A Mother's Story: Angie Doesn't Live Here Anymore
by Maggie C. Romero
Mercury HeartLink

"Only now do I recognize how bitterly angry and disappointed I've been with her throughout her addiction, partly because it's been such a difficult challenge for me as a parent, but more so because she has become the incarnation of the worst in me: lonely, isolated, compulsive and driven by addiction. Seeing this pattern carried down through the generations has burdened me terribly."

Romero's unflinchingly honest memoir recounts her life growing up with an alcoholic father, her mother's emotional abuse, her distant sister, and her own struggles with an eating disorder that's "like a panther ready to pounce at vulnerable times." She faces a lifelong battle with her addiction and as a mother she reluctantly witnesses her daughter, Angie, succumb to a similar life of addiction and pain.

With her husband Xavier Romero–a man with "a big heart"–Romero bears three children: Carlos, Angie, and Caroline. Their life together should be very happy living abroad in Europe, but the marriage is strained by Xavier's long working hours and her raising the children. The separation from her husband and her attempts to be good mother coupled with the desire for individuality and a career outside the home awakens the love-hate battle with her self-esteem. "Addiction is a powerful disease and, like a cancer, it wants to survive."

Later, with her new partner Gene, Romero finds herself in a new war with Angie, who spirals out of control with drug addiction. While she does all she can to help Angie, Romero eventually recognizes the need to sever the cord and release herself from the obsession and crippling pain of her daughter.

Romero alternates with time in her memoir, reflecting on the past and present, attempting to understand key moments and decisions that ultimately affected her family and where she is today. Her complex relationship with Angie is detailed with an emotional and truthful perspective of a mother who, despite everything, still loves her daughter. Through A Mother's Story Romero comes to terms with her own failures and successes while exorcising the demons that plague her.

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