Risk


By Michelle Lemme

Awake at 5:00 a.m., the “witching” hour, when I am most consumed with ruminating thoughts about my daughter, SA.  I do everything in my power to stay in the present moment, but I am unable to find the calm that almost always come when I do my diaphragmatic breathing.  I pray, but am not sure what it is that will bring me relief…I love my adult child, she needs help and I cannot provide her with what she needs.  Our situation, after nearly 8 months apart, has not improved.  I am not yet strong enough to have her in my life, it is simply too risky and my husband and other daughter are terrified that I will descend into the depths of hell again if our interactions continue.

In late November, after nearly 8 months of virtually no contact with each other (see Into the Darkness), my daughter and I reunited.  We met at my therapist’s (Marlene) office.  For the better part of an hour, Marlene spoke with SA about my illness and the impact that our relationship has on my psyche.  Marlene was brilliant; there was no finger pointing, no blame or shame.  Sarah and I held hands and cried throughout our session.

The thing that I struggle most with, is finding the strength to not try to “fix” her life.  It is wrong of me to expect or to assume that SA has or will truly change….how can she when she has yet to receive the help she so desperately needs.  In the past year, SA has been hired and fired from more jobs than I can remember, been picked up by the police at least twice and has moved into 4 different places.  She has to move again at the end of the month, as the house she is renting with friends has sold and is being torn down…Lord help me not to fixate on this latest development; she will be 21 this month, time that she begins to behave like an adult.  She actually accused me of “faking” my hospitalization, just to avoid seeing her…seriously, how is one supposed to deal with that?  The answer is really quite simple, do not engage.  What frightened me the most, was after a barrage of raging text messages to my husband (about me), I was sick to my stomach and filled with anxiety and went to lie down.  As I was doing my breathing, I was positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I heard her crying.  Just as I thought I heard her voice, the doorbell rang, and I nearly jumped out of my skin.  When I descended into hell last spring, it started with me hearing her voice, so you can imagine the gripping terror I was feeling.  When I spoke with my doctor, he reminded me that I am better, part of  the proof was in the fact that I recognized when I heard her voice, it was not real.   I have come too far to allow my mind to play tricks on me;  I am strong, I am loved and I am a good person.

I miss my daughter and I love her more than words can say; our relationship deeply saddens me,  it is certainly not what I imagined  it would be when I first held her in my arms.  Truly, my heart is full of sorrow and torment.  I need to have her in my life in some fashion, as such, I am once again taking a risk and allowing myself to see her, this time, guarded with the knowledge that I should have no expectations of her, and that in order for her to respect my boundaries, I must first do so myself!