She was My Daughter Too
April 21, Women For One published a story bravely and beautifully written by Angela Penny about her relationship with her daughter and with herself through her daughter’s depression. Her story poignantly talked about her struggles attempting to blindly determine her own role down a path with no guides or no rulebooks. See her story here.
In response to Angela’s submission, another mother sent us her own story. Like Angela’s, her story is still unfolding. Neither of these mothers is alone, and there are many more mothers who are going through similar struggles. One of the wonderful things about the Women For One community is that we are all able to be Truthtellers and connect with each other, even when there is not yet a happy ending.
Here is her story.
I am that mother as well and my daughter and I were slower to pick up the pace and face the one reality we each had to face.Your story is ongoing as well is ours. My daughter is now in her 40s. You could have been writing about her and her childhood and her teenage years, but I did not know what to do except stand by her side and help her try to correct her course as best we could. But now my husband and I in our 60s, supporting and acting as guardians to our two grandchildren while my daughter works at being able to care for herself.
We finally had to let go of expecting normal. She is bipolar, recently diagnosed, and a self-medicator. In the last seven years, each time we brought her home to try to help her stand on her own, we had no idea how much help she needed. We had to choose whose lives were more important to protect, and how to let go and give space to some stranger who screams at you in the ER to leave, so she can weave her lies to the behavioral therapist who will be evaluating her, because of the slit wrist and the extremely dangerous levels of alcohol and maybe other substances.
I received a call from my 11- nearly 12-year-old granddaughter at 2 a.m. telling me clearly, “Mom cut herself and the ambulance is taking her to the hospital and she wants you there.” We tried to get her help, and all that did was embed her further into her manic phases. They spell danger and disaster for herself and her children, so when she got the chance to leave with some stranger while leaving her children with us, she took it.
She has to choose to have a life rather than continuing to try to destroy her life. But I am saying no more unless it impacts the safety of her children when she shows up reeking from the smell of alcohol and expecting to take the children for a visit. I am telling you, the nightmare only gets worse by expecting a happiness that is hers to define.
But you are so right. The story continues. What I have learned is that the only life we really have any right to is our own. Although we may love another equal to our own self and source, we can’t love with conditions placed on that love. Otherwise it is bondage we offer instead of freedom to be, freedom to be loved and love.
Life is a funny thing. I am now 3,000 miles away from my daughter. My husband is back home with help from a live-in sitter for the children, who see their mother with a sleepover usually each weekend unless something else takes precedence.
Still the space between my daughter and I is but a small crack in the mountain that became us.
Your story is a so much like our story a story about learning to recognize and give and be unconditional love. That is all we have power over, whether we offer conditions in the guise of love, or we accept no conditions and instead accept the powerful surrender. Allowing that brings us to our knees at the face of our mountain, and we learn to love without condition, and we learn to offer love without condition, and we learn to be love without condition. We take a small step up that mountain, and maybe one day we will experience the summit. But wherever we are on the mountain path is just exactly where we are to be, as we trust love that offers no condition for being loved or for loving.
Learn to name the conditions that insist they will allow you to be better at providing unconditional love. Learn that these are your deceivers or your tricksters. Name them and let them go. You no longer need to proceed further with their weight or confusion.
Clarity of emotions, clarity in body, mind, and spirit offers and affords the wisdom that comes from picking back up and taking the next step up the mountain with the assistance of no conditions to accept or offer love.
I feel as if I lost a daughter, but all I really lost was my expectation and definition of who my daughter was or should be: “healthy, happy, and free to choose for herself.”
Oops. Did I say free to choose? One giant condition I had to break down moment by moment.
I have no idea who my daughter is, but I do know she is now old enough to make her own decisions and that there is a social services safety net there for her. If she wants to have a relationship with me, my first question is, “Under what conditions?”
Love comes without conditions, but relationships come with one – and that is trust. Trust in the other and trust in yourself to allow love to be non-conditional, but don’t allow yourself to be deceived by the lure of love that is wrapped around dishonesty or another reason for offering love.
Best of luck to you and just know, most importantly, you have to love and discover yourself.