Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Urgent attention

Every time I log into my computer, my security software displays a red screen marked “Urgent Attention” with a “Fix Now” box that I click on. I wait a minute or so for the internal homeostasis to occur and then a green screen appears telling me all is okay and I can proceed. This is virtual reality. If real life were only that simple ….

My daughter is hurting.

There is no quick fix, no easy solution. She is in a lot of pain and I am helpless to make it better. I want to take her in my arms and slap a band aid on an open wound and kiss it all away. “Open wounds bleed profusely.” She read this once to me when she was only four or five years old. Even at that young age, words were important to her. She would find books and attempt to read whatever presented itself. The “open wounds” came straight from a Red Cross training manual lying on the coffee table. She looked so stricken as I tried to explain to her that, if she ever cut her scalp she shouldn’t be frightened, the bleeding would stop and she would survive. That I could do – explain and reassure. She believed and trusted in me.

She is no longer a little girl; she is an adult woman with little girls of her own. She is feeling sad and vulnerable and shaky. I am thankful that I decided to move nearby. In the grand scheme of things, I am just where I need to be these days. I can let the dogs out, feed the girls, tell bedtime stories and pick up the slack for both daughter and son-in-law. I can provide a buffer but I can’t resolve the pain. I can’t make it better. This is a midlife, closed wound kind of thing. It requires patience and rest and understanding. And great courage. I see a lot of that in her right now.

Through these difficult days, I watch and listen and learn more about who my daughter really is. The person I see is struggling with her demons but finding ways to do with her little girls what I did for her so many years ago – explain and reassure. The context is different. There are no open wounds to discuss. She is not bleeding profusely, not literally, but tears can be as copious as blood. She takes them in her arms and gently tells them that they are not the reason that mommy is sad. They are so loved.

As is she.

I remember the Red Cross instructions. Do not panic. Apply steady pressure. The bleeding will stop. Survival.

8 comments:

slouching mom said...

Oh, Mater, it must be hard for you to read Jenn's (beautiful) words on this subject. My five-year-old is hurting right now, because he is terribly frightened by the concept of death. And I feel powerless to help him, because he knows and I know that one day he will die. It is so frustrating, and even more depressing, not to be able to fix your kids' pain. I am sorry for your sadness, as well as for Jenn's.

Deb said...

My mom has always warned me that as the Mother we hurt twice, for the child and for ourselves......

Hugs love and light to you both.

anna said...

Your daughter and granddaughters are lucky indeed that you decided to move nearby.

katie said...

I am so touched by your and your daughter's writing. Love and good thoughts to both of you.

My MoMtra said...

Mater, you are as my Mom is...true and pure love. I understand Jenn's pain. I too have dealt with the inner demons of sadness. You moving nearby HAS to be helpful. I too live near my mom and she has helped, comforted, listened and hugged like only a mom. I can only tell you that I am now coming out of my "funk" and it is so nice to be able to breathe again. I don't know the roots of jenn's pain. For me, I'm so confused by the actual depth of sadness. I never thought it could be so deep to my core. I think there is something about adding the title and responsibilities of all that goes into being a mother. I wish I had concrete answers for Jenn, for me, for others. I hope she finds her smile again soon.

pnuts mama said...

just wanted to let you know that sometimes being a buffer is what we need- i miss my buffer so very much now, all over again now that i am a mom. i read what you write to your daughter in her comments and am so genuinely happy that she has you and you have her. i think those two little ones are going to marinate in your love and support for each other. keep buffering.

Kelly said...

what a gift for you all that you moved close. I miss my family so much and hope that some day in my future I will be with them again. I love from afar and do a little vicarious living through your two blogs...

huge hugs to you all.

slouching mom said...

Mater, I've written a poem over at my site about your lovely Jenn, and about me, too, because sometimes it takes my breath away how much like me she seems (and I've never even met her!). If you're so inclined, stop by for a visit.