Coming Home

Before my parents separated, my Mom decided to go back to school. She wanted a career, and I think she knew she was going to eventually leave my Dad. She was also at the time very involved with being on town committees and political parties. I still wasn’t old enough to drive, and Dad was 80% of the time drunk. 

There would be days that I was stuck at home alone with my Dad, who couldn’t even get out of bed half the time. My Mom would go out after classes, or to one of her meetings, sometimes not coming home until 1 am. Every time she came back, the fighting started. Screaming nasty names back and forth at each other.

All I could do was stay in my room and wait for it to be over. 

My brother Austin was at the time was living in Albany with his girlfriend. He didn’t really know what was going on back at home. He was always traveling, and Albany was quite far away for short visits. Until it got so bad that I’d end up calling him up almost every night hysterically crying, while my mom and dad fought in the background. I told Austin Mom was never home and Dad was constantly drunk. I didn’t know what to do. It’s a little harder to get away when you don’t have a drivers license. 

There were times my Mom would send me to Long Island to stay with my cousins so that I could get away from it all. But in the end, I always had to come back.

The constant hysterical calls to my brother made him realize just how bad things were getting at home. Then my brother did something I will always be grateful for; he moved home. 

He moved back for me! And he had no obligation to come back, yet he did. He had a girlfriend, a job, and he still came home for me. I will never forget that he did that.

After coming home and seeing for himself what was going on, we both had agreed our mom had become someone we didn’t recognize anymore. She was so involved in all these committees in town and other things; she was different. She wasn’t the mom we had known all these years. And I guess now that makes sense, trauma impacts everyone in different ways.

I know now that these committees and going back to school were her ways of coping, but at the time, and the age I was, it was hard for me to see it that way. I felt abandoned and alone. Having Austin back felt like my only saving grace during that time. I know it must have been such a hard decision for him. Moving home because of family issues can’t ever be an easy thing.


With Austin home, he started to see the fights, and he did his best with me. Taking me out for ice cream when they began to fight, taking me to the movies, etc. He didn’t have to do any of those things, but I’m thankful he did. I needed an out from that house, and he stepped up when my parents couldn’t. We take for granted the good we have, especially when all you see and feel is sadness. I wish I told Austin more how much all he did meant for me, but I hope I can make up for that. 

Looking back now, I know my mom needed an outlet, and adults make mistakes too. We can’t hold that against them. I’ve talked about how I felt when she left me alone, and I know now that was never her intentions. We all fail to see our mistakes, or can’t see past our own doings at the moment. At that moment, she felt she needed to do what she was doing. My Mom didn’t realize how it affected Austin or me. As an adult, I can see things from her side a little easier now. She was in a place of pain too; we just didn’t see it.

It’s taken a very long time for me to let go of my resentment. But when you’re a child of an alcoholic, the bad things that happened clouds your brain.  

I’m in therapy now. I’ve gone through many therapists, but I wasn’t ready then.

Now that I am ready to really do the work, it’s helping me see things in a whole new light. The best part of that is the amazing feeling of letting go of my anger. It takes time and work, but it’s worth it. As much as it may have hurt then, forgiving feels a whole lot better now. I still have many things to work on but letting go of my anger towards my mom is a huge step. She was hurting too, how can I blame her for that?

I also recently talked to Austin. He said it was never a hard choice. He knew it was the right thing to do at that time, and he has never regretted it. Which honestly makes me feel so relieved. I’d hate for him to resent me. Austin has always been one to do what’s right no matter what. That is who he is, and I love him for it.

“Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let it go.”- Roy T Bennett

4 Replies to “Coming Home”

  1. What an amazing brother and person Austin is. If only I had known and if only I could have helped in some way. I’m sorry the distance separated us.🤦‍♀️

    1. Yes, he is a wonderful brother. I don’t think that anything could have been done. He wasn’t in a place of wanting help and everything was so crazy. You’ve done so much for us and we love you for it!

    1. We really are 🙂 sometimes I take him for granted, I think we all do that in life but without Austin I don’t think I would have made it out the way I did. 🙂 Happy I have such an amazing big brother!

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All opinions and conclusions are my own. I am not a medical professional and I am not able to provide you with personalized medical recommendations. If you need help, there are many sources of information and places to get help.