I should have known something was wrong right away. The light glowing behind her illuminating her shadow on the tile floor was too bright for our kitchen. She was holding a mesh bag filled with clothes, sneakers, and miscellany that she has been totting from place to place for a long time. She smelled. Her face was taut and withdrawn, confirming my belief that she was crawling out from under a rock. I knew by looking at her she wanted a place to crash, shower, eat and rejuvenate before she was leaving again. She wasn’t going to stay.
Jay J, Jared, and AC were standing behind me. Everyone was shouting. Jay J kept yelling that she takes me down. I know I should yell at him, tell him to stop or shut up but I can’t take my eyes off of her. I swear she is getting dirtier and skinnier and sicker the long I look but I can’t look away. I can only hear AC telling me to remember what I always told him and she is looking at me with disdain and contempt, daring me to do it. He just kept saying it over and over and over. Finally I say to him severe the hand to save the arm. I am shaking, violently. I think I’m having a seizure. No, just AC waking me up from another bad dream.
In the morning over coffee I tell him what I was dreaming about. He reminds me that he would never tell me to cut her off from us. I remind him that I don’t need him to tell me that to know it might be necessary. We sit quietly absorbing it. The dream in of itself is not the issue. I have weirdo dreams about all kinds of things. Once I had a nightmare that someone killed all the kids and was trying to kill me by beating me to death with my own severed arm. And this was like 13 years ago before zombie shows were popular. But this particular nightmare stuck with me because I feel like it does symbolize our life at the moment. I have come to fully understand that I have no control over her drug addiction, her actions, or anything she wants to do but I have full control over my actions. She may not do anything differently this time, but I will. I have too.
I remember when she was about 5 or 6 years old I had a dream that she was missing. Everyone was out looking for her. For some reason we were near a pond. She has always been a strong swimmer so that alone was not weird. It was cold out. Fall like, in this dream, so we shouldn’t have been swimming yet we were all searching around the pond. Someone finally said she is in the pond under the water. I turned in the direction the shout came from and the pond turned into a giant bowl of murky water. I could only see her jacket floating several feet from the top of the water. She was no wear to be found. That nightmare has reoccurred so many times I couldn’t even tell you how many. And I always wake up with a terrible feeling that I’m missing something. Someone or something is trying to tell me something but I can’t figure out what it is. That’s how the most recent nightmare made me feel.
She is out now. Not at home, and not a place I approve but the only place I would approve would be further treatment. The big question is what now? Keep chasing her around and jumping when she calls, or finally putting my foot down. Both options suck. I can’t keep sitting in wait for her to have an epiphany about loving life and being a responsible member of society because that ship has sailed. But cutting her off….well, amputating a rotting or diseased limb often will save the person from death. Or further sickness anyway. But something I know from being in the medical field since Jesus was a little boy is that severing the limb does not stop the pain, sensation, and feeling. Often the brain still believes that limb is attached. And it still feels the pain and disease. So, severing the hand to save the arm might stop the spread of the illness, but it won’t heal the person in this case.