Kimberly Jones recalls her dream the night before she lost her mother to a 16-year addiction to cocaine, marijuana, heroine, meth, and prescription drugs. On the morning of February 11th Kimberly awoke from her bed at home to a Facebook message from her college roommate stating ‘Call the school. Your mom died’. At the time Kimberly did not have a cellphone and communication had ceased between her Father and her mother’s side of the family for various reasons. She immediately went downstairs to tell him the news and before she could let the words leave her lips her father solemnly nodded and stated ‘She’s dead, isn’t she?’ Kimberly sat in her room in disbelief that and thought back to the last time she heard her mother’s voice on her 18th birthday.
“I remembered that mom had actually called me for my 18th. She hadn't called me for any of my birthdays since she left us a week before my 7th birthday,” Kimberly Jones explained, “I'd found it so strange and awkward for her to suddenly call and wish me happy birthday. At the time, I thought she'd wanted something from me, but she never called me again after that. Looking back, I have to wonder if she knew she was living the last year of her life. It hit me then, as I thought back over all the birthdays she'd missed and the one she'd called me for, that the woman who'd brought me into the world was gone. That's when it hit me that she wasn't just gone she was dead and officially never coming back.”
Often when God takes someone from us we yell, scream, and cry why! This too was true for Kimberly who began to ask the question why is she gone before she had a chance to recover. Then the painful memory of her absence returned and the question changed to ‘why did she leave our family for drugs?’ Kathy was an intelligent nurse and aware of the dangers of drugs yet she allowed her family to introduce it into her life. That introduction led to a string of irresponsible decisions that left the household without necessities and caused physical harm to both Kimberly and her Father. Ultimately Kathy left them and created a darkened void that was filled with Kimberly’s bright hope that she would return one day. Eventually that hope darkened and turned into resentment decreasing the love of the mother she once knew.At the time of her mother’s death she realized that the resentment she held on to had to be released in order for both of them to have peace. She replaced that resentment with gratitude for the overabundant love her father continues to give her to this day.
“I would have these grand fantasies that she would come back in the middle of lunch at school so everyone would see her and know that I wasn’t lying when I spoke of her beauty. She would be all dressed up and everyone would be stunned and awed by her beauty and I would proudly parade her around as mine,” Kimberly explained excitedly recalling her imagined presentation then continued,” As time went on I stopped having these fantasies. Then I realized that as much as I wanted her and resented her for not being there, My Dad gave me all the love a man could give his child. He took up the role as a mother and father and became an even bigger part of me. Now that my mother is dead I don’t necessarily have a void anymore just an acceptance that she is gone.”
Upon death a lot of things come to light, such as the remnants of painful memories that continue to live amongst the remaining family. Such remnants can carry a burden on your soul that is unwavering until you are ready to release the pain. In Kimberly’s case she was able to release the wrongdoings unto her, but found it difficult to release the pain that her mother’s family caused her beloved father. When Kathy left they were very unwilling to assist in Kimberly’s upbringing and openly stated so in addition to other unnecessary brutalities. When holding on to anger or poisonous spirits in your life it creates a gateway for evil to destroy the future blessings thus continuing the cycle of turmoil. Kimberly’s rage formed against them was such a burden on her heart that she eventually had to release them as spiritual connections from her life for her own peace.
“To release that anger, I think on the fact that in the end they were all sick and while I can't forget or forgive them what they did to my Dad, I have to just let it go because there's nothing that can be done now,” Kimberly stated.
In contrast Kimberly does not hold as much anger against her mother for leaving her behind. In fact she sees her mother’s absence as a gift in her childhood. While her mother was away she moved from their home in Texas to Atlanta where she made life-long friendships, developed her creative skills, and learned more about the value of love. If her mother had been around in her drug induced state she could have influenced Kimberly to follow the same path. The people that Kimberly has touched, lessons she has learned, and more of God’s plans could have been disastrously averted. However Kimberly is saddened that as she experiences monumental moments such as marriage and motherhood Kathy will not be present in body. Although Kathy will not be present in body Kimberly has found a new peace within her death that initiated the path to forgiveness.
“I have forgiven her for everything she's done to me. I was able to really see the blessing that her leaving had been once she was dead. The fact that losing her didn't really hurt, that it didn't devastate me - I think she knew she was on a path to destruction and deep down she didn't want me to be hurt when she was truly gone,” Kimberly stated, “Also, when I was younger and accepted that the mother I wanted was not the woman she could ever be, I knew I didn't want her around. I am not sure that I will be able to fully release the scars that she left on me or my father’s soul. However my peace comes with knowing that she left me behind to be a better woman. I’d like to imagine that was part of her thought process when she left me behind in body and spirit.”
When we are left with scars upon a person’s death we often do not experience peace with them gone, because now their ‘punishment’ goes unseen. Very rarely do we seek out the joys of the departed soul and relish in them. However upon her mother’s death, Kimberly felt a distinct closeness with her mother as if her true spirit that hid under the drugs was finally free. She excitedly sought out information about her mother to know and free the spirit of the woman who truly was Kathy Jones. Kimberly discovered that Kathy was a brilliant woman who graduated from high school at 15, dressed to the nines, enjoyed singing Motown, and that they shared the same love of art, history, and cats. She also came to discover that Kathy had a loyal heart of gold, enjoyed sappy movies, and before the addiction took her she loved Kimberly more than anything in the world. Kimberly recalls the phone call she got from her mother on her 18th birthday and believes it was her mother’s soul making one last reach through the entrapment of the drugs.
“When I think back on the call I got from her on my 18th birthday, I remember that her voice was clearer than I'd ever heard it. She was sober then. I was too blinded by being so jaded to appreciate the gift of that call at the time, but I hold the memory of her singing happy birthday to me very close. Every birthday I hear it in my head and remember the pictures from the hospital of her holding me the day I was born. I also remembered that she use to play in my hair and rub my back like no one else could…like a mother. Despite everything else my mom loved me.”
Now that Kimberly lives on in the name of her mother she has made conscious decisions to keep her life on the right path as guided by God. She is self-sufficient, does not over consume alcohol socially if at all, smoke, or take unnecessary medication. She feels peace in the love of her father, loving moral relatives, and rascally yet loyal friends that she has adventures with. She attended Agnes Scott college then embraced her mother’s artistic traits and launched a graphic design business, wrote an award winning story among others, and continues to be one of the leading marketing consultants in property management. Although she did not have a consistent female influence or motherly love in her life, the people God placed in her life after the abandonment filled that void.
When she is able to pray about her life’s challenges or missing her mother, she feels Kathy’s encouraging, nurturing, and pure spirit with her telling her to go on. Out of the darkness and into the light of God Kimberly bids her mother a peaceful and truthful farewell by saying,
“Thank you for loving me enough to leave and I love you even though it hurts.”