We didn’t notice the fog circling around our daughter’s
ankles when she was a very small child. Its fingers would curl lightly,
caressing, ebbing and flowing. We mistakenly believed these tendrils originated
from elsewhere – the dark influence of another child. An unloved,
uncontrollable, insecure child. When the haziness came too close it was easily
blown away with excuses about her quirkiness, tiredness, intensity.
If we had been more observant we would have known this was
her fog. We would have noticed its plumes grow bigger and stronger – always circling
– always looking for a way in.
When she was 15 she experienced the emotional upheaval of a best
friend turned mean girl. Her friend avoided her to spend time with lighter,
happier, frothier girls. It was a blow
that left a gaping hole in her sense of self, and the thick clouds rushed in. Most
teenage girls must navigate the brutality of their own kind. Most find enough
joy in the world to blow the heaviness away and move on. Our daughter could
not. Once it began to seep in, it became sticky, heavy and foul, attaching itself
to every part of being.
She was unable to repair the hole or blow the heaviness
away. It continued to build in her, dense and immovable. It trailed her
everywhere she went, now clearly visible. She became fearful of everything. For most around her, it was repellent and more
and more they avoided her. Our tight embraces did little to help and with each
touch the darkness seeped into our being.
I am so afraid she will never experience lightness again –
that she will forever find her life heavy and difficult. My terror is that it
becomes too heavy. I am used to being able to fix things with a wise word,
strong embrace or setting parental boundaries. None of these work. Each solution
I frantically put in place seems to open up a hole elsewhere, allowing more fog
to permeate through her being. I don’t know how to help. Please, please please –
how can I help.