Something broke in me that night. A full day of listening to my son spew the conflicts that have separated us from our daughter, watching in horror as it all began again. As I measured every word, tried desperately to explain, sought peace, I came to realize this is an evil I cannot defeat.
I rose the next morning, a sleepless night allowing thoughts to settle and shift, pieces to fit, I discovered I was done. I was broken. My desire to save my relationships with my children had cost me twenty years of hard time, paying repeatedly a debt that new collectors came for. With the brokenness came the realization that I can never satisfy the ones who have to have more of me, never give them the answer they want. They insist I agree that I am a monster, I must accept and proclaim their truth.
I broke that night and what left was hope. While it should have left me more depressed, the weight of it had held me down for a year. My sanity, health and relationship with my husband all threatened, hopelessness ruled for a year. Every conversation started with pain and plans to fix the estrangement. Lost in thoughts and memories, I missed the moments in front of me. Without hope, I found I was not hopeless. I was free.
The demons exorcised, I began in earnest. I drove out of town, I stopped giving extra to my son, I looked around my home and saw the neglect. Closets emptied, bathrooms cleaned, sheets changed. Totes full of my daughter’s memories moved recklessly into trash bags and sent to her father’s home. Pictures taken down from the walls, the demons not just leaving me but my home.
It has been almost a week, each day I wake and wonder if the energy that spurred this activity was a manic rush that has worn itself out, only to find I am truly revived. Until that day and long evening, I would have welcomed her back with arms full of grace, not expecting an apology, ready to begin again. With hope went all that grace, replaced by accountability to those who seek it from me for wrongs that have nothing to do with them, wrongs I have paid in measures they will never accept or understand with hard hearts. Now should she ever return, she will need to build her section of the bridge as well. Mine burnt in the exorcism. And it feels freeing.