One of the hardest things I’ve written.
Earlier this week, I wrote about accountability circles – surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who will push you to do great things. Today, I must write about the opposite because it’s just as important. This is much harder. It can cause you a lot of short-term pain and even produce a lot of drama. But it must happen for long term success. You must shed the people who are dragging you down.
I’m going to tell you something very painful, perhaps the hardest thing I’ve ever written or said out loud. It keeps me up at night. Some may even call it completely selfish.
Here it is – I probably could have saved my mother’s life.
The complete story is one that will have to be written in my book, if I ever get around to it. We don’t have enough time here for one blog post. The summary is that my family was nothing and has never been anything but complete drama. 100% positivity sucking, life draining, success haltering, failure inducing, sometimes ghetto sometimes redneck, absolute drama. My family would make for an amazing reality television show.
I decided around 16-years-old that there was only one escape and it meant leaving it all behind. I had to shed everyone from my life. I had to communicate with them as little as possible and see them even less. I had to disappear and start over. No strings attached. Even one tiny loose string could easily reel me back in to exactly what they were and exactly what I didn’t want to be. Screaming, fighting, boundless and nonstop drama. In fact, it almost did reel me back in. That’s a story for another time.
To this day I catch a lot of hell from my family members wondering why I neglect them. I refuse to look back, especially now that my mother, father and step-father have all passed away.
My mother took her own life in what was labeled an “accidental overdose” on opioids. We all saw the train heading down that particular track. The first time Elizabeth met my mother she, my mother (not Elizabeth), could barely speak because she was so drugged up. Mom was in and out of rehab centers. Every single one of us knew what was coming. Yet, I did nothing. What could I do? The only answer would have been to stop everything I was doing, take care of her full-time and be sucked into a soap opera that would ruin my life.
Now here’s the part that makes me tear up every time I think about it, including right now. After my Mom passed away I found a note written to me asking me to do just that. She wrote me a note saying that I was the only person who could save her but she never passed that note on to me. Maybe she knew. Maybe she knew that her asking and me accepting was me giving up my future. Maybe she loved me enough not to ask. That’s what I like to believe anyway.
My mother was the most loving person I have ever met in my life. She would do anything for anyone. But it came with being sucked into her orbit and that meant a life of negativity. That was something I could not accept. And I would make the same decision today.
Getting away from negativity is hard, especially when it’s your parents. But it must be done. You need to be surrounded with amazing people who will build you up. You need to get away from everyone tearing you down, including parents, friends, co-workers and maybe even spouses and children. I know with everything that I am that I would not have anything I have today if I would have allowed myself to stay surrounded my family. It hurt. It still hurts. But today I have a life full of phenomenal people and amazing accomplishments. It all started with shedding the negative people.