Back. Back from where? Was she ever really lost or just misguided? Her path obsolete, or obstructed? Her eyes lost sight of You. Her heart led astray, she gazes into darkness. What’s that strange glow over there? She wondered if she were to follow, where it would take her instead.
Alone. Could she even imagine? Her heart pounding with anticipation. Fear rises in her chest. Her breath gasps all the while as her feet press on. Trust this road. Strange as it may feel. Unsteady, untraveled, yet somehow safer, more will be revealed.
Brighter. The air smells clean. Her lungs catch the depth of her inhalation, taking another gulp. Releasing the toxins, her long exhalation, she sneaks one more and smiles. Even her vision, no longer impaired as she drinks in all the beauty in front of her.
Beckoning. The force pulls her. Unlike any she’s experienced before. This is sweeter, gentler, safer. “This way,” a soft whisper in her ear, “be the change you want to see”.
Puzzled. She shakes off the lies, pulls the constraints, flips the tape over to hear a different story. The one where she shines before her light went dim.
Solitude. She goes within. Silently she sits at last. Longer stretches of time pass. That awaited breath flows like never before. This must be what peace feels like.
Those lies, the ones they told me, I’m learning to rewrite the words in a way that inspires rather than devours me. In a word, or 4, I am a good person.
Ever get tired of listening to the sound of your own voice? The one that rattles on inside the corners of your mind? As I begin to take captive these very objective thoughts, I practice re-recording them. Now when I begin to play them back, I hear my voice, my truths, my consoling love and I let go. Capturing the simplicity and compassion I’ve longed for.
It isn’t in another where I seek and draw from the soothing joy I find within. I watch my daughter struggle with her inner being as she wrestles the demons that have haunted her, but she is all knowing. She always has been. She is a conqueror, a warrior and she’s afraid sometimes, but she rises up to take on the challenges of another day. I admire her completely. I support her in the ways she needs and I step back while she finds her way.
My life has been that incessant rollercoaster. This child of mine is most like me of all. She’s witnessed her mom’s struggles and has even inherited many of my my traits. She is fiercely independent yet welcomes a hand up from her trusted allies. I embrace this journey she is on, loving her with absolute unconditional love while I learn by listening.
Even though she tells me not to be, I’m often apologetic for not seeing through her pain early in her life. I’m your mom I tell her, I knew instinctively of your hurting, but what it was I couldn’t figure out. I thank her for trusting me now. For being the bravest young person I’ve ever known. One who has courage when her fear stops her in her tracks, paralyzing her from taking a step on any given day, but somehow managing the next breath. In a world that is more divided, cannot accept diversity and is extremely judgmental, she perseveres. I tell her she has been blessed with this gift to do great things.
As my granddaughter and I walked up to join my daughter in line at the pharmacy yesterday, a woman in front had been chatting with her as they stood patiently awaiting their turn. She smiled at me as I took my place next to her and this kind, older lady asked, “is this your son? I was just saying there’s a twin in here that looks just like”… she trailed off, I felt my heart thump as this was my first encounter, an opportunity to practice my reply. I smiled at my daughter, hesitated, wanting to feel natural and proudly correct her, when the words, “they’re with me” escaped my lips just as my 9 year old granddaughter confidently spoke up, pointing at her dad, correcting the lady’s mistake… “her daughter”, she told the woman. “Ohh, sorry” her words apologetic and sincere. Both my daughter and I beamed as we looked at this unwavering little girl. We should all be so matter of fact, straightforward and honest.
She taught me a valuable lesson in that simple display of assuredness. This is not something to make any sort of issue out of, unless you choose to. Wisdom comes from the most untouched of places. I stood in awe and felt my heart swell in admiration. Life is as simple or difficult as we make it be.
