Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and illustrator, but that didn’t spare him a difficult childhood as one of the 8 million people in the United States who grew up with a parent who suffers from addiction.
Krosoczka’s lost her battle with addiction after she overdosed on heroin on March 23, Krosoczka wrote in a poignant Facebook post reflecting upon his experiences in witnessing her struggle with the disease all of his life.
Krosoczka said the “horrible disease” has been taking his mother from him “piece by piece” for his entire life.
“This is difficult, but there is peace in this,” he wrote, adding that he will no longer wake up in the middle of the night wondering if she is okay. “I am mourning, but I have been mourning her loss for many, many years now.”
Krosoczka wrote that now that his mother is gone, “she will no longer be suffering, no longer experiencing the inner turmoil of being who she wanted to be versus feeling the need to fill her body with that poison.”
For the majority of his childhood, Krosoczka’s mother was either incarcerated or in a rehabilitation center, he wrote. For a while, the pair enjoyed a “really good” relationship, which included her attending hometown book signings, dancing at his wedding and holding his first child.
It wasn’t long before that harmonious relationship turned sour, he said.
“But as my own family grew and as I got to see my name and books up in lights in Times Square, I started seeing my mother’s name in the court records of the newspaper once again,” he wrote.
Krosoczka then made the “excruciating decision” to withdraw his mother from his children’s lives.
“I would not allow my kids to experience the same pain that I had,” he wrote. “And now that we are here, they are none the wiser about what is happening. They are living a wonderful childhood, and we are teaching them about my mother’s life as it becomes developmentally appropriate for them.”
The family held a “wonderful, private memorial” for his mother in Worcester that she would have “absolutely loved,” he said.
During her time in correctional facilities, Krosoczka and his mother would mail drawings back and forth to one another, and he kept every single thing she ever sent him, he said.
Krosoczka displayed those drawings and photos of happier times at the memorial, where he also read aloud letters that she wrote him while in prison. The author has found clarity in revisiting those letters, he wrote
“What had become clear to me became clear to everyone listening—she loved me so very much,” Krosoczka said. “Some kids are being raised by their biological parents and they aren’t loved half as much as my mom loved me.”
Despite all of his difficulties growing up, Krosoczka acknowledges that perhaps watching his mother “squander her talent” was the catalyst to “make a career” out of his art.
“I am who I am in spite of my mother, but I also am who I am because of her—she taught me to never shy away from expressing my love for family,” he wrote.
Krosoczka wrote that he knows there is someone who read his post and nodded along to every single word.
“I hope that you can find the inner peace that I have found,” he wrote.
In lieu of flowers, Krosoczka is asking that donations be made in his mother’s name – Leslie Krosoczka – to the Joseph and Shirely Krosoczka Memorial Youth Art Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum.
(H/T: Yahoo News)
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