First my high school update because I know everyone has been wondering and thinking on this.... Little One is on day 4 of high school and its been awesome! She likes all of her teachers and when she talks about it, I can hear confidence and surety in her voice. Bless her brave heart. She told me yesterday about initiating a conversation with a person she didn't know in her science class....this is HUGE progress and she felt proud of herself and encouraged. Maybe all of these years she just needed to go to high school! To be a big girl. We have always said she's an old soul.
Ok that's crazy. But for today, all is well and she is feeling strong with a new found confidence. I will take it!
My little Hospice client does not have long.... and I am struck that even on her death bed her first thought is the safety of her "boys." Her grown sons come to see her and these are professional, well established gentlemen in their 60's, who are self sufficient and capable in a myriad of ways. When they leave she still tells them in her little whisper voice which is all she can muster up, "be careful." One was leaving and going to a barbecue and she said, "Ok, but don't drink anything."
I wanted to kiss her on the cheek! I know the desperate NEED to speak those types of warnings and admonishments out. If we just say it, maybe we can ward off whatever danger lurks out there waiting to grab up our kids, or we can detour any dangerous decision they will make. It makes me wonder what the secret parts of her story are that she feels the need, even on her death bed, to still caution her boys, to protect them.
It makes me aware of how strong that mother's need to nurture and protect really is. That mother's instinct that I have spent the last 10 years trying to quell while I detach and let go. I've always said that it goes against nature to do this. Even in the animal kingdom they circle around their wounded and sick young ....not turn away from. (Ok, sometimes they eat them too!) However, I also know that all of my best efforts have not been enough to change one thing for my girl.
The place I have come to at this point is not turning away, but accepting her as she is. I read an article by Dr. Howard Wetsman a couple days ago and there was a sentence about loving our addicted loved ones, not in spite of their addiction, but including their addiction. (The actual article was about something totally different, but this one sentence really grabbed me) That is a stretch. I don't love addiction. I hate it. It has marred my life since my conception....but I do love my girl. The girl she used to be, the memories that I have of her, and the woman that I hope and pray she will eventually be one day when she finds recovery. I haven't given up on her. She recently asked if she could come home for a few weeks and our answer had to be, "no." There were many reasons why we had to say no... trust me on this. However, it is still gut wrenching, heart rending to carry out....I cried and cried, because its so ugly and painful, but I have learned how to say no, in love, not anger. Its not a rejection of her....its just how it has to be for now. I can say no, but still be kind, still see her, still buy her lunch, still connect on whatever level is available to us on any given day.
Loving an addict reminds me of when Mother Teresa went into the leper colony and took care of the sick. Common sense was to run the other way, these sick and contagious were considered hopeless causes and not worthy of her efforts, but she had a higher calling. Do we, as mother's of addicts have a higher calling? A selfless love that we are called to carry out, even though its not comfortable or the way we wanted to love them? I think so.
I put each of our children into God's hands each day.
Let us all love one another.....