It is so incredibly difficult to carry grief, guilt, and fear, yet still allow myself to sit in love, happiness, and gratitude. On the days that Lu is not here, I often allow myself to dive deep into the grief and sadness I feel over the decline of Kaia.*
When your child is mentally ill, sometimes you just go about your daily activities, except crying the whole time. Crying while drinking coffee. Crying while going for a walk. Crying while driving. Crying while walking through the mall. Crying at the Apple store getting her phone fixed. Crying while making dinner. Crying while eating dinner. Crying in bed. It’s just like regular life, except crying the whole time. And you cry because there’s no help available. No one specializes in schizophrenia. No one takes OHP. No appointments with a therapist are available until three months out. And who the hell knows what she’ll be doing in three months. And no one knows what to do, no one is there to help you, no one answers the phone. And you cry because you think about how annoying it is to spend your whole day getting her phone fixed, and how there is no way she would have been able to do this herself, and how you need her to have a phone so that you can know that she is alive.
And then Lu comes home from her dad’s house and we have a great time together, just hanging out and talking, and she tells me that she loves me and loves hanging out with me and talking with me, and the love and gratitude wash over me as quickly as they are ripped away. I feel a pang in my heart—sadness, guilt, unworthiness—I can’t let myself go there when my other child is lost. It makes me feel incredibly guilty to not be able to be fully in the moment with Lu like she deserves. I try to be the person she deserves for me to be on the outside, but on the inside, I am the parent of the prodigal daughter, waiting for her to come home so I can finally celebrate with my whole heart. I have one foot in, one foot out. I’m halfway here and halfway there. And the fact that Kaia might never come back again means that I might never be able to be the parent that Lu deserves.
*name has been changed