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 ….
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.