Girls Without Shoes

October 28, 2008

Gemmey’s Mom

Filed under: non-fiction,short pieces — girlswithoutshoes @ 6:31 am
Tags: , ,

Gemmey’s Mom can’t take it anymore. She is sure she is going to loose her mind. He screams and screams and beats on her. She just doesn’t know what is wrong with him. He does not talk, he just screams.

He is almost 2 years old and has not even said “Mama”. It breaks her heart. She is pretty sure that he is autistic. He is showing the signs. The social workers think so. She has some literature to read and has had meetings with a specialist.

She loads him into the stroller and walks down the street to the little market. You can hear Gemmey letting out a shrill scream every so often as she walks him. She goes into the market and directly to the beer case, where she picks out two 40 oz. of the cheapest beer. That will do for now. She smiles tensely and chats with the girl at the counter and looks nervously about as Gemmey lets out another scream. She has got to go! “Bye now! Have a good day!”

She goes back home and pours herself a beer and gets Gemmey to settle down for a morning nap. Finally. Thank God. Then she reads some material on autism given to her dreading the facts. Her husband has already left her. She loved him so. But they fought. When they drank, they fought. He has been very little help with Gemmey. He wants to see him, but she is afraid. She is afraid he will steal Gemmey away from her. She would loose her mind without that baby. She has lost 2 before to miscarriages. She has another beer. Then another. She is buzzed pretty well by the time Gemmey wakes up.

She feeds him lunch and plays a little with him, then off they go. Into the stroller again. Into the little market again. To the beer case again. Two more 40 oz. cheap beers. Her demeanor is more relaxed and she is laughing a little as she converses with the girl at the counter this time. Gemmey yells loudly. She uses some sign language on Gemmey that she learned from the social worker. The sign stands for , “Need help” as she asks Gemmey, “Need help Gemmey ?”. It is time to go. Off for a walk down by the river. Gemmey’s mom says, “See ya later sweetie!” to the girl at the counter.

It is mid afternoon when the girl at the counter is getting off of work. She sees Gemmey and his mom going by heading for home. Gemmey is sleepy looking in his stroller and his mom is sleepier looking. His mom is walking in a weaving pattern down the sidewalk. She slurs her speech as she tells the girl to “Have a good day and see you tomorrow.” She and Gemmey are going home for a later afternoon nap. Actually almost evening nap.

She appears hours later looking rugged with Gemmey in tow. She is on her way to the little market again. She is with some guy she met down at the river and they are both heading to the beer case. More 40 oz. beers are bought. Twice more that evening, they come back for more before the market closes. By the last time, she is almost in a blacked out state, you can see from the way her eyes look. There is an almost vacant look about them. If you have ever seen anyone blacked out from too much alcohol, you will know what I mean. It is a look like none other. It is like the person is there physically, but that person is literally gone in a temporary alcohol haze. She stumbles and weaves her way down the street with her friend and her son.

Her days are filled with a similar routine, over and over. Eventually someone calls the cops when they cannot get her to answer her door in the middle of the day and she is discovered drunk with her baby awake inside the house. Children’s Services is called in and her son goes to foster care.

She goes to rehab twice. She makes it through one 30 day program. She gets Gemmey back. She tries not to drink. She really tries. It is just too hard for her. She is down on her luck, no money, no husband to help her, no car with an autistic child. It is just too much for her and she begins again to drink.

Her husband shows up and they talk about getting back together. They drink together and walk Gemmey around town. Later in the evenings, they argue and fight. It gets violent. She gets a knife and slices his tires. There is a lot of screaming and cussing and he goes after her. He leaves and takes Gemmey with him.

Eventually, she looses custody of Gemmey to her husband. He can only handle Gemmey for so long and puts him up for adoption. She looses Gemmey forever. She drinks more.

Gemmey’s mom is a very sweet, loving and funny young woman………when she is not drunk. Gemmey’s mom is hindered by her drinking problem. Gemmey’s mom looses 2 more children throughout the next few years. Gemmey’s mom now lives on the streets. Gemmey’s mom “Needs Help”.


Dear God, please grant her the serenity to accept the things that she cannot change, courage to change the things that she can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.


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4 Comments »

  1. If this is not a true story, then it is definitely too similar to too many real cases. It breaks my heart.
    The way you told this was beautiful, made me really start to tear up towards the end.

    It is a true story, about a friend of mine years ago. I cannot keep up the friendship anymore, it is so destructive. Very sad, very true.

    Comment by slightlyignorant — October 28, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  2. How utterly heartbreaking… Do they just grow them this way in your town? Do you live anywhere near Arcata, CA by chance??? Seems alot of the same folks from there too…. Dang!

    It is a small town, so we know most folks here. Most of the people I have written about know each other. In fact, the “Bum in the Alley” at one time was hanging out with Gemmer’s Mom. Bad combo, those two. Both are extremely sweet and caring people minus the addiction.

    Comment by Amber — October 28, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

  3. too bad…poor Gemmey she is so young to experience this and if theres some sign of being autistic she needs really help,early prevention can help her a lot..i understand also her mum but i do hope she realized that drinking will not help her in this kind of situation…i hope the baby is fine wherever she is now, shes a special child who needs a special love and care…which i do hope her family can give..

    That was many years ago , hopefully Gemmy has had that extra special love and care that his mom was not capable of giving due to her alcoholism.

    Comment by rhosie — October 31, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  4. So very sad, the saddest being is that one day she will feel the full extent of the damage caused by her addiction and then it will be too late. You are right when you say that she needs help. So sad, thanks for this – stories like these really do need to get out!

    Comment by SanityFound — November 2, 2008 @ 3:12 pm


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