When your baby is born, the first thing most parents do is count the fingers and toes, thus visibly ensuring that their baby is “o.k.” This visual once over seems to work to ease the mind of worried parents. Then, when the baby follows the milestone, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking and babbling, the parents breathe an audible sigh of relief, thinking to themselves that their child is perfect.
However, what the parents don’t realize is that sometimes signs imperfection do not show up for many years. Most people who are schizophrenic are often not diagnosed until their late teens or early twenties. The perfect child one thought they had, suddenly is assaulted by voices, sending that child over the brink into madness.
Darling Daughter, your depression has crept upon you like a tiger in the night stealths upon its prey. One day we had a daughter who was well-liked, happy, and secure. Suddenly, that daughter was gone, replaced by a stranger, one who took to cutting in order to feel something, anything, in order to just feel, even if that feeling was one of hurt.
Like the schizophrenic, you to hear voices. The voice inside your head telling you that life is just too hard and we would all be better off without you. That voice scares me and I hope that it doesn’t finally win. It winning would mean losing you forever.
I look at you and your beautiful. You still are perfect to me.
I see your life in two distinct stages. One before your middle school years and one after middle school. When you were younger, everybody would tell your dad and I how lucky we were that you were our daughter. Everyone commented about your even temperament, your willingness to help others, and your general overall goodness. Truth told, your dad and I wondered to ourselves, how in the hell did we get so lucky?
Then, everything changed. I distinctly remember when the police showed up at our door in the middle of the night. It is when I realized that the daughter that I thought you were, no longer existed or if she did, you were hiding her away, maybe trying to keep yourself from getting hurt. It wasn’t us that had hurt you, but I think that in your pursuit of trying to burying your emotions, we got packed away and forgotten as well. I don’t understand it.
Overwhelming fear has been a part of my life for the past five years, ever since we found out that you had planned on taking your life. Every night before I go to bed, I pray to something that I’m not sure exists, that I will still have a daughter that is alive. When I try to talk to you, to get you to share what your feeling and implore upon you to feel, I’m met with a stone wall. How can I get through to you so that you know that I do care and tell me, when will the daughter I once knew, come back? Or, is she lost to me forever?
When I talked to you on the phone yesterday, you told me that you might come home on Monday. I don’t think it even occurred to you that today is Mother’s Day. Will you call or drop by? That is what I am left wondering about on this Mother’s Day morning.
I think over the almost two decades that you have been in my life with a sense of awe and regret. When you were born, I could not believe that this beautiful creature had come from my womb. How had I managed not to fuck this up and would I be able to live up to the awesome task of not making a monumental mess of this gift that I held?
it seems that somehow along the way things have gotten skewed in a way that I never meant it to be. That is where the regret comes in. The last thing I have ever wanted is for you to make the mistakes that I made. However, I’ve come to the realization that you are going to make decisions that I may never agree with and it’s you that will have to live with the consequences.
I cannot go back and change the past. I also cannot make you take any of the wisdom that I’ve managed to acquire over my four decades of living. All I can do is tell you that I love you, even when I sense that you do not believe it.
My wish is that I could go back in time to pinpoint where everything changed. There had to be a pivotal moment in which you felt that your family didn’t love you, a point where you believed you were better off not letting anyone in, closing off the outside world to prevent any pain of loss, hurt or betrayal.
However, my dear Persephone, as much as we cherish the joy in our lives, we must also embrace the pain. We cannot truly enjoy life and all the beauty it holds without contrasting it with the ugliness that exists. When we try to block out that which hurts us, it’s like we are living in grayscale, never seeing the bright and vibrant colors of life.
Know this, when you finally allow those of us who love you so deeply into your world, I hope that I can hold your hand to help you.