And one year later, we reappeared.

In April of 1986, my Mother and I flew back to PA. After having been gone for almost a year with no contact with anyone. My mother called my godmother from the airport to ask for a ride. She agreed to pick us up if my mother agreed to turn herself in the next morning. She agreed and I was able to stay with my godparents while she served her time and was released on probation. The charges against my mother were for forgery; mostly for writing bad checks.

After a few months, my godmother convinced my mother to start Christian counseling and offered to pay for her sessions. It was with a woman counselor who operated out of her home and had a daughter right around my age. In the beginning, the three of us would go together. I would hang out in the waiting room with the counselor’s daughter and we would pretend to read my godmother stories while we waited. This routine only lasted a little while, until my mother was convinced she was “better” and eventually she started keeping the money for her sessions instead of actually going. When my godparents finally found out, they had no choice but to ask her to leave their home. She had been living there for about a year and for several months she had been slowly stealing from them.

Unsure where to go, my mother drove to the home of my godmother’s best friend; Karen. Another person who will forever hold a very special place in my heart. She told me this story when I was in my early twenties in one of the last meaningful moments I shared with her. It was told to me as an example of the importance of faith.

Karen was sitting in the kitchen, when she felt the urge to stand up. Through the living room window, she noticed my mother’s car coming down the driveway. Pleasantly surprised, she began walking towards the door. Still glancing at the window, she noticed my mother bend down as if to to tell me something and peered in closer to capture the moment. Expecting a warm embrace, she gasped as she watched my mother grab my arm, look directly at me and then pinch me. Tears welling up in my eyes, she grabbed my hand and began walking towards the house.

Now standing behind the door, Karen waited for the knock. Composing herself and trying to appear oblivious, she answered with an immediate inquiry as to our troubles.  My mother explained that I was crying because we had no place to live and asked if we would be able to live with her until we were back on our feet.

Karen paused in reflection.

Had she not been privy to my mother’s previous actions, she would have taken us in with no question. Making herself vulnerable to the same misdoings that many others had been victim to. This could have devastated her.

So, as hard as it was, her answer to my mother was a very firm no. She said it broke her heart to see me cry and she wanted more than anything to scoop me up and take me away, but she knew it was just not possible. Instead, she closed the door and prayed. A prayer she continued for many years after.

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