From the December 2010 magazine.

Legacy of resentment

Chains of bitterness toward his mother are shattered through forgiveness

Returning from school, halfway down the hall leading to my apartment, I smelled the familiar mixed odors of smoke and booze. With dread in my heart, I knew what I was about to face: my drunken mother in her messy housecoat, sitting on a chair in our kitchen, no makeup, hair awry, cigarette in hand and holding a glass of booze. At one time, my mom was an outstandingly beautiful lady--so strikingly attractive that heads would turn when she entered a room. Men fell in love with her, and when she came to visit my school, the next day I always received compliments on how beautiful she was.

That was before my mom became a full-blown alcoholic, spending every afternoon in the kitchen literally stinking drunk. Sometimes I found her on the kitchen floor where she had fallen, and sometimes there was blood from an accidental laceration. I would pick her up, place her in the chair and try to dress her wounds. Quite honestly, when I was in my mid-teens, I never looked forward to coming home from school.

-- Tom L.

New Orleans, La.

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