Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Scintilla Project - Day 5

Ooo. Now if I wrote about #1, I wouldn't have actually gotten away with it, would I? (And I'd have to kill you.) So I guess we're on to #2.

1. Talk about a time when you got away with it.

2. Show a part of your nature that you feel you've lost. Can you get it back? Would it be worth it?


I used to have a lot of energy: as a younger woman I had a job, a house to take care of, a child in school and assorted activities (and I attended all of them) and a husband who worked a lot, a member of two choirs and active volunteer. Later I was involved in community activities, creating things, working, writing stories, attending events. I used to have a passion for getting involved in causes or organizations, from marching in picket lines to taking charge of the whole enchilada.

I'm not exactly sure when I lost that passion, that energy.

But I think it coincides pretty much with when we rescued Princess #1 from a very bad situation that I don't think she would have survived. Like the proverbial onion, her story had layers upon layers, and a lot of them were rotten -- and I didn't discover most of it until our five-day road trip on our way west. Once she was here, more details came out, and over the following six months,  a truly sad and frightening scenario emerged from the wreckage that has continued to impact her life.

And mine.

You don't need to know details. Trust me on this.

Guiding her through the county health system and its programs has been an enormous, eye-opening education for me and for her. Healthcare advocacy is not for the faint of heart in any economic status, but when there is no money, no insurance, and the individual is not able to meet her own needs, it is a quest paved with much patience, repetition, frustration, and emotional pain. (Despite deep budget cuts, staff cuts and reorganizations, I have great respect for so many dedicated public health professionals who try so hard to make a difference in the lives of So. Many. People. They do what they can with what they've got.)

Watching the child you loved and raised from an infant sob out stories that would make the tabloids look like bedtime reading does a number on your heart, your soul, and your mind. Realizing that she is an adult who is responsible for her decisions and that you no longer can ground her as a temporary solution takes an emotional (and physical) toll, and changes nearly everything in your relationship.

And that's where I think I lost the part of me that led groups and marches and got involved in activities and sang and acted and sewed and cared so passionately. .

I WAS involved and I DID care passionately: up to my eyeballs, with my whole being.. But it was all directed at doing the best I could for my daughter, and in the beginning, at 'fixing' her. Which any reasonable person is going to tell you can't be done, because we cannot 'fix' anyone but ourselves. I finally got that this last year, after three years.

She is doing better, I'm happy to report. She is responsible for her destiny, not me.

And I am responsible for mine. I can't change anything except my own mind, my own activities, my own life. And that's keeping me plenty busy, and a lot happier, these days. Eventually I think some cause, program, performance, or organization will again spark the enthusiasm and passion I once had in abundance, and I try to keep my eyes and my mind open to possibilities. But not just yet.

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