Janet Taylor
September 3, 2017

Image Credit: ©Photocreo - Deposit Photos

STRENGTH IN ME

The hardest thing about not seeing my daughter for weeks or months at a time, is that I fool myself. I fool myself into thinking I don't care; its her choice; its easier for me when I don't see her and a bunch of other self talking excuses. Then I think I do see her in a crowd or at a local coffee shop...and I break down.

So much for tough love right. So much for you made your bed now lie in it. So much for I can live without knowing what she's up to.

The hard truth is, when you don't get to see your child for those periods of time, you never know if they are still even alive. I did say hard truth. It is a truth I live with and I do my best on those day. I try and keep it together. I try not to wonder if she is safe, if she has enough to eat, if she is even still alive....

It's almost as bad as the phone ringing at home before 630am or after 10pm at night. Those are never good phone calls. So many times it was the police or the hospital. So many times I would have to get up, emotions running full pin, getting someone to watch the other two kids so they would not worry when they got up, even though they likely would, and get in my car and drive to the hospital.

I clearly remember the last time I got one of those phone calls.... I went through all the motions for one reason. I honestly didn't think I would see her alive again so I got up at 1am, got dressed and drove to the hospital 35 minutes away. I got there, paid for parking, walked into emerg and found her in one of the waiting rooms. She was laughing with a "friend". High as a kite. She didn't see me at first...I almost wanted to walk away I was so ashamed of thinking that she was so sick she needed me there. I could not believe that she was laughing over this...

As I stood in the hall and looked around, you could see that all the waiting rooms were full. I could see some parents looking lost. I could see some just staring straight ahead. What struck me then is how "shocked" we all looked. We were like zombies or ghosts of ourselves. What ever you believe in, what ever religion you follow, at that moment, I could not grasp onto anything that could explain to me how any parent could be ok with their child being in this situation and for themselves to be so lost.

Safe to say that the majority of us would have given our lives for any of our children in any situation. But at that moment, I realized that were I to give my life for hers, I would be making the wrong decision. That moment, that small peek into some faith inside me, told me that from this moment forward, I would no longer be able to put her first. That all I could really do was tell her I loved her and that I would support her getting the help she needed to become the woman she was capable of becoming. If the drugs were going to remain her priority, then she would have to walk that path and face what she would face. I would always love her. I would always be cheerleading for her from the sidelines. I went into the room where she was and told her so.

The look on her face as I entered spoke volumes. She hadn't thought I'd come. She actually asked why I was there.....so I told her. Told her it was becasue the drug use had become so extreme that I thought I would never see her alive again. She was so high, she actually laughed. I walked out defeated as she continued to laugh with her "friend". I paid my parking, drove home and eventually fell back to sleep. Nothing settled. Nothing changed. Nothing solved.

I didn't realize it then. I didn't realize it for sometime after. When I did realize it, this amounted to the moment when I realized that it was more important that I survive this. So crazy as it sounds, I am grateful for this moment. This sad, tragic moment was not sad nor tragic. It was the first step in me finding out the strength a mother will need in order for her family to survive. In order for myself and my other two children to make the most out of our lives that were to follow, I needed to find strength within me....I did. I found lots!