Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a difference a year makes...(PKW)

...and I tell you this tale to...

... Oh, what is the PKW you ask? It is a "possible kleenex warning". I've had some e-mails and comment requests asking for a kleenex warning when I switch from wearing my normal smart-alec hat to my more somber serious hat...I'm not saying it will make you cry but it might...OK, resuming serious now)

OK, hmmm.... yea. Oh yea.

I'm not telling this tale to you for any pity but to let you know that the impossible can happen. And I'm not telling you this story for you to judge me. Judge me you may...and I cannot stop that but unless or until you have a child in this situation the way you imagine you will handle it never seems to be the way you do. Or maybe it is. But this is what happened for me.

Last Christmas found me sitting outside in the shivery star-filled night playing my guitar and singing "Silent Night" trying to regain my sanity and to subdue the pain that was ripping my heart apart.

My sweet husband found me there and wrapped a blanket around me and led me to bed where I cried until I literally thought I might die.

Oh, I wanted to. I really did.

There is nothing that can cause pain like one of your children suffering. And suffering by perceived choice and not by unlucky chance.

Our youngest daughter is a heroin addict.

The whole full-on hoodie wearing junkie with track marks you see living on the streets.

To say this has been a horror is beyond an understatement. I have probably written 500,000 words trying to rid my soul of this pain. To no avail.

Our last attempt at "saving" this beloved girl resulted in me being away from my home and family staying in shivery-cold Minneapolis for six weeks while she went to a naturopathic rehab. An experience that could result in a thousand or more blog posts if I ever choose to share it.

I saw a miracle in Minneapolis. A true, honest to God, miracle. I saw my daughter return to to me...laugh with me...have honest light and life in her dimmed and delusioned hazel eyes.

It was a revelation.

And a heartbreak.

Because when we returned to "real life" she fell back into her old habits. Immediately.

And with great sorrow in my heart I let my soul die and began letting her go. A process that might seem easy. A process that is anything but easy.

But I decided that I had to do this to save myself. And that there were others in the family that I loved and that loved me. And that putting myself into the grave trying to save someone who did not want to be saved served no purpose. No matter how much I loved them.

It broke my heart. Almost literally.

So I did not see her or talk to her. I left food and blankets outside for her to pick up on our cold winter nights. The thought of my child living on the street was beyond anything I could even wrap my mind around.

I went to all the NA support meetings, I did all the "stuff" you are supposed to do but nothing helped.

And there was no light and music in my soul.

And right before Christmas she called and said she was clean and sober and asked to come to Christmas Eve. And against all the discordant clamor of my inner warning bells I said yes.

Last Christmas was brutal. Beyond brutal. It was like what I imagine hell to be. Because she wasn't clean or sober. And I tried to pretend for my Granddaughters sake that it was all OK. But it wasn't. Not by a mile. Not by a million miles. And when that night ended and I watched my big, tough son and my husband who can control emotions like nobodies business reduced to sobbing tears I thought my heart had broken even more. Something that seemed impossible.

So I sat under the stars in the backyard playing my old 12-string guitar until I actually felt my finger-tips bleeding. But still I couldn't stop. I could not release that horror and all the previous horrors from my mind.

In January when I encountered one of my long last cousins through her blog. And somehow just meeting her let the music come alive in my heart again

Just a tiny bit.

And as months passed I learned to laugh again. In spite of the fact that I felt I had lost my daughter. We had endured so much through this addiction and not being around it let me finally breathe.

And even though each breath was painful it was possible.

And through each breath the tiny kernel of hope inside of me sat untouched. Just waiting.

In April when she called me she sounded oddly quiet and composed. And she told me she was working on getting clean and staying sober.

I wished her luck but kept that kernel of hope locked up tight, tight, tight. Because it was really and truly all I had left.

But something happened because weeks began to pass and she stayed sober. She stayed off all the drugs.

But I still kept that hope locked up...because it had been beaten down and trampled so many, many times before that I was afraid to loose it entirely.

But I watched.

And I waited.

And the days clicked after they do whether we want them to or not.

And she found a place to live.

And she enrolled in college.

And she picked up the tiny fragments of her life little by little.

And she came back into our lives...little by little...and we let her...very, very carefully.

And now over eight months has passed and she is still finding her way back.

And she has become part of our family again.

And that tiny little kernel of hope has grown a tiny sprig of green and there is a leaf there that is about to bud.

Christmas morning she came with her boyfriend and they opened their stockings and laughed and kidded and joked and then went to my parents.

And the entire day I was on the verge of tears.

