What It Feels Like to Be Sleeping Beauty

By Chase Becker // As Told to Benjamin Nauman

I was fifteen years old.

I spent my day like any other: I woke up, went to school, came home and got ready to go workout with my dad. Everything was normal. Why would I think that this specific Friday in December would be different than any other day?

My dad finally got home, which meant it was time to go to the gym, or so I thought.

He called me downstairs into his office. Immediately when I walked in, I could tell he was not right. Why was he crying? This didn’t seem like he was going to ask me how my day was or what I learned today.

I was right.

My dad and I knew something like this would end up happening; we knew that her alcoholism would eventually catch up to her. It still did not feel real.

My mom cannot be dead.

I was struck with disbelief. Why would my grandparents not have told my dad and I that she’d fallen into a coma ten days ago? Why would they not give me the chance to see her? There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been on the first flight to Florida had we known about her condition. But how was I supposed to know? My mom and I had very limited communication ever since she had moved away; I hadn’t talked to her in over a month.

I wish I had. I wish I had stayed more connected with her. I wish I had said goodbye. It is my biggest regret and it haunts me every day.

Life is too short to take things for granted. After such a sudden change in my life, I learned that I have to make the most of every moment. I learned that even the smallest action can leave an incredible mark on someone’s life.

After her passing, I noticed that I had become a more caring person, always making sure everyone was all right, even before myself. I had never done that in the past. I was so used to focusing on my personal well being and mindset. It was strange.

My dad is my best friend, but he wasn’t always. We used to have a relationship where he was just a father figure, we rarely ever bonded or talked about anything besides school and football.

After my mom passed, my dad and I became extremely close. We both realized that everything could be taken from us at any moment; we realized that if we do not take the time that we have now to build a better relationship, that we never would.

There are times in life where a mom is necessary, but now I no longer have that luxury. Even though I had lived without seeing her every day, I could still reach out and talk to her. Now she was gone, completely out of my life in every circumstance. It had felt like I had gone to Hell and back, but if John Constantine could handle it, so could I.

I have a few pictures and my memories, that is all that I have to remember her. She is the reason that I enjoy some of the things that I do.

Most people who know me think that country is my favorite genre of music, while they are not completely wrong, most people don’t know that I also like rock and roll, because of her. That was her favorite kind of music and she was always playing it around the house and in the car throughout my young life.

She is the reason that I was able to find my passion in football. Without her convincing my dad to let me play, I would not be in the position I am today. I would not have been able to accept an offer to play a sport in college.

When I play sports, I do not focus on trying to accomplish things for myself. I want to make sure that I am helping everyone else to improve and enjoy what they are doing. I work hard for all the people around me. I work hard because I know that she would have wanted me to always do my best.

My tattoo is for her and everything about it means something. It is a tree and in the tree is a skull. It represents the tree of life and the skull represents her. Under the tree is a boy, sitting, thinking. This boy represents me, remembering all of the times that I shared with my mom and what life would be like if I had gotten to see her one last time.

That is always a thought that is in my head.

What if?

What if she hadn’t moved away to Florida? What if I kept in better contact with her? What if my grandparents had told my dad and I earlier? What if my mom was still alive?