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TITLE: The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree
By Felisa Walton

We all are the product of what we are brought up around in some form or fashion
ďThe Apple Doesnít Fall From the TreeĒ

Life hasn't always been good to me, feeling that something was missing inside of me came at an early age. In my heart, there was a vacant space where something should have been... I just didnít know what; a little girl at the time I had enough knowledge to know something inside of my heart was not right.

I am now 49 years old and I have truly been through some major emotional roller coasters which have now brought to this point. God saved me many years ago but I was not practicing faith. The bible tells me faith without work is DEAD!í James 2:26.

I started walking faith and not talking it. I can say with authority the vacant space I spoke about has been filled with the holy spirit of my lord and savior Jesus Christ. I can deal with all the feelings of abandonment by my alcoholic mother, bouts with substance, mental and physical abuse, being emotional absent for my own daughter and several suicidal attempts. I was bound but with God showing up my life it looks hopeful instead of hopeless.

My family which consisted of mama and daddy and us four kids, my sister was the oldest then my brother and there I was the third followed by my younger brother .We were one year apart in age accept for my older sister she was two older in age. I do remember my older sister helping out her younger siblings.

We lived in a quiet community. We were not rich but we had the necessities that most kids in the neighborhood had that we played with. That included food, shelter and clothes. My daddy saw to that because his father left his mother; he was the oldest. He had to be the man of the house before his time.

He had to drop out of school, cook, clean and care for his younger sister and brother. He vowed that when he had his own family he would never leave like his father had done. He kept that promise until he passed away. I knew him as my father and a great provider. He did whatever he had to keep his family together.

My parents were high school sweethearts. My daddy was a little older than my mama. She would often tell us kids that when she saw him at 14 years old; he was going to be her husband. That was one of the happy memories I still recall. My daddy stood 6 feet 3 inches and weighed in at 230lbs he was handsome and his body was well put together. Mama would say; he looked so good that he had more women that Van Camps had baked beans. We would always laugh when she told us the stories.

Mama was a short thing; she was 5feet 2 inches and weighed a mere 105 lbs. Though she was short when she got angry you would think she was a 6 feet giant, and the tone of her voice equaled in intensity and power. She would curse anyone out especially when she had been drinking which was all the time. She liked hard liquor: her choice was Gordon Gin. There were numerous fights, arguments between my parents as a result of her drinking.

I can still vividly see and remember being 8 yrs old. I was asleep along with my older sister and two brothers in our rooms. I heard mama pacing back and forth in the living room cursing loudly because daddy wasnít home yet and it was 3 am in the morning. Daddy would often gamble with the guys at all hours of the night that ran into the wee hours of the morning and mama knew this. I never knew why she got so mad. One thing was for sure. I knew she had been drinking heavily all day because that was the norm.

I heard the front door open and she lit into him before he was able to close the door. She cursed him out, called him all kinds of awful names, she would often call him a homosexual because after being married for over 25years they did not sleep together anymore. She wanted to say the meanest and most hurtful things to him. I never knew why but I guess my mama was hurting inside because they were not intimate anymore.

She continued cursing at him; she was all up in his face. She kept pushing and pushing until he could not take it. Daddy was use to these outbursts he had dealt with them longer than we had and most time he would leave the house just to avoid any fighting but when I heard a loud slap I knew what had happened.

I jumped up out of my bed and ran in the living room screaming for them to stop. When they did not I stepped my thin frame in between them with tears flowing from my eyes. ďPlease Stop! It must have worked because mama left, still cursing and daddy retired to sofa where he slept. Another word was not spoken between either of them. I ran backed to my room still crying.

I ran back to the room I shared with my sister thoughts started running through my mind about my siblings. Were they somewhere else? or were they just pertaining to be asleep, but for the life of me I could not understand with all that commotion that had just occurred that nobody else in the house moved but me; why didnít anyone come to help me.

Even today, all my siblings are alive and I have never asked them why? That was my first encounter with feelings of sadness, and isolation. It was at that point that I wanted to be a nurse to help people. I couldnít fix my mama and her drinking but I could sure help others. I never wavered from that dream of being a nurse because of the many encounters I witnessed between my parents.

After finishing high school, I went a junior college in our town. I received as Associate Degree in Science. Although passing the state board exam to get my registered nurse license was more than a challenge for me. I had to take it three times before I finally passed. I was determined that helping people was my calling. I didnít care how many time I had to take the test.

After I passed the test and became a registered nurse nothing gave more joy than being able to fix someone else the rewards were overwhelming. But on a sadder note the fighting continued and mama drinking increased.

I was at the time the only sibling left at home the others had left and was out on their own. I figured that they had enough of the messed that went on in out house. I was left there still trying to make some since of the drinking and why?

One thing for sure was the drinking had severely decreased her natural parenting skill. I for one never felt loved by her. I really canít speak for my siblings. It seemed to me that they always would down play her drinking like it wasnít a problem when they knew it was. We never got down to the nitty gritty about it they knew I hated it and I would let it be known.

