"Play with the puppies and I'll be back in a few hours."
These were the last words I ever heard my mother say, before she drove away.
How did I become an expert in Crap Alchemy?
Well you could say the crap started hitting the fan the moment I left my mothers womb.
I was a “blue baby” not because I was sad but because I was born with five holes in my heart.
“Blue Baby” is a term sometimes used for infants born with this condition. These little air
vampires keep the body from getting adequate oxygen. As a result the skin actually takes on a blue
hue. The fact I am here fifty years later is a miracle as most children didn’t survive this
defect or the operation. Because of my heart defect I spent much of my first two
years of life in the hospital. At the tender age of two doctors hoped
my frail body might be strong enough to survive the then very dangerous and invasive surgery.
The outcome of my surgery went well, in fact the only two things I have to remember this early
struggle is the eight inch scar I have from the top of my sternum to the bottom of my rib cage and
As difficult as coping with a birth defect and hospital life was, it was the life waiting at home that
would prove to be even more challenging.
Meet my mom, I don’t know a whole lot about her but what little I was told of her life is pretty
sad. As the story goes her father, my grandfather who I never actually met was a criminal on the
run. Because of this he and my mother were constantly on the move trying to avoid being arrested.
One day my grandfather died unexpectedly leaving my teen mom alone. I am not sure how long she
lived fending for herself on the streets before she was approached by a woman. This woman
offered to take my mother in off the streets and provide her with food and shelter. As a result my
mother became a teen prostitute working for food and shelter. As is all too common in cases like
this my mom became addicted to drugs and alcohol. One day she met my father and ran off with
him. They got married. He wanted children and she didn’t. She ended up pregnant with
me. Now not only was I a child she didn’t want I was also one who required extra care. I was told
when I came home from the hospital my mother would beat me on the head with a wooden spoon
until I would pass out and quit crying.
I was an only child for four years until my first sister was born and then two years later another
We were living in California. My father was a truck driver and gone much of the time.
With him being away so much it left my mom lots of time to drink and have parties and invite all
sorts of unsavory characters into our home. With some of her guests came unwanted attention.
One day my father decided to quit driving truck and move us from the big state of California to
Idaho. Leaving the LA life and moving to a very small and predominantly Christian town was a
huge upheaval for my mother. In fact it would soon prove to be more than she could handle. I
believe my mother did her best to fit in to this new community and way of living. One particular
memory is of her effort to can homemade tomato soup. I remember the pretty red jars, lining the
counter with her hard work. I also remember they looked way better than they tasted. It was
actually so bad, it would be many years before I dared to try tomato soup again.
Unfortunately after her failed attempts at canning, and I am sure other things I have no clue about,
plus I imagine the stronghold of drugs, alcohol and missing LA life my mother
made a drastic decision. One day while my father was at work, she woke me and told me to get
my two younger sisters ready. “We’re going to Salt Lake City, to visit the animals in the zoo.”
This was completely out of the norm. I was so ecstatic! I jumped and squealed for joy. I am pretty
sure I asked her a million annoying questions. What kind of animals would we see? Would we be
allowed to pet and feed them? Soon we were off and headed down the road.
When we arrived in Salt Lake City my mom informed us of a change of plans.
“Something way more fun is in store,” she said.
At first I thought what could be more fun than the zoo? My first thought was my own color TV, I
already had a black and white one. Mom interrupted my thoughts with:
“How about a ride on a big airplane? Imagine soaring through the skies, being right up there in the
clouds!” I looked up as she pointed her finger at the big bright blue sky and agreed that would be
really awesome. So we, my sisters and I said goodbye to the anticipation of lions, tigers and bears
and a color tv and turned our sights to our plane ride.
Upon landing, we were met by a woman at the airport. I would learn years later this was the very
same woman who had taken my teenage mom off the streets and led her into a life of prostitution.
It’s a crazy thing, the ties that are often created between a victim and their victimizer. Why
exactly my mom went back is one of the many unanswered questions I have.
We can all only make guesses about why she made the choices she did, but only she has walked in
her shoes and only she truly knows.
Our first night we stayed at this woman’s house. She and my mother went out for the evening,
leaving my sisters and I alone. It was a dark and stormy night, lightning and loud thunderous claps
shook my little eight-year-old self and terrified my two little sisters. Then we heard a sharp knock
on the door, moving like a scared church mouse I went to see who was there. It was a tall man
wearing a hat, but I only caught a glimpse of his bearded face as lightning flashed, followed by a
deafening crack of thunder. Now petrified, I scurried back to where my sisters were huddling under
a table and joined them. It was a long unsettling night in a strange place for three very confused
and frightened little girls.
With the morning sun came another crossroads in our story. We piled into a car and started on a
long, hot, dusty ride. Eventually we stopped, it was a small impoverished community. As my
mother ushered us out of the car, she pointed to a little old lady with puppies and said,
“Girls, play with the puppies and I’ll be back in a while.”
This is the last memory I have of my mother.
The time we spent in this strange place is a book of blank pages for me. It is fascinating what I can
remember and what I can't of my childhood. Doctors say the mind has the uncanny ability to lock
away things that are too much to bare and my mind is certainly proof of that.
When I think of what I can remember and how hard much of it was, I can only imagine how awful
what I can’t remember must be. I do remember clearly the day we were found.
Well, as clearly as my broken heart had allowed. One day a man approached me, calling me by
name: “Becky, Becky!” he called as he looked straight at me.
I was staring back at him wondering who this man was and how he knew my name. And then all
of a sudden I recognized him, he was my uncle. And in that moment of recognition it felt like a
dam broke with a torrent of pain like a flood that started at the tip of my toes and rushed through
my whole body. These waves of emotion hit followed by uncontrollable tears grief flooded over and
through me and I started screaming through my sobs:
“I want my mom… I want my mom… I want my mom.”
I remember him saying:
“It’s going to be okay. I’m taking you to her.”
For years I was angry, so angry that he didn’t take me to my mom. Why, I would ask, would he
tell me that he would take me to her when he knew he wouldn’t?
When I confronted my aunt about this many years later, she said,
“Bec, he wasn’t lying. Your mom was in the truck when we found you. We never would have
located you without her.”
I argued adamantly with my aunt.
“Noooo, NO! She wasn’t there! Uncle lied to me!”
Yet, the ugly truth of what had actually occurred that my heart could not bear to believe or my
mind to remember is this: the truck had a camper shell on it, I was placed in the back with my
sisters and my
mother was in the front. I could see her through the camper window. I could see her refusing to
look while I screamed and begged for my mom. But she did not move, or turn to meet my eyes.
Not once did she acknowledge me, not even when they stopped the truck to let her out to go back
to the life she had chosen over us.
For years I could not bear the pain of this memory - of being rejected and abandoned not just once
by my mother, but twice - even now this memory is slippery like the wing of a bird that I can only
catch the tip of for a moment before it flies away.
One would think that life could only get better from there, only the next five years proved to be even more traumatic
filled with emotional and physical abuse that led to a suicide attempt. I am stopping my story here because.....
...the reality is we all have our own unique loads of crap. The powerful truth is that
crap is fertlizer in diguise. When we learn how to alchemize our crap into our personal gold we find
that everything serves a purpose and develops our character, courage, confidence, compassion and
creativity. These gifts lead us to discover our purpose and prosperity.
I invite you to learn the principles of Crap Alchemy and turn your past into your power.
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