Written by Sosha Lewis
We can choose many things in life, but our families aren't one of them. As a child of drug addicts, local blogger Sosha Lewis has turned a childhood filled with addiction, uncertainty and loss into a series of uplifting and inspiring stories of healing and growth. From being a child to having a child, join Lewis on her journey in this guest blog.
Youve been gone almost five years. Some days it feels as if you havent been here for decades, other days it feels as raw and fresh as it did on that bright, cloudless, Carolina blue sky day when I learned you had finally lost your fight.
I can still hear your voice. It is getting harder. I have to be very still, the room very quiet, but it's there. The voice, that with one syllable could, in one instance, soothe all that troubled me, and in another voice fill my soul with anger. Anguish. Disgust. Disappointment.
Your voice. Mama's voice.
When I hear you in my head it is always your warm, dancing, smiling voice. It is the one I am holding on to. The one I don't want to fade. The one I wish I could hear - just one more time.
The other one, your other voice, was the last one I heard and it is the one that I try to forget.
The voice that crackled, and spit, and faded off like a dying robot in a late night movie. Your last words were, I gotta go, baby doll. I love you, So-So., spoken in that disconnected voice. I wrap the words around my heart - tightly. But, I swat away the sound of that voice like one does an annoying fly.
I miss your voice. I miss you. It makes me so mad that I miss you. It makes me so mad that you missed out on so many beautiful aspects of life. It makes me so mad and it completely shatters my heart that the day you died, alone, in a sad, beaten-down trailer on the side of muddy mountain that you didnt know that you had missed out on what should have been one of the most joyous experiences of your life being a grandmother.
Even before I was pregnant, I worried about the role that you would play, the role that you thought you should play in my childs life. Truthfully, you did not deserve to play much of a role at all, but I knew that I would not have completely denied you this wonderful little creature. I have never been able to completely deny you, but I knew that I would have to protect her and that I would not let her be exposed to the life that you led. As sad and unrealistic as I knew it was, there was a part of me, the part where the scared but trying to be brave, the sad but trying to be happy little kid still lives that thought that maybe she would finally be the push that you needed to become the person that you should have been; the golden, smiling person that your monster would allow us glimpses of before devouring you again.
However, that worry came to a quick and bittersweet end on Sunday, November 9, 2008. I was standing in the kitchen, in the house that I love. You never saw my house. It is not a mansion, but it is warm, and clean, and comfortable, and welcoming. It is filled with love, and with laughter, and with happy times and with caring, loyal, supportive, loud, funny, trustworthy people. It makes me feel secure. You never stepped foot in my house.
You missed out on my house.
Nonetheless, it is where I was the day that my gran, your mother, had to call me to let me know that you were gone. I do not remember most of the conversation. I cried in an instant, violent way; a way that when you see someone doing it in a movie, you roll your eyes and think, Really? Do people actually act that way? When gran said, Baby, its over, its finally over., I did act that way.
Tony was outside mowing the grass and I had to get to him. I had to lean into him, put the side of my head into the space between his chest and shoulder, hear his heartbeat. He was running the weed eater so it took me a minute to get his attention. He saw that I was crying and thought something was wrong with the baby that we had just learned I was carrying. It is the first time that I have ever seen him look stricken as sad I was at that moment, I had a powerful surge of love for him because I knew that he would gladly step in front of a bus for his unborn child. I told him that you were gone, that it was, in fact, finally over. He wrapped his strong arms around me kept me upright. He smelled like leaves.
I allowed myself to collapse into him, allowed myself to weep and allowed him to just be silently strong for me. It is a shame that you never got to know my husband. He is what a husband should be. He is what a man should be. Even on the days when he makes me want to shake him hard I know that I am fortunate to have him, am fortunate that he did not let my insecurities and fears push him away, and am fortunate to have denied the odds and did not marry someone like my father. He is the exact opposite of my father. He is a real man. He is hard-working, secure, sincere, loyal, tough, tender-hearted, loving, funny, trustworthy. He adores me and I him. He, unlike your husband, has never laid hands on me and there have been times when even I thought I could have used a good slapping. And, now, he has become the most admirable thing on earth: a dad - the best dad.
You missed out on my husband.
He is the dad to this magical little person that now lives with us. Conley Marie Lewis was born on June 17, 2009 at 8:14pm. She was 6lbs, 2oz and 18 inches. She was two weeks early and she was delivered by C-section because she was breech.
For years, I said that I did not want to be a mom, said I had been a mother most of my life. However, I have never been more wrong about anything. A mom is what I was meant to be, her mom was what I was meant to be. And, I had certainly never been close to being a mother before. I had been an extremely scared teenager that was put into a situation where I had to take care of even more scared little kids. I did not do a very good job.
