My daughter had her prom this year which was pretty great to be a part of, even though she might be the most ungrateful person on Earth. I tried to just enjoy myself around her demands, and attitude, and words, and to see through it. She was anxious, and excited, and I knew none of it was personal.
It was truly wonderful to be there, and I know that later in her life, after the bitch wears off, she'll look back and remember how I cried. She of course yelled at me to stop, really loud, in what I can only assume was an attempt to embarrass me in front of the whole town, but whatever. I wasn't embarrassed, I was proud to be bawling. I was happy to be there because that moment was on my list.
When my daughter was four years old, I attempted to take my own life. It had become beyond unbearably painful, and I could not stop hurting myself and others. I did not know what was happening, but I was pretty sure I was the victim of life and I wanted to stop it. I had probably a couple of diagnoses at this point as well as non-compliance with medication; medication that should not be mixed with alcohol. I reached my end one night after something insignificant that I had blown out of proportion and I was ready to die. I was, of course, intoxicated and sobbing because it was 2am and there weren't many nights that I wasn't. That night I was feeling overwhelmed and unable to climb out of the rubble.
I downed a bottle of pills, and I sat down to write some letters to my family. I wanted everyone to know how I felt and how sorry I was for all of the things I was going to miss. I wrote a very long and guilt ridden letter to my parents and then started the letter to my daughter. This letter read like a list because there was so much of her life that I would be absent from. I apologized that I would not be there for her first day of school. I was sorry that I would not be around during the changes in her life and body, when she would need me most. I begged her to forgive me for missing prom, and graduation, her wedding, and the birth of her babies. I added these things to the list and tried with all of my might to believe I had no choice in leaving.
I convinced myself that I was not worthy of these beautiful moments with her, and that my presence was not necessary. Depression is a lying bitch, and without defense against her I was open to all suggestion. I was a loser, a terrible mother that couldn't show up, a waste of oxygen. Self-pity City is a dangerous place to visit, and I was living there.
So, I continued my list, and it saved my life. It was while I scratched paper with pen and made that wonderful list that hope found me. In that tiny room, surrounded by the mess I had made of my life, it was in that list that I found strength. A tiny part inside of me screamed that we should be there, that we wanted to be, and I began to fight for my crappy life. I asked for help for the first time and I received it immediately. I didn't feel worthy of it, but I accepted it for my daughter.
Many things occurred after that amazing moment; I got sober, I took action to make my circumstances better, I learned how to take responsibility for my life. I began to surround myself with people I admired and I trusted them to help me be a better woman and mother. I started to practice the changes in behavior and I started to feel better. Hope was restored piecemeal and I was able to build a life for myself and for my daughter.
So, on the day of her prom I cried. I cried for the woman that didn't know how precious that moment would be and almost missed it. I cried for the list and the joy of being able to cross off one more beautiful event, because I was there. I was not embarrassed, I was grateful and I yelled back to her,
"So what? I'm crying because I love you, and I don't care who's watching."
And I didn't.
Julie @ Next Life, NO Kids
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