We moved to Slave Lake and I had every intention of staying there and building a life. I got a job, even though my mom and her man and I were living in a tent. I was trying to lead a normal life, however, under very abnormal circumstances. I felt if I could get mom and I an apartment, maybe we could get the kids back. If they wanted to come live with us. I tried very hard, and didn’t drink at all. I was focusing on my job. Working in the lounge didn’t even bother me since, I had a goal! To have the family back together.
I really liked my boss, she was a very kind lady and helped me as best as she could. She liked to have a drink after work though and after I had been there for a while she would ask me to join her. I was so scared to join her, what if I lost control and got drunk. I didn’t though and I am so grateful for that. However, I knew drinking was a dangerous game for me, and one I should not play. I did not spend a lot of time with mom as I was at work, and asked for as many shifts as I could get since I was saving for a place for me and my mom. I was again becoming the caretaker, it just seemed natural, and didn’t even notice. I suppose I was co-dependent on my mom, because I still needed her approval so badly. In some ways we became friends but the mother daughter relationship seemed to be strained due to what happen in our past.
Mom was never one to own up to her mistakes or wrong doings. She was very quick to blame both me or Tyra. Sometimes she would be down right angry, but after taking her medicines she would calm down and forget what she was saying. However, it was never a good idea to try to get closure of the past with mom. If I tried it was just another way for her to show me that there are a million and one ways she could break my heart.
Disaster struck not long after we were in slave lake. We were there for maybe three weeks. We were all at my sister Tyras dads place using their shower and cleaning up. Tyra’s Dads New wife was kind enough to let us use her facilities, and I thank her for that comfort. Disaster struck, but some Higher Power must have been watching over us, because if we were at the camp site we would have been washed away and probably drowned. However we were all at the trailer in town. There was a flash flood and we were not able to get anything but our selves into the boat that came to rescue us. This Flash Flood Happened on July 5th to the 8th, 1988
We lost everything except the clothes on our backs. I had to quit my job not only because I didn’t have any clothes appropriate for serving in a Lounge but also because the establishment was flooded. Social Service’s put us up in a hotel room for a week to let us figure out what to do.
Her new man was a alcoholic who drank almost every day, However, he worked, so was gone from camp as well, unless it was his days off. I did not like him. After reflecting on it, I think the reason why was because of the attention my mom gave him. Even though she was mean to him, she still gave him enough affection that he would not leave her. That did not make a difference to me, he was still competition for her affections. It never ceased to amaze me that she would accuse me of being attracted to him. Really, that was so absurd, but if I knew then what I know now it would make more sense.
Mom decided that going to peace river to settle was the best thing for us to do. We had nothing just the clothes on our backs, I was devastated, because I knew I was going to be meeting family I did not remember, I didn’t do well with people, I became very anxious and sometimes would panic, then feel foolish. We took the bus to Peace River and two of my aunts and an uncle were there to greet us. I remember one aunt reaching for me and saying You are so beautiful!!! Those words meant so much to me! I never had any one say that to me certainly not with so much conviction and enthusiasm. I shrank inwards a bit but also felt good. My family were very nice I thought, maybe they wont hurt me.. Maybe this is were I was to start over again, rebuild my life, develop a loving mother daughter relationship, reconnect with my sisters and brother. Maybe this was the new beginning.