From the September 2011 magazine.

Just a Nice Lady Who Drank Too Much

That's what she thought of her drinking until she went to her first AA meeting

My first clear memory from my childhood was when my mother died when I was almost six. Life was never the same in our house after mom died. We had always gone to church and Sunday school but now my dad would drop my sister and me off and come back and get us when church was over. I think he must have been mad at God for taking my mother from him, because he didn't go to church any more after she died. My brother had graduated from high school that year and he worked and lived at home until he was drafted into the army.

We used to spend our summers visiting relatives and in that first year after my mother died, I overheard two of my aunts talking about how maybe if my mother hadn't had me, maybe she'd still be alive. I had no idea how my being born could cause my mom to die but I took the blame from that day on. My mom died in 1950 from cancer and in those days, they didn't know very much about cancer so I guess my aunts were just searching for answers. I grew up believing I needed to try and make up to my dad, sister and brother for what I had taken from them. I tried to be good all the time and to be perfect at school and at home.

-- Barbara C.

Northport, Florida

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