A Letter to my Daughter, Part IV

My dearest Zoe, today is a very happy day for me. I just talked to your therapist at the hospital, and found out that you are, for certain, being released tomorrow. This makes me overjoyed. I have missed you so badly and now, after almost two weeks, you will be coming home, if only for a little while. After that you will be flying to Oregon to spend the break with your mom, and I am sure she will be overjoyed to see you as well.

Your mom told me that you have really been questioning what it was that woke me up. Both you and I believe it was some spirit that roused me from sleep, something that was markedly larger than either of us. She says you are more open to Christianity even, which is a major shift. I have to admit, even I, someone who has been really uncomfortable with it, am willing to have a more open heart about it. But we will open that door later. For now, I just want to get you home and work on making life more beautiful for you.

I stated in my last letter that it was a mistake in moving here to Utah, but after talking to some friends on Facebook, I realize that I should clarify what I meant. It was not a mistake in the bigger picture. This is a better place for us in so many ways: Weather, schools, family-oriented lifestyle, financial opportunities, etc. What I meant is that it was a mistake to bring an already depressed child so far from what she knew. And even that, I realize today, was not necessarily a mistake. I should have just been more aware of the difficulties it would present.

I know how difficult this move has been. Moving to a state where you didn’t know anyone, where the people have much different values than we do, would be difficult for anyone, but for someone already struggling with the massive changes of a thirteen-year old girl, it made for a very troubling transition.

But we have to be patient. Already so many good things have happened to us here. The friends we have made, the jobs we now have, and what the future holds are all very positive, and would not have happened back in Oregon. It takes time to transition, and we have only been here for a little over four months. More time is needed.

I believe we can really make it work here, and I think it can be a good place for you as well. We just have to be more proactive about what you are going through. We need to be more honest with each other about how we are feeling. No more being a people-pleaser for you! You have to tell us what you are feeling, no matter how dark or painful those feelings might be. That is the only way we can get through this.

(I wrote this at the end of December. I am going to leave it as it is and start a new, final letter to Zoe to transition to where we stand now.)


Swallowed by Darkness


I am not in a good place right now. I know that the main reason is because I am exhausted. Too much work, too many emotions, and not enough self-care have conspired to rob me of whatever shred of positivity I have left. I have nothing left.

I cannot get the images of my daughter hanging from the tree out of my head. It’s bad enough that I keep replaying that scene over and over again, but what I am truly plagued by right now is the what-ifs? What if I hadn’t woken up in time? What if she had succeeded in killing herself? I cannot seem to stop thinking about and imagining this worst-case scenario. I see here there, hanging, stiff and lifeless for us to discover in the morning. It is the worst thing I can imagine, and I can’t stop imagining it.

I need sleep. I need more than one day to take care of myself. I need an outlet. I need medication. I need to stop. I just want to stop. How can I make it stop?

I am such a shell right now. I feel incapable of smiling, or laughing, or seeing good in much of anything. I know I won’t stay this way, but right now, this is where I am. Surrounded by the dark, with a wounded heart and seemingly no light to guide me out of it.