Our Drunk Angel

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

I feel I need to update this post. This is a post of my truth. What and how I experienced events during this time. I apologize if anyone is offended in my sharing.

I do not apologize for my thoughts about those times. I do not apologize for the fact I know my parents both had problems. I do apologize to myself for walking on egg shells and tip toeing around my feelings in order to bring a sense of peace to everyone else. My siblings and my other relatives I’m certain have their own truths as well. I just decided to take my rose colored glasses off and not glamorize the experiences for anyone. That defeats my purpose. Thank you for understanding.

Our Drunk Angel

I don’t remember getting dressed for picture day on this specific day. Looking back though, I see a cute little girl who probably didn’t care anything about what she looked like. I mean for goodness sake; it was kindergarten.

Ragamuffin Picture day
Little Me

I do remember my Grandmother being furious about this photo. She wasn’t there that day though. She didn’t get to do her best to doll me up. She always took such pride in presentation; Even if she did wear pin-curls and a head full of rollers out to eat or anywhere else she ventured for what felt like at least a week with each new rolled set. I think she knew how important self esteem could be from the day we were all born. It seemed a priority to her and she did her very best to instill that in us kids.

Grandma & us on the first day of many new schools

I was home with Mom and Dad. ( well maybe one of them ) Dad may not have came in the night before and Mom may have been swallowing her diet pills with a drink from the pink can of T.A.B., crying and listening to Kenny Rogers. His song, LADY, burned in my brain for life. It meant they’d had a fight.

Little did I know it wasn’t going to be long and life was going to turn completely upside down for me and my siblings.

Talk about powerless.

I’ll never forget the mental photograph of my mom the day we left Spokane. The day she decided to pack a bag for my siblings and I, quickly; And be gone before our father got home.

Greyhound Bus Station here we come.

What I didn’t understand was why we had to leave our home and why we had to leave our dad, and all our other family behind. Of-course there was brief excitement for an adventure. I say brief because it was short lived.

I remember feeling extreme anxiety even as a kindergartener; I had 3 library books with me that needed to be turned in.

My mom sat at the very back of the bus with two men. “I need to read to my little brother and sister, and keep their eyes from wandering back there.” I remember how I felt back then and I wanted to make sure we were all okay.

I tried. I’m sure they saw her sprawled out in-between her new friends as they passed around a brown paper sack that covered ( The Grown Up Water. )

I’ll never forget the cloud of smoked that filled the back of that bus from them chain smoking…….

Mom looked like a Drunk Angel in the clouds.

Mom on the Highway to Hell

It’s heartbreaking when I look back and remember some of the things I saw my mother accept so she could survive a situation; Or was it so she could take an easy out? Maybe a mix of both. Not my monkey I suppose.

What I didn’t understand later in life was that we left because dad got drunk too often and couldn’t hold down a job, only so she could go and be with a man that held down a job but also a heavy fist.

He was great at handing dollar bills out and buying thing’s for people. I still recall the expressions of joy he received from his family when he showed up baring gifts for them all. Who cares that he just left welps and bruises all over his girlfriend’s son that cried too loudly in the other room because the bed was wet. One would think ( step daddy ) would have taken the big sparkly cowboy buckle off the belt first or at least just use the strap. Not this guy. No. This guy hated to share our mother and wanted to make sure we knew when the lights go out, we better go out too. My little brother broken, and my little sister scared to death.

I don’t remember feeling anything other than fear myself. Survival of the mentally fittest. I knew I had to mind him. I tried. God knows I tried. Tried for him to like me. Tried for him to accept me. Tried to keep the peace, as good as a kindergartner could.

It was not long and we were rescued. It felt like a rescue because mom knew she had to make the call to get us back home because she couldn’t take watching him punish us.

Some thought it was because she didn’t want us there, as we were inconvenient, but I, now, as a mother myself, know exactly what my mom was doing.

I carry a picture of her with two black eyes in a book I have. She probably doesn’t even know I have it. Mom was in survival mode.

Why I’d never settle for a man with a temper.

We ended up back and forth several times in our childhood due to other factors. Final stop was with him in our life everyday, after we lost our father to alcohol poisoning. A lot of bad with a little good.

I believe our parents did the best they could with the divorce and custody. It isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone. I just wish someone could have warned me ahead of time to be prepared for the long road ahead for my siblings and I.

That man died several years ago from cancer. Believe me I had no remorse in my bones as I watched him lay helpless in his hospital bed. I tried to be as kind as I could but it was very forced. Chemo poisoning him. Finally he is suffering. I see you Karma and I thank you. Isn’t that horrible? That I could feel so callus?

As I look back in time; I realize the only reason he didn’t punish or beat me as often as he did my little brother, was because I learned to manipulate him. I also had a big loud mouth by the time I was a teenager and he knew it.

I understand it now.

Survival mode.

My mom and her new husband had two more children later on. I mean no disrespect to either of them by this entry. I love them dearly and I am sure they have stories of their own. They came into the picture years later.

Once my sister and I got old enough that we could get out of there, we got out and stayed out. In our youth we definitely rebelled him more. Definitely didn’t go out of our way to respect him much.


As an adult, I tried to force a relationship with him out of pity for my mother’s sake. When he died it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. Briefly. Then it fell back on top of me like boulders. The powerless feeling lives on. That man left wreckage and my little brother still weeps.

Douglas Harold Riley Nill
Robbed from the start
We love you Riley

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Our Drunk Angel


  1. broadmoorkarate says:

    Oh my gosh. This cuts deep to the bone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Making my way through all the mud and muck, maybe room for more of the good stuff to come out.


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