She thanked her profusely for never following through with her suicidal thoughts. She couldn’t bring herself to ask if there were actual attempts. She just let her brain assume so, but prayed there weren’t and won’t be anymore. Fear…
These two are so freakishly alike it’s a beautiful harmonious connection. They’ve shared those thoughts as if these were good bonding moments. Really what it says is, “I know better than anyone, and understand your heavy heart, the devastating pain and deepest hurts you’re feeling”. Her mama couldn’t possibly know how she felt exactly, but the agony resonated. The feelings of complete despair and just a desire for the pain to stop. Yeah, that she gets. Confusion…
Mama sits with her, she’s learning to listen, really hear her child’s anguish, obstacles, fears and all the past that floods her head and it all pours out. Sometimes her words are accompanied with anger and outbursts still, almost always with tears and probably for a long while still with confusion of what to do next. “Take it slow, but definitely at your pace”, she encourages her. Processing…
Let her just vomit her words so the poison is extracted. “It’s ok”, she tells her, “I can hold it for you sweetie, I can take it”. Mama knows her frustration isn’t about her necessarily. She can be her sounding board, but not her punching bag or doormat. She’s learned that part of detachment pretty well. It’s not without difficulty when it’s your own child. Unconditional…
Ever since she was 12 her favorite expression was, “I got this mom”. And you know, she always has. Mama smiles intently at her, “I know baby, but it’s ok not to have it all figured out right here right now. Give time time and let things come to you naturally when you can. Forcing solutions can be frustrating as hell, as can sitting still, I know”. Wisdom…
Their talks are more frequent now and her mama is grateful for the relief she sees in her child’s face more often, now and then, here and there. This is only the beginning of all the transitions ahead, yet the only thing that ever matters to her mama is her children’s happiness, contentment and feeling loved, all of them. Closeness…
She gave birth to her and her brothers, she has them all on borrowed time and she knows this too well. Time is fleeting and life is precious. How quickly it can disappear, how fragile it actually is. Guilt consumes her some days. The “if only’s” play out in her head and she cries. Sadness overwhelms her at times and she makes time to call her child just to say I love you. She can’t seem to hug her tight enough when she sees her. Never again will she ever feel her mama’s absence, nor will her brothers. Available…
She thinks they still need her as they always have, but really it’s mama who’s needing them more. Present…
I turned my head for just a moment and you were gone. A panic washed over me as I frantically called your name. Pushing garments of ladies apparel aside, rack by rack, I could hear a faint giggle. You were only 2 and you loved to play games like that. Unbeknownst to you, the fear that arose in my chest, as you would grow accustomed to saying, “I got this mom”, and you always have. Somehow that would be your way of assuring me you would always be okay, no matter what.
I feel so lost without you now. You got this, right? Yet that all too familiar panic has risen up and taken residence in my heart. This time I blinked and tried again, but I don’t hear the giggling in the air. I can’t see your face. I can’t find you anywhere.
Before you could form sentences or even threw your binky away, I could tell there was a mystery about you. Over time it was the little things that made you cry, often inconsolably and I couldn’t figure out why, but you knew.
Years would pass. You were growing up, trying to find the place where you belong. Never feeling liked by the kids on the school ground, not knowing how much you actually were. Was it your hyper activity that kept you moving? Sports became an outlet, baseball, soccer, dirt bikes, skateboards, bikes and scooters. Anything that would occupy your energy and free your spirit, but still, you sought after anything that would grant you acceptance. You tried basketball, even wrestling and joined the school band on drums. Then one day you asked for a bass guitar. Please mom. Happy birthday sweetie. You joined brothers, forming a band, the 3 of you, so young and talented, you were more than good, you were amazing.
Sports and all “that” began to fall away. You’d found this passion deep inside playing bass. Self taught, you wouldn’t allow me to “waste money on lessons when you could teach yourself” and you did. Yet all those years I’d watch you on stage, self conscious and insecure, as if you were still searching for that place of belonging, because you were.
Your pain continued to haunt you. I couldn’t read it, put my finger on it, then he left and you were devastated. The dad you tried so hard to please, to be like and feel included by. This was a whole new level of despair while I was desperately working to be all I could for you 3, but somehow I saw it in your heart, for you this grief of loss was affecting you in some other way. It was different and deeper.
That same 2 year old resides within, still inconsolable, try as I may. “I love you” are all the words I have, with everything I know. Life was harder back then, but we were gaining everyday as we made our way through, just us 4.
We got this, right? Wrong… “We” crumbled. My turn. You’re gone. Here I sit. Motionless. Breathless. Helpless. Guilt. Hands in the air. Heart splitting in 2. Inconsolable. I’m still searching for that place of belonging, just for you.