Listening to every heart
I posted the following, over four years ago, in Prose. I didn't know you then, Serenity, let alone Martie, Chris, Nancy Lee, Maureen, Maree or Vicki...
I don't think Ron will mind if I repost it here? I thought about just leaving a link...
but I opted for the full gambit.
[There has been a poem on these two subject matters, but I wanted to share some feelings this way, as well. For all of you who have “been there…”, if you haven’t let go yet, and I hope you haven’t, perhaps this will help.]
Summer, 1988. Everything at once, Lord. Why? My daughter has been diagnosed manic-depressive, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, leaving her there in the mental center, alone, scared, crying, screaming, hating, cursing, and I just walked out. I had to. She is capable of committing suicide, I knew that when she admitted she had the 97 sleeping tablets, bought over the counter, hidden in her room. Why was it that day you allowed a glimmer to come to me, when I questioned her, that she capitulated and for once, told the truth? Thank you, I guess. Yes, thanks. She needs to be where she can get help…her step-father and I have tried for so long, Tough Love, rules, regs, you name it, the discipline was there….where was she? Where did my first daughter go?
Summer, 1988. Everything at once, Lord. Why? My dad is failing faster now. I’ve got to travel the 289 miles from my door to my parents’ door to be there, to help Mom, to help Dad. Help Mom cope. Help Dad ease his way out of this life. Damn that emphysema! Damn that Cancer! Damn those horrible stinkin’ cigarettes. Thank you for never letting me even try them! I abhor the smoke! And Mom still sucks on them, standing at the sliding glass door, blowing the smoke outside so it won’t irritate Dad’s lungs. And he tells her quietly, softly, between breaths, “Honey, those aren’t good for you.” She listens, and clings to her habit. I softly curse the reasons of their habit under my breath, for I am not a screamer. And it was their choice. Oh God, why do you give us such choices. Oh yes. Adam. Eve.
I leave on Sunday afternoon to get back to begin Monday all over again.
I ask my husband, my daughter’s step-father, please, come with me to the center. Help me go through these classes. Help me get through this. I know it’s probably my fault. I know I could have, should have done better. I know you were there, being a good parent. I know you’ve tried. I’ve got to try some more. Do you want to come with me? And we go to the first meeting after the ten days where she had to be kept from us, “for her sake.” The doctors say “she doesn’t have a problem. Maybe it’s you…”. Oh. Me. Me? Did you push her buttons? Can’t you see that she is street-wise, and smart, and perhaps this time she is smarter than you? What did she tell you? That we have rules? That we have done all we could to get her through those so-called “tough, teenage years?” Did she tell you we both work, and she’s been a latch-key kid? So why is it her younger sister doesn’t have these problems? Did she tell you she’s tried drugs? That she’s run away before? That she’s had to have two abortions before the age of 16? NO, I don’t believe in abortions. I don’t believe in children having babies, either. Where were we at the time? Right there, at home, waiting for her to come home from her double-date. Yes, she came home from her date on time, 10 p.m. Doesn’t matter, being boy-crazy doesn’t wait for the magic hour of midnight, you know. No, you haven’t pushed her buttons. You’ve been nice and sweet and non-demanding, right? Why don’t you go in and tell her she has to do something, and watch the fur fly.
The fur flew. It flew so badly she had to go into solitude. And I had to leave to go to my parents’ home.
Fifteen weeks, Lord. Fifteen weeks of going to work, trying to get into our new home, which deal cannot be cancelled now, going to Tough Love classes during the week to learn that we were not alone as parents. Just what WAS in the water some years ago when all these children were conceived, all these children with problems? Fifteen weekends of leaving work with bags packed to go the 289 miles to help take care of Dad, and comfort Mom and give her some rest because Dad can’t be in the hospital, he needs to be home, where he can see the photographs of his children and grandchildren and leave, hopefully, comfortably, and not alone in a sterile environment, perhaps with none of us there.
September 2, 1988. I’m here, Dad. I’m holding your hand. The doctor’s called and Mom is telling him you made it through the night. It’s 7:00 a.m. It’s Sunday. Your hand is cold. Your cheek is not your cheek anymore. “Mom. Dad’s OK now. He’s OK now.” OK means he’s gone to be with God. She cries out. The doctor says something and she puts down the phone. Brother is there to hold her. I’m holding Dad’s hand. Goodbye, Dad.
September 4, 1988. The papers are signed releasing my daughter, on medication, back to me. She is happy and chatting and out. She knows her grandfather has died, and her happiness at being released and the sadness of his death are a sickly combination and she doesn’t let the happiness go at her own release. I have a suffocating feeling that this is another act, medication or not. I have the realization within me, creeping up toward my throat, that this will just be a game with her until she is 18, and she will leave. I know this, and I get ready, now, to say goodbye. She’s already left, and what comes now and tomorrow will never be what it could have been.
And it never was.
11 August, 1999
[This message has been edited by Sunshine (04-03-2004 08:10 PM).]