BECAUSE LIFE WAS ON THE LIST

My daughter decided to attend her junior prom, and it was pretty wonderful to be a part of — even though she might literally be the most ungrateful person on Earth. I simply tried to enjoy myself around her demands, attitude and sass; to see through them. After all, she was anxious and excited, and I knew none of it was personal. 

It was truly an honor to drop her off, and I know later in her life – after the bitch wears off – she’ll look back and remember how I cried. She, of course, yelled very loudly for me to stop in what I can only assume was an attempt to embarrass me in front of the whole town – but whatever. 

I wasn’t at all embarrassed. I was proud and grateful to be there bawling, because that moment was on my list. 

When my daughter was four years old, I tried to end my life. It was beyond unbearably painful to live and, as much as I tried, I could not stop hurting myself and others. I didn’t know what was happening, but I was pretty sure I was the victim of Life, and just wanted the pain to stop. I had probably a couple of diagnoses at this point, as well as non-compliance with medication – medication that should not be mixed with alcohol.

I reached my end one night, after some insignificant event I blew out of proportion, and I was ready to die. I was of course intoxicated and sobbing, because it was two in the morning, and there weren’t many nights I wasn’t. That particular night had me feeling extremely overwhelmed and unable to climb out from the rubble. 

I ingested a bottle of pills, and sat down to write letters to my family. I wanted everyone left behind to know how lost I felt and how very sorry I was for all of the things I was going to miss. I wrote a very long, guilt ridden letter to my parents and then started one for my daughter. Her letter read much like a list, because there was so much of her life that I would miss. 

I apologized I would not be there for her first day of school. I was sorry I would not be around during the changes in her life and body; when she might need me most. I begged my daughter to forgive me for missing prom and graduation, her wedding, and the birth of her babies. I added these things to the list, and tried with all of my might to believe I had no choice in leaving. I convinced myself that I was not worthy of these beautiful moments with her, and that my presence would not be necessary.

Depression is a lying bitch, and without defense against her I was open to all suggestion. I was a loser, a terrible mother that couldn’t show up – a waste of oxygen. Self-pity City is a dangerous place to visit, and I was living there. 

I continued that letter to my daughter, and it saved my life. 

It was while I scratched paper with pen and made that wonderful list that hope found me. In that tiny room, surrounded by the mess I had made of my life, it was in that list that I found strength; a tiny voice inside me whispered, “be there.” I wanted so badly to be there, and so I began to fight. 

I asked for help for the first time and I received it immediately. I didn’t feel worthy of it at first, but I accepted it on behalf of my daughter. Many remarkable things occurred after that amazing moment. 

I got sober, I took action to make my circumstances better, and I learned how to take responsibility for my own life. I began to surround myself with people whom I admired, and I trusted them to help me become a better woman and mother. I started to practice certain changes in my behavior, and I started to feel better. Hope was restored piecemeal, and I was able to build a life for myself and my daughter.

So, on the day of her prom, I cried. I cried for the lost woman who didn’t understand how precious that moment would be and almost missed it. I cried for the list and the incredible opportunity to cross off one more beautiful event, because I was there. 

I was not embarrassed; I was grateful. 

I yelled back to her “So what? I’m crying because I love you, and I don’t care who’s watching!”

And I didn’t.

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54 thoughts on “BECAUSE LIFE WAS ON THE LIST”

  1. Oh Julie. I'm so glad you made that list, and found the strength to turn your life around and experience the things that are on the list. The world would be less happy without you in it.

  2. Oh Julie. I'm so glad you made that list, and found the strength to turn your life around and experience the things that are on the list. The world would be less happy without you in it.

  3. Thank you for sharing this powerful story. I'm so glad you found hope in that list and are with us today. You are a strong woman!

  4. Kerri Ames says:

    This is so beautiful. Yes it was on your list and yes she will appreciate you once the bitch wears off. I hope your list is long. There are a whole bunch of experiences to live for, I am glad you found yours

  5. Kerri Ames says:

    This is so beautiful. Yes it was on your list and yes she will appreciate you once the bitch wears off. I hope your list is long. There are a whole bunch of experiences to live for, I am glad you found yours

  6. Motherhood and Miscellany says:

    Beautiful. This just made me cry. I wish you all of those "list" moments and so many more, even if your dear girl isn't too appreciative right now 🙂

  7. Motherhood and Miscellany says:

    Beautiful. This just made me cry. I wish you all of those "list" moments and so many more, even if your dear girl isn't too appreciative right now 🙂

  8. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm sure blogging helps a lot to overcome your past, too. Just keep up the good work!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm sure blogging helps a lot to overcome your past, too. Just keep up the good work!

  10. Kimberly @ Red Shutters says:

    Thank you, Julie, for your beautiful, open and honest post. So glad you were there to celebrate that important event and the many more to come.

  11. Kimberly @ Red Shutters says:

    Thank you, Julie, for your beautiful, open and honest post. So glad you were there to celebrate that important event and the many more to come.

  12. http://another-pieceofcake.com says:

    AMAZEBALLS. Julie, thank you for letting it hang all out…I am not ready to be this forthcoming in my alcohol recovery yet and it inspires me to do so. Your journey is inspiring to hear. Thank you.

  13. http://another-pieceofcake.com says:

    AMAZEBALLS. Julie, thank you for letting it hang all out…I am not ready to be this forthcoming in my alcohol recovery yet and it inspires me to do so. Your journey is inspiring to hear. Thank you.

