Jackie Turner: Mom didn’t come home last night | TheUnion.com

Jackie Turner: Mom didn’t come home last night

I was only 10. My mom was missing again. My mother’s addiction would often have her in places unmentionable. I once followed her, because she would always say she was going to the bathroom but come back with money to pay for our meals. I found out what she was doing one day. My heart was broken. I tried to eat every single bit of the meal. I felt sick inside. I wanted to rage, I wanted to cry. I couldn’t look my mother in the eye. She knew it. She knew I was ashamed of what she had done. What she had become.

I just wanted her to be my mom. She couldn’t be. She was in places of addiction long before me. Still my heart was broken because I couldn’t understand how she would choose an addiction over me. She would seem happy for a moment but then I would hear her weep. As she apologized over and over again for what she had done to me.

When you’re a child and your mother is an addict, you never know what is going to happen. You somehow feel as though it’s your fault but really it’s not at all. It’s you who tucks your mother in at night, when it should be the other way around. It’s you who searches the house for spare change to get a can of soup from the corner store to make sure she has eaten. It’s you who sees the look on your mother’s face when she feels defeated. All the while you are depleted with the worry of whether she will live or die.

It is a world of responsibility when she is the only one you have in your life to help you survive. I remember the night when my mom didn’t come home after chasing the remedy for her addiction. Arrested in the night, and I didn’t know why she had gone missing. I tried to take care of me and my friend who had a mother like mine. We made it for three weeks before we were taken to a juvenile detention because no foster homes were available. Everyday I cried. I didn’t know if my mother was dead or alive. We lost our home, our life. Yet in time she came for me. She didn’t look like she used to. She was different. She told me she had a place to live, and would be able to be a mom to me. I am thankful for the help she had. Now I know my mom will come home every night.

The transformation that happens at Acres of Hope allows children to experience the freedom to be a kid. No child should have to clean up the effects of addiction. No child should know the heartbreak of going into juvenile detention because they don’t have a place where a healthy mom is able to care for them. Most of the time we tell you the power of transforming a life from homelessness to hope. Today I want you to walk in the shoes of a child that needed more than a home. They needed a mom who was transformed from the inside out. At Acres of Hope we are not just breaking the cycle of homelessness. By transforming lives from the inside out, we are breaking cycles of generational dysfunction, addiction, and trauma. We have removed the bandages and gone straight for the root of the wound.

We are Acres of Hope, the place where moms come home every night. To learn more about Acres of Hope, visit http://www.acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-878-8030.

Jackie Turner is the Ministry Outreach Coordinator at Acres of Hope in Auburn.

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