In my world a near death experience is frightening. It provokes anxiety and fear and a whole host of other emotions that I can’t typically express at the moment it is happening. In my world a near death experience in one of my children is absolutely paralyzing. I have had that experience not once but twice since the 1st day of 2016. This is not exactly how I intended my year to be. Nor did I want it to be. Unfortunately I can’t control these things. They are in the hands of my daughter. The most recent event involved her calling me crying, asking me to pick her up, scared. But only kind of. On the ride home from the place I picked her up, she was nodding off in the front seat of my car. Seat belt strapped in was holding her up right. Her clothes were rumpled and wrinkled and she looked disheveled. Her hood was pulled up over head, hiding most of her face from me. I would steal glances at her every few minutes to make sure she was still alive. Without bending forward a little bit the only thing I could see was the tip of her nose, and her long tangled hair coming out of the opening at the end of her hood, by her chin. One arm laid limply in her lap, while the arm was on the door, laying palm down with her arm outstretched the length of the window. She was motionless save for two dirty fingers with chipped pink nail polish that whispered about a time when self-care and presentation mattered to her, tapped slightly to the beat of the music.
When we got home I helped her undress, wash up a little bit and put her in her bed. Several times during the night I got up to check on her. Around 3am she asked me to stop waking her up, to go get some sleep. Sleep? What? Who sleeps when their child only hours before was found unresponsive on a floor, high on heroin? I said as much to her and her reply was tantamount to our stations in life. She told me in her world it was no big deal, happens all the time. We are on such different playing fields. We are in such completely opposite ends of the world, fighting the same demon. How can that be? I still can’t believe I live a life where my child tells me nearly dying is no biggie. It seems so surreal, even now, all this time later.
So this was over a week ago at this point. Since then she has stayed home, detoxed, vomited all over her room and is starting to feel better. I think. Or maybe not. Maybe she is out using right this very minute. I have no idea but what I do know is that I have nothing left to lose. Except her life. But in a very strange, un-parental-feeling-way, I have come to terms with that. Not that I want her to die, because I absolutely do not, but if she does die, I won’t say what if. I can’t. There is no what if. The only what if is what if she never used drugs to begin with but I have stopped asking that because it’s not our reality. Asking myself questions that have no logical answer does me no good. Recently at a parent meeting AC and I were talking about our struggles with JoDee and that we weren’t throwing her out anymore unless we absolutely had too. I.e., if she stole from someone, if she was destructive or bringing dealers in our house. Something pretty significant. I am not making it easy for her to use but I am making it easier for me to sleep at night. I can’t do what is best for JoDee anymore. I have to do what is best for me and the rest of the family. Sending her out to the streets doesn’t make me feel better. It doesn’t feel right and it certainly didn’t stop her from using. I’m not sure what the right answer is but I don’t really give a flying shit what the right answer is. I want a break. There is no vacation button, or holiday break or place we get reprieve so I am giving myself a reprieve. And before anyone voices their opinion about it, save it because opinions are like asshole: everyone has one and they all stink.
Only a parent of an addict will know what I say when I say she isn’t neck deep at this point. If she is using she is going a good job of hiding it or Denial is doing a job of blinding me to it so I don’t have to see. In the last week she has done laundry, cleaned the kitchen, participated with the family more than she has in a very long time. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Tonight she was clear and present and looked the like the girl I knew a long time ago. I don’t know how long it will last but I will enjoy it now, because I’m prepared either way. I’m surrendering to the fact that I have no control over our destiny. I’m hoisting the white flag up our flag pole and waving it for mercy.