m sad that she’s gone, especially for Darwin’s sake, and I’m sorry that it had to happen the way it did. Peace out, Mom.