THE MISSING - personal journal entry
The Missing. Heavy sandbags weighing down on you. No choice but to fold in half, shoulder to shoulder. Crumbling ribcage. Those bones don’t stand a chance against that aching heart. Pulling your sternum, caving you in. Black hole strong.
I read a lot about “missing.” All the articles talk about missing boyfriends, exes. Nothing about your child.
It is hard to describe how tethered I feel to my kids. I remember after Vi was born, it was as if a whole piece of my being was opened. I didn’t even KNOW I had love like that in there. And, as much as I feel the love, I also feel the heartache. Their joys = my elation; their sadness = my worry. It isn’t weird, oh no, it’s primal. The connection is so deep you can’t just walk away from the feelings.
Now I am talking about MISSING, not loss. I would never want to equate the emotions of missing to the grief of familial loss. Yet I would think the deep pull, the weight, has to be the same. Inescapable. Reminders everywhere. Smells, tastes, shapes. Scenes playing in a loop on a private screen you can’t turn off.
Enduring these feelings is a tough one for me. AS IS leaving Violet every single time I have to, saying goodbye. It doesn’t feel natural to be separated from an 11 year old. When my time with her is grand it’s even worse. It erases all the bad things and I don’t want to let her go. It is a physical ache.
Violet struggled on her first visit home, at the tail end. The consequent prescription was local visits only (near school) until she could be successful. I went alone to see her for another parent workshop.
Wow. I am struggling today.
I had been worried about you all this past week. School has been weaning you off the Abilify, and you were having a really hard time. I could feel how confusing the pain was, just through the tone of your voice on the phone. How could I explain the withdrawal of an antipsychotic to an 11 yr old? I can’t even imagine what it would be like myself. Inconsistent feelings, unexplainable highs and lows, spikes in hormones. My girl. I wished I could hug you and make everything better.
I went to you alone this time. You have always been great one-on-one. Our visit was short, but so sweet. I went to your school for a workshop. Got to take you for the afternoon and an overnight.
We went to an empty college parking lot and I taught you to drive. You looked 25, making jokes while steering with one hand. Your caution cracked me up – you stopped 45 feet before a stop sign. You were ballsy in the empty lot, but then took about 25 minutes to get from your premature stop to the actual sign, doing a full curb-ride in your panic. I made a video. We were hysterical laughing. It was the best.
We went to a totally disgusting food place. Ate ice cream at a dreamy 50s soda shop. Fell asleep together at like 8:45pm. Had breakfast. There were kids from school at the breakfast place who were having longer visits, planning their weekends with their parents. We could hear them and I got nervous, like it was a potential land mine. You just ignored it and went back to school with zero issue. That’s progress right? Being able to tolerate disappointment with ease? I wish you could teach me.
The older you get, the better it gets. Now I have the classic Mom footage of the first driving lesson. I have probably watched it 143 times since I left you. Every time I laugh…and then I cry. I miss you.
The day after leaving you is easier to deal with when we have a hard time, as backwards as that sounds. When we struggle, it’s easier for me to go home and enjoy the other kids with less guilt. I know everything IS as it should be - you need to be there to keep progressing and I need to be home to keep the family afloat. But when I have a weekend like this with you? I just can’t get over THE MISSING.
It has been nearly 8 months since you left our home. I never would have believed anyone who would have told me that before. My baby girl, my daughter, my first child, I miss you.
I can’t stop the tears. I am not good at this, this sadness. I am good at laughing and smiling. This is not for me. I know this is life and it will be OK. However, my rationale can’t talk my heart out of it today. Heavy, overwhelming, nonstop. Aching guts. Tears are just too ready – go back IN! Even as I let this sentence go through my mind, they flood. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.
I acted like a big baby yesterday. Everyone and everything has been frustrating me. I have zero patience, picked a fight with daddy. I wish someone would just understand what this is like. I have a hole of sadness in my heart I cannot get rid of. It sucks.
I have to remind myself that this too will pass. IT WILL PASS. I had better be growing, out of my own hardship too. Learning how to deal with sad feelings for the long term goal? We all know I need it.
Violet I love you. I miss you. I am proud of you and what you have done. You are so brave to face yourself. You’re a big, strong, giant of a person. You can do this. And if you can, I can too.
LIFE. So many ups and downs, struggles and triumphs. The ‘goods’ would never be SO good with out the ‘hards,’ but this is REALLY hard.
Violet’s toolbox for emotional issues - journaling, breathing, music, exercise, reading, focusing on positives and gratitude.
I am grateful for how this experience will change us. I am grateful for choices. It is positive that I made these memories with my daughter.
She isn’t gone, she is just gone for now. Come on Amie, you can do it. Take a deep breath, meditate, distract yourself, get through it. Get through The Missing.