I never remembered a lot of love flowing around our house; not many hugs or kissing toward us kids by either parent but mainly by mama. I mostly remember the many holidays as a family were ruined due to her drinking. Many things emotional bothered me about my mother and her drinking but the biggest aside form not feeling loved by her driving her to the store or run errands.

When we were out I was the only one out the siblings that knew when she was really drunk and she knew I hated taking her places when she was like that but she was my mother .She gave me life. To spite how much I hated her drinking I did what a daughter should do for her mother.

I took of her and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer later on I was there to take care of her until she passed away just as I did for daddy six years before.

It was embarrassing to me to watch her stumbling down the aisle not to mention the people in the stores that would stop and look at her there were even times she would even fall down coming out the store because she was so drunk. I wanted my mama so badly and as it seemed the more I tried to make that happen the further the alcohol took her away from me.

Our relationship was very strained due the drinking. I would always say: now that she has passed on. I wish I could have done things different but once she was gone it was too late. I still harbored feeling of guilt because I never was able to ask her why. I wanted her tell her I loved her but I was so dam mad at her that I could not look past the drinking. I regret that today.

Life was still going on and things had not changed but I was getting older. I felt a need for something to help to deal with the present situation and the situations to come. I felt I deserved that much. I would often ask God for a daughter, someone that could love me the way I needed my mama to do.

God is a good God and he looks beyond all the bad things we do and gives us our needs. I wasnít an exception. I was glad to know that because on November 7 1992 which is my own birthday I was blessed with a child a precious baby girl but before she was born I vowed even while she was still in my stomach that she would not have to wonder if I loved her.

I would read to her, sing to her. I had to push back the fact that her father used me up and threw me away like a used paper towel. At the point I was the happiest mother in the world. But I just knew that my little girl was the miracle I had be waiting for in my life.

Sadly for me, it didnít happen like I dreamed. In fact, prior to the baby I was already having relationship, and communication issues that had been overlooked or I just didn't feel the need to address them at the time.

Then after my daughter, I could really see the problems that were affecting me personally and professionally. I had so much unresolved stuff inside of me that I didnít know how to process it and life at the same time.

I would have moods swings. I would lash out at people, and if someone called to check on me or I had not been around. I would be very abrupt with them. Then after the call I would cry my self to sleep. I was labeled by my family, friends and co-workers as the person that didnít know how to talk to people. And I was labeled as having a hasty attitude.

Hearing this, I turned to isolation. I felt nobody understood the enormous pain I was in and I stuck out. That is the way I handled my problems it was all I knew I would cry all the time. Plus, with all the madness going on I still had a baby to take care of and I didnít know the first thing about taking care of a baby.

I have heard people say we all are a product of our surroundings we learn from what we see and grow up around. I could not parent her because I didnít know how to. All I knew and grew up around was anger, fighting and cursing and my mama drinking.

I inherited those traits without wanting them and because of that my baby girl suffered. I put her in situations she had no business being in. I remember allowing men to stay with us. This one man ended up stealing my car in exchange for drugs. I always managed to find the wrong men but I was on reckless search for someone anybody to love me know matter what I already knew about their character.

Throughout all the issues I had encountered I still hung on the faith that I had. I hung on for dear life. Because in a small space of my mind I beloved that my God, that same God, that had bless me with my daughter would help me again.

I continued to have flashbacks of my childhood along with dealing with life I still struggled and the pain I had spoke of was still present ant it cried out and I had to find something to take the sting off.

I had vowed as that 8 yr old child, I would never drink alcohol because I knew first had what it did to mama. But, I was sinking in pile of quick sand that was slow sucking me down. I started experimenting with recreational drug like weed. I was looking for a quick fix.

One day a friend offered me some cocaine because the weed just wasn't doing it... I tried it and I liked it. That was beginning of my bout with substance abuse. What that drug did for me was give me a numbing feeling: no thoughts about the past, or present, the bad relationships or guilt that I felt regarding my daughter. They could not gain entry in my messed up mind and the thoughts that were there were dormant.

I felt that my life couldnít have been any worst. At least I had some voice because I knew in my sick thinking the drug couldnít talk back to me, it did provide a momentary halt to my hurting heart hurt and the numerous problems that existed. At that point of my life I had control of nothing. I felt hopeless; I hated myself and just didnít care.

Those couple hours of that drug did give momentary relief but want it ended up doing was ruining my relationships with my daughter. In some strange way I was my mother .I put a drug before her and I hurt all the people that I loved and that loved me.

The apple didnít fall from the tree for me. Sadly, for me I had to face the painful fact that I was right where she was with drinking and although it wasn't alcohol my drug of choice put me a place that I didn't care about the others or their feelings at all.

Today I still struggle with unresolved issues, relationships problems and yes the drug. I closed my eyes and I can still see that scared 8yr old little girl that longed for love only ended up finding what I thought was love it in all the wrong people and things.

The search continues the demons still follow me; I fight every day for life. Even though I have on occasion tried to harm myself my God said No! When those times come I cling even the more to that part of my mind that stores my faith.

God wants me to let him fully fill that missing void with his love. His love is free: I lose nothing with him but people I have lost a lot. He continues to keep me safe and for that I say ďThank YouĒ...
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