The story of how Emma, 16, still loves her mum – despite her being an alcoholic – appears over two pages and on the cover of BELLA magazine.
A few weeks ago we received an incredibly well written and poignant letter from Emma. Aged just 16, she had grown up with an alcoholic mum. Sadly her mum died a few months ago but as Emma revealed despite everything, she still loved her…
Emma was five when her parents split but she stayed with her mum. Only her mum became an alcoholic. Whatever Emma did was never good enough for her mum and she spent many nights believing mum didn’t love her because she loved her drink more.
Emma often thought of living with her dad, but she was so loyal and didn’t want to desert her mum. But there was often no food in the fridge (only drink), and often when she came home from school, her mum would be blind drunk.
At weekends Emma and her siblings would go to stay with their dad, who had remarried. There they had a normal loving family life but Emma tried not to let on about mum as she was very loyal.
However, eventually Emma’s mum’s drunken episodes became more frightening and social services made the decision for her. Emma was upset to leave her mum although she was happy with dad.
Emma, who before this had sometimes been falling asleep in class, began to excel at school. But she still cared about her mum – who continuously refused help from anyone including professionals – and regularly went round to care for her, cleaning up after her mum. When her mum was more sober she would tell Emma how much she loved her and today Emma holds onto that.
Sadly in December 2012 her mum went into hospital. She told Emma she was sorry for the childhood she’d given her – but she was dying from liver failure. In April 2013 she died.
But Emma knows her mum would be proud. Despite the nightmares, she knows she was dearly loved. She is now studying for A levels – she lives with Dad and her stepmum.
* As a minor, Emma’s letter was printed with the full consent of her dad and stepmum.
If you are a child growing up with an alcoholic parent and need help go to http://www.coap.org.uk/
Do you have a story about childhood to sell? Family relationships are always complex – but we all have them! – and hence they are popular for both newspapers and magazines. For advice on how to get your story printed in a magazine or newspaper (and maybe to appear on TV too) contact us using the form to the right of this page…