I sat there on the cold stairs. The family was inside the house and the table was full of food. I hadn’t seen her in over 16 years. I was just a 9 year old when the rug was ripped out from under me, and everything I knew in life would suddenly change. It’s crazy to think that needles on the floor, and screaming insults can feel like home to a child who doesn’t know there is something different. Yet I can tell you, it was even more of a hell to grow into an adult and realize how damaging the demons my mother couldn’t give up were.
I remember that cold day, on those stairs. Tears couldn’t fall though they were held back like a cracked dam holding a swell of water. Everything in me wanted to burst out, yet every bit of strength in me held back the flood, and only asked her one simple question. You see she is my mother, and though she wounded me so, something in me never wanted to wound her. So I asked so simply, “What Happened?” That simple question was so loaded though. It held so much more.
“Why did you leave? Why did you choose drugs over me? Why couldn’t you tell me my worth instead of tear me down? Why didn’t you search for me? Did you want me? Do you think I should have even been born? Do I matter to you?”
Yet the look in her eyes said everything. It was the look of pain, shame, and grief. It was a look I chose to never forget. A look I never wanted my child to see, not in me, from me, or because of me. Her words that day are the echoes in the back of my mind that pushes me forward. She said, “I couldn’t stop doing what I was doing, so I had to give you up.” Those words were enough, enough to validate the pain I had seen. Enough to validate the years I had wondered, and enough to make me realize I want something different for my child.
Acres of Hope is a place that helps women turn their lives around, so they don’t know the potent agony and shame that comes from the demons that many just can’t give up. At Acres of Hope mothers lead a legacy of transformation. So that no matter what they have come, or what the root causes of their lives spent in generational cycles of trauma, foster care systems, and homelessness does not have to be the lasting effect on their stories. Those cycles are not passed on to their children. For the women of Acres of Hope those demons are defeated.
This is why Acres of Hope matters,