I’ll never forget that time that I had a daughter, a sister soul, who needed my love more than anything in the world. Nothing could heal her, but the calm accepting grace of a fearless heart. She fought me like I was the Tiger she had always dreamed of becoming. And when it was over my soul broke into a million pieces on the floor of her father’s last bottle of whiskey, broken- as much in reality as in spirit.
His bones were my home, and they always knew how to find me. I lived on the dying breaths of that love until the sunrises turned to fall, until the last leaves fell, until the snow blanketed the ground so high that I couldn’t believe it. I survived on the last ounces of love and friendship left that I could hold in my heart, to hold me together-
until that last day. The months and months of waiting for a kinder more sober version of his soul to resurface. The long hours in the ER, watching my dying father. The last tears of his soul, plummeting me into and out of a giant void of death.
That last day, the day I knew he’d never return quite the same- I was standing with St. Francis, praying like a witch has never prayed before. Walking the halls of the hospital, over and over again- my sister hanging on to life, her doctors hanging on to a technological glitch in the universe, my mother hanging on to the chair half asleep, and me, hanging on to the last cup of coffee for miles- in this labrynth of a hospital.
I thought about her a million times, my daughter who was never my daughter. My sister spirit, and her heart so shattered already- who would be able to ever truly be there for her? The whiskey never let her father away for long. The drugs never let her mom rest, or find peace. Somewhere she would be, I knew many years from now- wondering- if that lesson she learned was really worth it? But then again I was her teacher, and I found myself wondering the same thing.
Kids are great they say, kids are amazing and horrible and inspiring, and terrible, and you’ll never be the same.
They were so incredibly wrong! She was just ready to be herself, and didn’t know it. The kid in her was already long gone- dying in the hands of the fists that raised her. Desperate for comfort from the arms of a woman who didn’t know how to love anymore. She would never be a child, only ever- a human half hurting half healing like the best always are. True in spirit, but cascading with grief in her eyes everyday of her life. Mourning the shadows of a darkness she couldn’t heal within herself, or her mom, or her dad, or her brother. She just needed a calm and pure heart, and hers was breaking.
He loved me so much more than I ever imagined I could be, loved. Truly. And I’ll never forget his words that last day- total silence as a bag of candy hearts socked me in the face. His defiance, though beautiful at times, was stinging- and his silence echoed.
My soul broke that day, that I had to watch her sweep away his child off to live with the grandparents again. The day that she knew was coming. She fell into his bottle with him, and there they made a home- or so I imagine somedays.
My heart once, itself, imploded in the thought in the belief, in the truth of her words. In the desperateness of thier struggle striking at me, for power and control. In her jealousy, I saw her- clear as day. In her beauty, I saw little but the mother who never was really there to care the way a mother should.
And so we had all decided to love her anyway, and when I left I knew it was the right thing- to say to myself, in my own tears- I will not regret the love I gave those who truly needed it, who had atleast some gratitude, but I will not live in thier darkness with them anymore. I will love her anyway. Even if she broke my heart a million times over, even if her father’s whiskey broke my soul. The heart break of loving a child who will never quite love you back the same as you love them, endlessly- is the hardest heart break of all I learned. To love someone who may only value it when you are gone, old, decaying.
She is not my own, she never will be. But she will always be loved fearlessly. For it takes a heart of steel to love those who need it the most. But they are the ones, ironically, who will always need you anyway.
To think, this all started with an apple- an offer- a decision, made between two people- one to help the other, and both to never be the same. All for one girl, to have a healthy happy home- someone she could linger with. A safe place, to call her own- and two strong caring adults to support her growth in good times and in bad.
Not surprisingly-The apple, didn’t care so much about being tossed out, rotted to it’s core. The apple wasn’t worried about the outcome, we were the ones too intent on it. Full of expectation, and void of logic.
Love always is.
Goodbye apple, I haven’t said it yet- but I thank you for the lesson. Keep her good. She’ll need it when I’m a thousand miles away, and can’t bail her out again. 🙂 😦 ❤