Alcoholism and bulimia pack enough pain to bring anyone to their knees with the daily struggles they bring. And I am powerless to help. I, as her mother, should have been able to protect my child from the most colossal heartaches this life holds, but I've failed miserably. When it was most important; when it came to the person I love more than life itself, I failed.
So there's that swirling around in my head, but really, this isn't about me. My daughter is out there somewhere, missing.
When she was about 12, we went hiking on a beautiful fall day in the mountains. We tried to get out often & we'd been hiking together since she was old enough to walk. This particular day we decided to play a game: one of us would run up ahead & hide behind a tree at the side of the trail, and the other person would have to search for them as they walked. It had us laughing and joking and teasing until I came to a fork in the trail. I didn't know which way my daughter chose to hide. I went up one trail for a little way & didn't see her, so I went back & tried the other direction. I yelled her name with increasing panic. I sat at the fork for an hour, thinking she would retrace her steps to find me. I asked everyone that came down both trails if they had seen her. They hadn't. For the first time, I gazed out at the endless acres of pine trees and felt horror. How would you find anyone in that vast wilderness? A place that had always made me feel comforted and peaceful was suddenly a dangerous trap that had swallowed my only child whole.
Those feelings have returned to me many times over the years...as they have tonight. Although my daughter is no longer a child, her disability renders her so vulnerable and in the wee hours of the morning, I gaze out my window & wonder how I could possibly find anyone in this place full of closed doors; full of horrible darkness as well as kind, caring angels.
If I had known that experience in the mountains had been a metaphor for much of her life...I would've ...I don't know what I would've done, to be honest. I don't know. All I know is that right now, I'm scared.