“What the hell does that even mean?” Cynthia glares at me with raccoon eyes and wails. “What do you know of my pain? My suffering? You who have everything. You think my life can be fixed with empty platitudes? Go away!”
She slumps her fashionable thirty-something frame into the sofa and sobs like thunder.
Sobs I remember.
I know her pain. She only assumes that because I am older and seem to have my life together that I have never walked through the valley of shadows. But, she doesn’t know me. She only sees the illusion of me.
I recognize Cynthia as the woman I was 20 years ago ~ broken, confused, stuck, desperate, angry, frustrated, bitter ~ all hidden behind a finely applied mask of pretty lies that fit so tightly it almost suffocated the life right out of me.
With the ignorance of those who know only their own pain she doesn’t realize that the rutted and pot holed path I’ve walked is not so far from her own. A path bordered with noxious weeds and pretty plants that poison, overshadowing the cheerful flowers clinging to the healing rays of the sun.
She doesn’t realize that I know what it’s like to be in the choking embrace of another’s misery; to watch the petals fall from a once blossoming life; to have my fondest dreams lopped at the first branch or, most often, not even have a chance to take root.
She doesn’t know because she never looks beyond her own suffering.
Yes, I know her pain, and as I watch her sobbing there I feel it all over again ~ the heart-burning, gut-wrenching, headache-inducing dismay of disappointment and sadness rolled into one ugly ball of torpid feeling. A numbness that acts out like this. Cold. Hard. Stinging. Selfish.
As I witness her anguish, however, my awareness reminds me of triumph over adversity. It reminds me of how I am able, now, to look life in the eye and tell it “I love you” just because it is … and just because I am.
Cynthia cannot see this yet, and perhaps she never will. Perhaps she will wallow in her divorce, or lament her poor choices or berate her appearance and spout profanities to her dimming light until the end of her days. I cannot know for sure.
Still, what I do know is this ~ not I or anyone else can hold her hand and lead her down a path to healing until she is ready; until she opens her eyes and chooses to move beyond her pain.
I don’t know what that will take for her. Everyone’s wake-up call is different.
In the meantime, all I can do is listen and love her, my daughter, and pray she will be alright. That one day she will learn to love her life for the precious gift it is.
And that is all.
And as she bids, I go away.
My response to the Free Write Friday challenge from Kellie Elmore.
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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014