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  • reidsherria

Mental deaths are the hardest

I pretended my mother was dead. For years. It was easier than stressing over her existence.

You see, I'm either far left or far right. Haven't mastered the gray area. It is my proven opinion that great leaders master the color gray. The Bible says too much of anything will ruin us all. Gray matters.

My white option is to simply accept and acknowledge my mom for who she is. And that, at any given point, I could receive a call that she has overdosed in someone's crack house. Or that she died years ago under Jane Doe. Or could it be that she'll end up like my paternal aunt, found badly beaten in an abandoned building on Division Street. Leaning to the right/light/white requires me to meet reality on its terms. If that happens, I become a nervous wreck. I won't be able to sleep. I'll drive hours daily to make sure she's okay. I'll buy her a home to make sure she doesn't die in someone else's. I'll worry myself into a heart attack worrying about her daily existence. When I care, it's deep. It's a grave sense of worry that makes me anxiety ridden and empathetic.

My black option is death. I pretend she's dead and it stings but at least: I'm not worried that she'll die daily, her only grandson won't keep inquiring about her, I level set my expectations of her involvement, I don't make myself responsible for her life and the outcome of it, I don't feel the immense guilt of the scriptures that outline loving and caring for your parents, I don't have to answer questions from my friends, and I can save myself from any and all future embarrassment.

These options sound harsh and cruel. I have spent one too many days dog-smacking-the-shit out of my mother attempting to revive her from her repeated overdoses. Shit is draining. Having to do the same for my father was equally taxing.

I spent years researching 'How to forget someone and move on for good.' There were about three suggestions I recall that stood out to me: 1) Write your feelings down, 2)Work on yourself, and 3) change your lifestyle. It boggled me that in an effort to erase someone from your life, most of the effort has to go into changing yourself.

Who would've thought that looking within and developing myself could be better than the black, white or gray option.

Today, when I look within, I see nothing more than an almost 40 year old who wants to celebrate her momma instead of pretending like her momma is dead. An awesome 40th birthday would be dressing my momma in a black tie dress, getting her makeup and hair done, and honoring her. I am certain that she feels like shit--why else would someone be addicted to crack and heroine for decades. Maybe she has undiagnosed mental illness and was self-medicating? I could go on. I just want her to feel good outside of the high of drugs.

I want to honor her for having a WAP or whatever the hell you wanna say. My momma has kept a man. And her men have always taken care of her turning over their whole checks and driving her ass around. She has never worked. Who am I to judge how she hustles? Even with missing teeth, she got these ninjas paying all her bills.

My momma has always been loyal. Loyal to heroine, Jo-ann, and her son. She is a huge fan of her sister and her son. These are her favorite people. She did any and everything for both of them.

My momma has taught me survival. My God! She taught me what she knew in the short period that she had.

I want to honor her for creating such a beautiful soul. I'm awesome and she deserves a bow and round of applause for the contribution. I appreciate her.

My momma is good. I bought her a home. She ain't dying in a crack house. And she has food delivery...sustenance. Can't control much from there, but that's not my job.

I've mastered GRAY.

My ONLY job is to love and extend gratitude.

On this upcoming 40th, I honor Regina #NoMiddleName Butler, never married, never employed, middle school educated, mother of two awesome kids, aunt to three nieces/nephews and the bitch who created survival 101. Thanks for the lessons. I AM your legacy!

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