When I was 3 years old and I saw you sick in bed, the cancer killing you slowly, I decided to latch onto you as hard as I could. I made it my mission to never be away from you. When you would go out with friends I would call you over and over; when you went on trips I would panic; when I would try to go to sleepovers I would call you in the middle of the night for you to come get me every single time. If the phone rang when you were at a dinner party all of your friends would say “There is Courtney!” I thought that if I never let you out of my sight you would never leave me. But I was wrong. 12 years ago today you slipped away.
Up until recently, time has stood still for me. I have made big decisions that have led to big changes and I have watched the world around me change, but inside my head I have been stuck searching for the comfort and love that I lost when I lost you. I sought happiness from drugs and alcohol, but they left me feeling depressed and anxious much longer than they left me feeling happy. I sought out relationships but ended up destroying them through lies and cheating because miserable people don’t know how to be loved.
I found a letter that you wrote on September 17, 1998 to your brothers and sisters explaining the reasons you had cut off contact with them. “For the last two years I prayed and often begged for guidance as the world I had relied upon began to crumble. Suddenly, although it wasn’t suddenly at all, I was out of rhythm with life. My old life wasn’t working and I found myself having a major identity crisis. For many years I have felt empty and lonely inside. I lived life pretending, for the most part, to be somewhat happy. I was not honoring myself or my health and ultimately anyone else.” You go on to talk about your constant battle with depression, your dependency on alcohol, your lack of passion, and your inability to find meaning and purpose in life. When I finished reading the letter it dawned on me that I hadn’t learned from your mistakes, I was reliving them. I had picked up exactly where you left off.
12 years ago today, you lost the chance to find the happiness that you so desperately wanted. You lost the chance to help others and to travel and be a good mother and to be able to accept the love that so many people wanted to give you. The thing I seemed to have forgotten is that you lost that chance, not me. I am still here and I am still able to fight like hell to enjoy life the way I should have been enjoying it all along. I am still here to break the cycle. I have no idea what I am going to do or how I am going to do it, but I know that I want to help people. I want to help people help other people. I am going to figure out a way to do this because helping people is what makes me happy and from now on I am not settling for anything less than happy. I love you Mom.