  14. Jessica Smock says:

    I'm so glad that you made the decision you did. Thank you for sharing about your struggles and your experiences. I know that it inspires others!

  15. Jessica Smock says:

    I'm so glad that you made the decision you did. Thank you for sharing about your struggles and your experiences. I know that it inspires others!

  16. Isn't it amazing how our children are the ones who keep us going? I love your last line. Some day she won't be so embarrassed by it.

  17. Isn't it amazing how our children are the ones who keep us going? I love your last line. Some day she won't be so embarrassed by it.

  18. You constantly impress me with your honesty in your posts. This was truly something awful that turned into hope and while your daughter may not appreciate it at the moment, I am certain that she will and that your experiences will help her through her struggles. Great job.

  19. You constantly impress me with your honesty in your posts. This was truly something awful that turned into hope and while your daughter may not appreciate it at the moment, I am certain that she will and that your experiences will help her through her struggles. Great job.

  20. I am so glad the lightbulb went off. Someday, your daughter will wish you had gotten a better picture of her in that dress. 😉 I was like your daughter. 😀

  21. I am so glad the lightbulb went off. Someday, your daughter will wish you had gotten a better picture of her in that dress. 😉 I was like your daughter. 😀

  22. Lisa Newlin says:

    You are an amazing person and it hurts my heart to know you went through such a difficult time. What a fighter you are! I wouldn't care about crying in front of my daughter either. You should be proud for all you've accomplished and for being strong enough to share your story with others. Thanks for sharing. This was very moving.

  23. Lisa Newlin says:

    You are an amazing person and it hurts my heart to know you went through such a difficult time. What a fighter you are! I wouldn't care about crying in front of my daughter either. You should be proud for all you've accomplished and for being strong enough to share your story with others. Thanks for sharing. This was very moving.

  24. Considerer says:

    Somehow each time I read you, you go up in my estimation. This is an incredible piece of Truth Telling, and you are an amazing, amazing person. I hope you now feel worthy of such a compliment, though I quite understand if the case is otherwise (been there). There are so many things in my heart to tell you right now, but all I can manage is to be quite tongue-tied.

    Thank goodness for that list.

  25. Considerer says:

    Somehow each time I read you, you go up in my estimation. This is an incredible piece of Truth Telling, and you are an amazing, amazing person. I hope you now feel worthy of such a compliment, though I quite understand if the case is otherwise (been there). There are so many things in my heart to tell you right now, but all I can manage is to be quite tongue-tied.

    Thank goodness for that list.

  26. T.A. Wood says:

    You're a helluva lady, and I'm glad you found the strength to go on.

  27. T.A. Wood says:

    You're a helluva lady, and I'm glad you found the strength to go on.

  28. Navina Marks says:

    Thank you so much for telling the truth here. It is hard in our society to say something as bold as "Next Life No Kids". And I agree with you. If you want to read some like-minded thinking, in my blog I share some research into why it is so hard on us as moms under the current unsustainable expectations we live under. And my post today asks if I will ever think parenting was worth the cost to me as a woman. Thank you for sharing your story about when you gave up. It is sharing power to tell each other these stories. That is is the tool I hope to share on my site with my vulnerable honesty and you have succeeded here.–Navina from http://comfortableparent.com/blog

  29. Navina Marks says:

    Thank you so much for telling the truth here. It is hard in our society to say something as bold as "Next Life No Kids". And I agree with you. If you want to read some like-minded thinking, in my blog I share some research into why it is so hard on us as moms under the current unsustainable expectations we live under. And my post today asks if I will ever think parenting was worth the cost to me as a woman. Thank you for sharing your story about when you gave up. It is sharing power to tell each other these stories. That is is the tool I hope to share on my site with my vulnerable honesty and you have succeeded here.–Navina from http://comfortableparent.com/blog

  30. Your post made me cry! And I kind of LOVE that picture of your daughter, acting like any other teenage girl. (We all grow up sometime!) I just imagine how different that picture would of been if she had lost you. What a compelling story, I am so glad I found your blog.

  31. Your post made me cry! And I kind of LOVE that picture of your daughter, acting like any other teenage girl. (We all grow up sometime!) I just imagine how different that picture would of been if she had lost you. What a compelling story, I am so glad I found your blog.

  32. I'm so grateful you made that list and fought for your life Julie. Your honesty is inspiring and humbling and simply awesome. No wonder you're going to be part of LTYM with this! I mean, DAY-YAM! Big high fives to you, sister.

  33. I'm so grateful you made that list and fought for your life Julie. Your honesty is inspiring and humbling and simply awesome. No wonder you're going to be part of LTYM with this! I mean, DAY-YAM! Big high fives to you, sister.

  34. Very touching piece! And so inspirational to know that, no matter how dark times get, we can still climb out and into the light.

  35. Very touching piece! And so inspirational to know that, no matter how dark times get, we can still climb out and into the light.

  36. I know this is old, but I just found it. It made me cry at work because I've btdt. Thinking about those moments keeps me going on the really tough days. Which, thank goodness, are less and less now that all the kids are teenagers, one out of school already. I didn't think I was going to survive the little kid years. You cry all you want in public!

  37. I know this is old, but I just found it. It made me cry at work because I've btdt. Thinking about those moments keeps me going on the really tough days. Which, thank goodness, are less and less now that all the kids are teenagers, one out of school already. I didn't think I was going to survive the little kid years. You cry all you want in public!

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