That we had, indeed, had a miracle in our lives.

And by prayers and perservance and by taking any and all help we could get to survive intact ... we actually had. Survived.

I know this is not a cure...but each and every day she stays on this path is one day farther away from the life she led.

And we are grateful and overwhelmed with the miracle of this.

I have seen the power of prayer.

I have witness to the amazement of miracles.

And now we are living one.

I listen to so many of your stories and they sadden me and I wonder how you manage to cope with the overflowing troubles you carry. And I admire your courage. I hope you can keep going and keep your head up and work on keeping the music and joy inside of you intact. No matter what.

One of my favorite quotes is "Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark." We have gone through the dark of night to find hope blooming again.

And I wish that for you, too.

No matter how dark it feels.

Keep your faith. There is always possibility. And always hope.

Happy New Year.


Jeanette said...

I am so happy for your strength and your miracle. Happy New Year.

All My Yesterdays said...

Oh Jenny, tissues for sure...I understand totally what you have felt..X3 My turn to share will be in a couple of weeks..there's a reason.
Hold tight to your family and to the one who finally sees the end of the madness. Here's to a better year for your daughter and those you love. Miracle indeed...
Thanks for opening your soul long enough to share.

Martha's Favorites said...

Hi Jenny: Thank you for your post. It did bring me to tears, however, it did give me hope as well. This year has been the worse of my life and to hear hope after such a long time, gives me hope. I will pray for your daughter. She is your treasures and God sees. If you think of me, please say a pray I am in great need of a mircle too. May God continue to richly bless you this coming year. Martha

Carol said...

Lady J, you are my hero! Many, many hugs to you and a wish for your new year to be spectacular!

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Jenny My sweet, sweet friend...
Happy New Year and Praise God from whom all blessings flow. FAITH...Pure FAITH.

I will continue to hold your family in prayer sweetie. You, the strength to keep praying and having faith, your daughter, the strength to keep pulling herself away from this horrible nightmare she has been living. May she find the happiness every day life brings and continue to be born from a cocoon to a butterfly.

You have so touched my heart today by sharing this story. We all carry so many burdens in our hearts and souls, and that you would share this with me, just touches me so.

May the New Year continue to bring such wonderful happiness to our hearts, and continue to guide each of us down the right path, the path of truth and happiness.

I love you sweet Jenny. Country hugs sweetie, and so much love. Sherry

My name is PJ. said...

I didn't have tissues handy; first I used my robe front, then both sleeves.

I feel privileged that you invited us into an intimate part of your life, close up and personal.

If you haven't walked that road, it's not something you can even wrap your head around, but I know what unimaginable pain to that one piece, I can relate.

You are wisdom, hope and strength personified. Those are the three words that come to mind whenever I see your name.

I pray for you and Angie every day.

My robe is all a mess now. Thanks.

Renae said...

That brought tears. But how wonderful to have hope! I will keep praying for you and Angie and your family!

~Kristen~ said...

Oh sweet friend, I had no idea you had gone through so much! You are amazing Mom, Grandma, wife, and friend!!! Sending you many many hugs and prayers for 2010 to be an absolutely fabulous year for you and your family!!!!!!! xoxoxox

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I can only imagine this heartbreak - of watching your child bring herself to deaths door and utter destruction through addiction. I certainly understand your hesitation during her continued recovery -- May God give you all the strength to continue on this journey of healing -- May your new year bring many blessings for your family and your daughter.

Kristen and Sean said...

Beautiful sentiments Jenny and I'm so happy for you AND for Angie. Praying that her progress continues beyond even your wildest dreams!

laterg8r said...

jenny, i am sooooo happy for your miracle - i can't imagine what it has been like for you!

Suz said...

Now I understand the humor

bless you Jenny
truly I will pray for you
and her
and your family

Drama Queen said...

Jenny - what a brutally honest post - and so rare to see that in the blogging world - I appreciate your honesty and your story. You're a true inspiration to others out there - and I am constantly amazed by your strength - and your humor. :)

Have a very blessed New Year - I will be sure to check back in when I return from my mission trip to Jamaica.


Busy Bee Suz said...

Thank you for the warning...but really, I only had ONE tissue and I needed many.
I am so sorry for what you have been through, but I am overjoyed at what MAY happen for your family now.
My husband and I watch the show Intervention. It breaks my heart to see these kids and adults that are raised in proper/good homes and end up addicted to a parent this is so frightening to me. I see you have been through it now...I hope she stays on the right path.
Blessings to you and your family!!
Hugs, Suz

Veronica King: aka Queen Vee said...

