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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October 18, 2008

I Know The Bum In The Alley

I heard a cough from the alley behind the gas station this morning. I was getting in my car for work and heard someone cough. I peeked around the alley and saw him laying there. He had a blue tarp on him and was coughing. He must have been cold. I thought who is that bum sleeping in the alley?

I went to the gas station and asked the girl who ran the place if she knew about this. She said she did not and we went to look at him. We looked at him and he looked back. He looked familiar to me. He kind of looked like someone I knew. I said, “Steve, is that you?”. It was indeed Steve.

We asked if he was alright and he said yes. He said that was as far as he made it from the bar last night. He had totaled his truck a while back. I knew what that meant. Most likely Steve got drunk and wrecked his truck. This was not the first time that he had problems due to his drinking and drug use.

Steve was an extremely handsome guy. I mean he cleaned up real good, trust me. He had many different looks though, depending on what he was doing at the time. There were times that i did not recognize him. Sometimes he looked like some hairy beast walking down the street, other times shaved and clean, like he could conquer the world. He could be extremely frightening, given the proper mixture of alcohol and/or drugs. I would steer clear of him then. When sober, he was the sweetest man you could possibly want to know.

Steve also had a mental illness. I am not sure if it was bipolar or what, but there was some sort of mental illness there from what I remember him telling my husband. Maybe that is how or why he continues to drink. Maybe to calm himself down. I am sure that he has the addictive gene.

There was a time when he got crazy and freaked out and swung some gigantic chain around in the middle of the street, actually in the middle of the bridge that comes into our little town. The cops came, and took him to the mental ward and jail later. He has been in and out of both more times than he can count.

He got married once to the love of his life. They had a little boy, the apple of his eye. Steve really “got clean” several times in order to stay out of jail and to raise his little boy. He did for a time, but I don’t know what happened. All I know that is now, I don’t see him with his little boy at all. I don’t see him with his truck. I only see him occasionally walking around town, or laying in the alley covered with the blue tarp.

The love of his life also has an addiction problem. I have not seen her for years, but all of the years that I knew her, she drank and drank and drank. She also used drugs. She had 3 other children before “apple boy.” The first two she raised through the drinking. The next one she lost to his father due to her drinking. I believe she lost the “apple boy” also.

I know that Steve has been in and out of rehab several times. He went through the best treatment as his parents are wealthy and footed the bill. I am not sure why it “didn’t take” for Steve. I would imagine it came down to choice again.

I have no idea what it is like to crave alcohol or drugs so bad that you would do anything, sacrifice anything for it, even your own child. I can try to understand, knowing about addiction and how it works. But I will never ever understand there even being a “choice” between your addiction and your child. I am not meaning to judge really, but it is hard not to when it comes to the child. Having a child would make the choice for you, in my mind. It is just beyond my understanding. I guess the addiction is bigger than anything.

Yes, I know the bum in the alley. I hope and pray for him. I pray that he will be able to someday stay strong in his choice to stay clean, I pray that he will stay clean for himself. I pray that he will stay clean so that his son will have a father. I pray that he will stay clean so that he may also have “the apple of his eye” back in his life.

” For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” Zech 2:8

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