Trigger warning: Drug abuse and depressive talk.
Her chest heaves and falls, this ongoing rhythm creating an atmosphere of serenity and stillness. The AC vent on auto just above her head, a caramel-brown piece of hair dancing in the cool air. I stop typing up my next speech that I am planning to give in less than a week and look at my mum. My eyes start to get blurry as I fixate on this piece of hair flying around merrily. Just as it is pushed to the right, the hair stops dead. Falls back onto her closed eyes. Oh no. Not again. My heartbeat quickens as this small incident drags me down memory lane. The piece of hair dropping dead. The pills in my hand falling through my shaking fingers, the ground seeming to loom closer and closer, until nothing. Blackness. Then beeping and antiseptic smells. The blurred figure of my mother clutching onto my hand, her head trembling while tears stream down her eyes. The feeling of disgust as I pull my hand away. Her heart-broken eyes, willing to relay her deep love for me.
A shiver runs down my back as I agonizingly manage to pull my mind back into the present to look at her deep-set eyes and delicate hands that I once rejected. A surge of sudden hatred for past me clouds my mind, blocking everything else out.
How could I have been that wretched?
Another, smaller hair, picks up in the breeze, and I’m reminded of my days before I overdosed. I clench my teeth, knowing full well that I am impuissant to resist this sweeping force that pulls me back in time.
Fifteen-year-old me sneaking downstairs to get the hidden pills that had earlier given me the best feeling I’d ever felt. Hungry, craving that feeling, I knew I wouldn’t stop til I was in that untouchable bubble again. It felt ludicrous; never had I been this impassioned for something - and so badly too. The pills caught the light as my hand grasped them behind the cereal boxes. My eyes gleamed at the prospect of forgetting all my troubles and feeling good. It had been so long without all the worries of life, without all the nagging from my parents, without the pressure from school, without caring about everything. This seemed like the resolution to all my problems. I popped the pill and placed it in the back of my mouth, swallowing hard. I waited a while, growing impatient, before the pill started taking effect.
The events from that night there on, are obscure to me now.
Waking up the next morning, feeling groggy, my mind still hazy and disoriented. When my brain cleared up, the first thought that took the steering wheel in my mind was to get my hands on those pills again. The worries had started assailing my mind already, and I needed to be rid of them. This need seemed to take over without my permission; its promises of providing me with temporary relief adequate for my broken mind. The erudite thought lurked in the back of my mind. Knowing that I was hooked - that if I did it again, I wouldn’t stop. It was too weak.
Hazy memories of back-and-forth arguing between my mum and I fly through my mind.
Each one makes my anger boil more than the last. Looking back on it, It’s obvious who was right. She knew what was best for me.
The day she threw the pills out was one of the scariest for me. I searched the house through and through, but the garbage truck had already stopped off. I remember hysterically crying - deeming death better than life. It was the lowest of lows. My body, after being so reliant on the pills, was already reacting, unknowing how to take care of itself without aid. My dopamine unable to provide for me without the opioids to help. I willed my body to shut off - even if it was for a mere hour - and it obeyed. I felt sick to my stomach and thanked god for sleep as I nodded off.
These happenings occurred on the days I was unable to get my hand on pills.
The stormy night I was released from hospital for overdose was another rocky one. Unbelievable, I know, but I was still hungry for the pills. The desire coursed through my veins, louder in my mind than the thunder rumbling outside, causing my attention to wholly be on my desire.
My mother had changed over the course of the time that I had been hospitalized. You could spot the vigor within her watery grey eyes. The shield of robustness she built over her emotions. She wasn’t going to let me win this time. Not when I had come so close to death. Her voice used to tremble a bit when she would command me to do certain actions. Over time, that faded and we had some odd kind of bond over her being my mental health trainer.
Since I was absolutely disdainful toward the idea of going to rehab, my mother transformed herself into a personalized rehab. It's an understatement to say that I am fully flabbergasted that I had the audacity to mistreat her even following her showing that love for me in such a manner that I will evidently always be in debt for.
I know it couldn't have been easy.
All I remember was wanting to be inebriated again, the want so strong as to block out any other want. My mother was as tough as nails; it's what I needed. Slowly but surely, she stamped the darkness out of me. The want fading a little more everyday; the quotes I used to recite becoming less opaque in my mind.
She pulled me out of a hole I had thought too deep to climb out of. She showed me that spark of light. That spark of hope.
What I am today - a motivational speaker - is all because of her. I cannot even take a percent of that credit because it doesn’t belong to me. She shaped me into a person that never looks back. A person who won’t ever say ‘if only’. A person who aches to see his mother happy. The constant regret that assails my mind is good - it keeps my motivation at its peak, flaring up now and then.
It's my drive in the morning. The very thing that flings the covers off at precisely 6am.
All mothers birth their sons, but which mother is the hero of her son’s life?