“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
― Rick Warren
Days get a little easier but the pain doesn’t go away.
Last week’s letter sent me back about a thousand years. Reading my daughter’s words, I cried- actually I sobbed. A lot of pain that could have been saved if only I had known what I know now.
Recently I sat down with her dad to talk about what’s going on. I asked him specifically about something the family always ‘laughed off’ and trying to respect their privacy I never really dug for more information. I asked him if he could really explain to me the whole thing about him being sent off as a teen.
After a brief pause the floodgates opened. I heard ‘treatment center’, ‘pushed my mother down the stairs’, ‘broken arm’, ‘anxiety’, ‘aggressiveness’, and ‘repeat visit’. When he was 13 and his hormones/testosterone in full swing, he developed issues exactly like my daughter developed at exactly the same age. Things he said I was making up, he simply refused to acknowledge were coming back to haunt him. He pushed his mother down the stairs and the next day he ended up at a treatment facility, and then a residential treatment center (RTC) for a couple of years. In all, he was gone for 3 years the first time. One year the second time. His levels stabilized around 19-20 and he went on to have a ‘normal’ life. College, law school, work, family, everything just like everyone else.
But I got so angry. Things I should have known, and had I known, I would have pushed harder for some resolve or for him to take real notice and help us sooner rather than end up at the point we are now. I would not have let her father’s past come back to haunt us. Or at least I would have gone down fighting. I wrote to my daughter in not so many words, that I felt I had failed her and I apologized for my mistakes in this journey of ours.
I’ve always told her, despite all our troubles, to lead with her heart and with kindness. And in her letter to me she caught this really subtle message and wrote to me:
‘ You didn’t fail me. Not at all. You loved and cared for me and that’s really all you could do. I’m sorry I used you as much as I did.’
The whole letter summed up in those words. I have never loved a soul as much as I love this child of mine but yet somehow I feel I could have done so much more. I could have saved her sooner. If only I had a bigger bubble right? I know deep down we all try our best and now knowing this piece of her father’s past, can I only move forward and think that throug all those tough years, I was able to do it by myself. Maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be. For now anyways.
Peace & Love