Nicknamed Hurricane Hazel for her stormy personality and snake eyes, my mama's crazy life will always remain a question mark.
A chain smoking drinker at the age of twelve, she remained passionate about these hobbies forever. Drugs were good too.
As a kid I was a regular at the local bars. Everybody knew me and gave me money to play arcade games while they got trashed with my mom. It was great. When we'd drive home I had to remind her to stop swerving all over the place. The car was often out of service, hidden in the driveway, wrecked from crashing into poles... or trees... or people, who knows.
Nights were often partying nights. Countless friends, nameless boyfriends and endless babysitters. After school and when she got home from work, she'd serve me a microwaved dinner and we'd watch TV while her night plans were made. I eventually learned how to use the microwave.
Bottles of wine flowed and classic rock was the soundtrack. We had a lovely home with a disgusting smell of overflowing ashtrays.
Sometimes it was hard to sleep on the nights she stayed in. Music blaring and angry phone calls. 20 "ASSHOLE!" voice mails wasn't enough. I started diluting her wine, dumping half the bottle and refilling it with water. Grandmother cheering my 8 yr old genius self on the sidelines. That'll work, she'll never know! Nope. Don't fuck with a woman's wine. I quit.
Going to visit her boyfriend of the moment's jammin' bachelor pad was another thing we'd do (if I didn't find him hiding under her bed). I'd get to watch The Simpsons and draw and hang with his grown up buddies while the two of them vanished for awhile. They all loved me and it was fun. Most had long hair and motorcycles.
Sometimes we'd go on road trips around Ontario. I'd sit in the back of the seatless van, flying around and keeping the bull terrier company. It smelled like construction workers and weed.
The breakdowns would happen. She clobbered a cheating lover and was charged. Shouting, anger, sadness, crying, binge drinking, highs and lows. Contagious happiness and deepest despair, holding shit together until it slowly unravelled.
She quit her job to focus on her business. The lack of order and routine meant more partying. The hangovers were days of darkness. Lifelong friends disappeared, replaced by bar scum. Waking up with bottles of wine, falling asleep with burning cigarettes. Waking up to have wine and smoke a cig then passing out again. Cigarette burns decorated the couches and floors. The couch turned into her bed. Her bed was too big and made her feel lonely. She couldn't sleep anyway, nightmares.
As I got older she began to tell me about her life. A rough childhood made her leave her unhappy home and shack up with my older dad at 16. Helped him quit his rock star heroin habit. He thanked her by grabbing a gun and chasing her around the streets naked (crazy attracts crazy). It ended up being a happy ending with wedding bells. Years passed and I was born. 2 months later my daddios brain exploded. The doctors made her sign papers to pull the plug on his life and then she was alone with a newborn Miau.
"I'll tell you everything else when I think you're ready". hmm...
The lifestyle caught up and she was in denial. A smokers hacking cough. Tumors. Cancer was conquered. Then at 43 she was found dead on the bathroom floor. Heart attack.
Despite the crazy, nothing fazed me at the time! I had the best childhood and she wuz always proud. "You're my reason for living" sounds different now.
Now they rest in PeAcE.