I couldn’t sleep. I had tried. Laying down time and again only for my mind to more increasingly torture me through each attempt.
I stood there often that night. My hand pressed firmly against the cold window of the children’s hospital as I stared out at the world stretching so far beyond the walls of that seventh floor.
I would stare at the cold, hard ground so far below. I thought about the pain it would take to make someone let themselves fall to the ground below. Smashing in a bloody puddle of death.
Though I had no true interest in the idea of dying or intent of committing the act myself, I finally understood the depth of pain one felt before their foot left that window ledge. I finally understood how easy it truly was to reach the end of ones rope and no longer having the strength to hold on.
I walked the halls of that hospital often those few days we were there. I saw the dark circles under others eyes that were so similar to my own. We were all surrounded by so many other people, yet so alone in each of our own tragedies. It was sad and humbling, yet it brought an inspiring awe that even I struggle to find the words to express.
The turmoil I suffered through those few days being in that children’s hospital with my three year old grandson had nothing to do with him though. I knew that he was sick. I cried inside every time he laid on the ground in tears begging to just go home. I ached for him each time he curled in a ball when his stomach pains became more than he could handle. I knew though that we were in the best place possible to take care of him. I knew that he would be okay.
What kept me awake wasn’t the situation with my grandson, but the turmoil brought on by my mother.
I have often spoke of my mother on here in the past. Sometimes I speak of the wonderful strong woman that she is. Sometimes I talk of the pain that she has caused. It is the truest of love/hate relationships. I love her because I know the beautiful lady that is buried so deep inside, but I hate what she has allowed herself to become. The person that I blame alcohol for turning her into.
This situation feels like the worse. It likely isn’t though, simply another crack in my already broken heart. Though it is the crack that finally allowed my heart to shatter to pieces.
I imagine that we both feel we were right. We were justified in our actions. Our words. I imagine that somehow she believes the things she did and said to me were okay. I, of course, feel I am right in the words and actions she provoked within me. Just like the people in the hospital, my mother and I passed each other in the hallway, dark circles under our eyes, struggling through our own tragedies. Both so close, yet so far from the other.
It would be typical here to speak of the situation. To share the ugly words spoken, the unrighteous actions taken. This time though, none of that really matters any more.
What truly matters is that I finally reached my breaking point. I finally reached the point that I can no longer go on as I have always done. I have reached the point where I finally had to distance myself from my own mother… because she refuses to distance herself from the alcohol that I blame for making her the way she’s been for so long. She refuses to be the mother that I need.
As I stood there that night. My hand upon that cold glass window. Staring at the ground so far below. Truly understanding the depth of pain that someone felt moments before taking that final plunge to their death. In that moment, I realized that I was so dangerously close to the edge.
To save myself I needed to take a step back. A step back away from that window. A step back away from my mother. A step back, away from the pain, the stress, the anguish that she causes me.
In one hand I clung tightly to my rope. In the other I clenched on desperately to my mothers hand. As her added weight increasingly drug me further down the rope, I still held tightly to my mothers hand. I was desperate to save her, despite the severe rope burn I was suffering in trying to do so.
Ultimately, I had reached the end of my rope. I was struggling to hold on. My grip was slipping. I needed both hands to hold on as tightly as I could to my rope. I needed my other hand. The hand that held so tightly onto my mothers.
To save myself, I had to risk losing her.
The rope burn still stings, but the dropped weight allows me the small amount of strength I have left to continue holding on. To know that I will be able to climb that rope again.
I only pray that as I let her hands go that she was smart enough to grab hold of her own rope. I pray, that she finds the strength that I know is there, to climb her own rope.
I look forward to the day that I’ve climbed back to the top of my own rope. I can only hope that when I get there I find my mother at the top of her rope as well.
When are no longer dangling from our respective ropes, when we finally reach that platform at the top. Only then will we once again be able to hold hands without dragging the other down.