I am going to do a much better job now. As for the damage that had been done to me, it was as if I could physically feel myself heal when I held her for the first time. I was okay with myself. I knew that I could stop trying so hard. I knew that people liked me for who I am.
I am intensely loyal. I sometimes deflect hurt with sarcasm. I love to vacuum. I count to 18 when I dunk an Oreo in milk. I am a hard worker. I make a mean BBQ meatloaf. I love red wine. I have great friends. I am dependable. I completed a marathon. I like to read in the bathtub. Movie theaters are one of my favorite places in the world. I love spending Friday nights curled up on the couch with Tony and Conley. Snoring drives me crazy. I am no longer afraid to say I am a writer. I tell a pretty good story. I am going to tell your story, our story. I know that I will screw up from time to time, but I am determined to be the best mom possible.
You missed out on your daughter.
You are gone and there has been enough sadness and strife to fill several lifetimes. Forgiving you does not make those memories disappear. However, I hope it allows me to be a better mother as there is nothing, absolutely nothing that I would not do to ensure Conley knows that she is loved and that she is secure.
She makes my sky bluer and my sun brighter. Music sounds better and food tastes better because she is here.
In the past five years I have had to bury you and then your sweet, well-mannered, good intentioned beautiful baby boy - my little brother. In the past five years, there have been times when it felt as if the ground was crumbling underneath me, but she, my beautiful, kind, goofy, gap-toothed little girl, has saved me. Simply, she has made me happy, really, truly happy. It was never simple with you, with us. It still isnt. However, for Conley and me, it is simple. Easy.
Your granddaughter is Batman - and, a rock star. She loves bacon - really, really loves bacon. The girl has never met a stranger. We call her The Mayor because of this. Conley is chatty. She hugs every one. Taking her to Disney World was one of the best times of my life. She has good manners and she shares. We sing a very off-key version of You Are My Sunshine every night before bed. We have a daily kiss quota. The beach is one of her favorite places. Her giggle can pull me out of the darkest funks, and her hugs have healing powers. She has an imaginary friend named NeNe who can be quite the trouble maker. Conley is secure. Happy. But, when she is upset, we dance it out. Her favorite song is Shes A Rainbow by the Rolling Stones.
You missed out on my daughter.
I dreaded the day that Conley would ask about you. It happened not that long ago. We were talking about her nonni, Mary, being her daddys mom. She asked if her nonni was my mom too. I told her that in many ways she was, but that she didnt carry me in her belly.
She asked, Well, why I not know your mom?. As gently as I could I told her that you had died and it was sad, but that it was okay because you werent sick anymore. She said that she wished she had known you because she would have brought you some chicken soup to make you feel better. Your granddaughter then asked me to tell her about you. So, I pulled her on my lap and told her about her grandmother.
Your grandmother Starr had a wonderful smile that could make a room come alive. She occasionally gave me a "free Friday" where I would skip school and we would watch TV and go for cheeseburgers. Her laundry always smelled so good. She bought me an authentic Duke sweatshirt when I was obsessed with Duke basketball. She carried me off a mountain side when I broke both of my arms. She gave great hugs. She taught me to swim at Linkous. She took me for cherry Cokes at the Flat Iron. She loved orange SweeTarts. She introduced me to Janis Joplin. Law and Order was her favorite show. And, she sure would have loved you.
Mom, you missed out on you.
I will always miss you, but I am glad that your struggle, our struggle, is over. I dont know what happens after you die, but I feel you with me, with us. I like to think that you look out for us, and that in death you became the mom you could never fully be in life - the one that you were meant to be.
I hope that youre getting to be that mom to Zack. Tell my baby brother that I love him and that I miss him. Tell him that Ill see him on the flip side - hell know what youre talking about.
Sosha Lewis is a former buttoned-down corporate executive turned running shorts and t-shirts wearing stay-at-home mom. She and her husband, Tony, whom she has known since Kindergarten, are the happy, albeit tired, parents to a talkative, energetic, extroverted four year old, Conley. Between playing the "bad guy" to Conley's Batman and answering approximately 4,756 questions a day, Lewis maintains a blog, Its Not Sasha, and volunteers for Promising Pages. Her writing has been featured in Charlotte Magazine and the anthology Robocup Compendium 2013.Its Not Sasha is a blog about overcoming. Sosha has turned a childhood filled with addiction, uncertainty and loss into a series of uplifting and inspiring stories of healing and growth. By shining light on the darkness that comes from addiction, Sosha throws out the shame and offers up hope. Sometimes funny, other times gritty the stories on It's Not Sasha are filled with honesty, forgiveness, and most of all, love.