Autumn is lasting longer than it usually does in these parts. The blindingly yellow trees on the boulevard keep waking me from my trance and that is a good thing. While taking a walk, I picked up an overturned leaf then gasped when I saw its brilliant orange hue against its dark red veins. I laughed at myself for gasping, and there it was: awe, joy and silliness all displayed on a crunchy leaf.
Last year at this time, there was a snow storm outside and a child's funeral to get to. There was a deep dive into chaos as anguish filled my home. The last crumbly bits of my daughter's emotional foundation fell away and I was left to embrace the tiny monster that lived in my home.
Back then, my limbs shook. I ran out of the house many nights and cried at my own weaknesses, my inability to face my kid, let alone fix her. I fantasized about patching her up and delivering her into a healthy adulthood. The tiny glimpses of her sensitive, loving soul made visions of future mental hospitals and crack houses all the more gut-wrenching. I worked hard to stay in the present, but it was also a terrible place to be.
I had to put away my writing project. Shrieking, hysterical tantrums prevented my concentration. I printed up the pages, placed them in a box and hid them in the closet. I found them yesterday and nearly cried over the time and momentum that was lost, the story threads that are now forgotten. I can pick up the project again, but what if her shrieking fits resume?
Today my project is appreciating the momentary calm, the beautiful fall, and other simple pleasures. I am working towards finding the tiny part of God or Source or Love that is inside me, and nurturing it into full bloom. I am trying to detach myself from the future and all that I cannot control.
Why did I adopt a traumatized child? Knowing what I know now, would I still have done it?
The real question is: what would my life be like now if I had not?
I would not gasp at an orange leaf with red veins. I would not have someone else to blame for unfinished projects. There would not be a precious little spirit sitting on the couch with me, drinking cocoa and watching Little Women.
Instead, she would be out in the world, searching for someone who could see her soul through all the madness, even if for just fleeting moments. And I would be searching for ways to challenge my soul. It's true. I know it's true.