I came to visit your blog to thank you for the nice comment you left me, and instead was stunned by your beautiful and powerful blog.

My brother is also struggling with drug addiction, including heroin among other things. He is currently in jail and has written my parents that he's been sober now 60 days, which is the longest since high school. I always doubt. But always hope. Your blog gave me hope. It's good to know that it's possible to find my brother again.

God bless and prayers of praise for you and your family!

Jana said...

I kept reading, tears kept falling, I kept thinking please let there be a good ending...this can't happen to Jenny, not MY blog friend Jenny...not sweet happy silly hilarious Jenny. But I love who you are because of it. Many blessings to you and your family in the new year, and Ill be praying for your dear girl.

Terri and Bob said...

Well, I read this and REJOICED! I knew about the addiction and the heartache and the drama... but she's your kid and I knew she had it in her. When I got her card in the mail, I did my happy dance (which isn't pretty, but makes me smile big). I love that she is doing well now. Take the moment and squeeze it hard! I proud of both of you!

The Lone Dollier said...

Jenny, you are truly an amazing person. It's a blessing to know you. Thank you for following my blog and being a part of my life.

Have a Happy New Year.


Jennifer said...

Happy New Year. I love this post. I am so glad your daughter has found her way.

I will keep your whole family in my prayers for 2010.

Julie Schuler said...

Oh Jenny! What a trial! But what wonderful news, too. Now we will all continue to hope for her, for the best.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just, Wow. I can't imagine living through that. And what an awesome quote.

Tolentreasures said...

What an amazing testimony of faith in action. You are truly an inspiration! I can't imagine the pain that you have felt and through the tears I am running to my Bible to add you and your family to my prayer list.

Best wishes for the New Year!


Leslie said...

What a beautiful story. I hope the happy ending keeps going for your daughter and the heartbreak is truly gone for your family. What an amazing testimony to the power of prayer! So glad to have met you!

Wanda said...

My heart goes out to you Jenny for the pain you must have felt...and the guarded joy you feel now. I wish your daughter great strength.

Hope 2010 has all good things for you and your family.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Wrapping you with gentle hugs...

Your Courage is inspiring.

And I am SO relived to read your words of; "...putting myself into the grave trying to save someone who did not want to be saved served no purpose. No matter how much I loved them." Because I think they clarify the hardest lesson people have to learn, from/with a family member's problems.

And a lesson, so often not learned... -sigh-sigh-sigh-

Gentle hugs....

Melissa Miller said...

Jenny I am truly so sorry to read this about your daughter and for your tremendous pain. I will pray for continued peace and hope for all of you.

Many Blessings for 2010! :)

Anonymous said...

Prayers have been answered, but I'm still continuing to send them your way. I hope 2010 will be the best yet for you, Angie and all of your family!

Lauren said...

i am speechless. ...tissues are absolute.

happy new year...and God bless.

Elle Bee said...

I came over from jana's blog and I'm so glad I did. Thank you for sharing this story of hope.

Melinda Cornish said...

I think I always meet people on the blogs that for some reason, I am supposed to meet..This story Jenny is my story too...every bit of it... I have blogged about it too. Not sure if you know that or not. I spent two years raising my little grandkids because my daughter became a heroin addict..I know all the pain you have felt. Especially the pain of letting go becuase you have to do it or go insane....I have had a miracle this year daughter has been clean and sober since August and the kids are with her now....I didnt think it would ever happen and I was so afraid to hope, but you always do...thanks so much for writing about never know whom it will give hope too...there are a lot of us out there.....I will keep praying for both of our daughters.......

Cassie said...

Those who have never experienced addiction first-hand can never understand the gambit of emotions involved. Thank you for sharing your story...doing so takes raw courage, but shows what a self-less loving person you are, not to mention STRONG! Your family will be in my prayers. I wish you a new year filled with peace, promise, continued hope and faith. God bless you Jenny.
Okay, gotta run...I've messed up my robe too.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

So sorry I haven't been online for a few days and I'm late reading this Jenny. As much as I cried to read about the devastation of what you went through with your daughter I rejoice for you now that she shows improvement! I pray that she will truly be able to beat her addiction forever. Always hang on to hope and prayer. You are the most courageous person I know!

{{{ BIG HUG}}}


Linda said...

I have just found your Blog and reading past posts came to this one. Your courage in writing this eloquent, personal and heartbreaking story is amazing. I found myself feeling your pain, your anguish as you fought to let go of your daughter to save yourself and the wonderful return to your life of this precious child. I pray for her, you and your family. I am now a follower, you have enriched my life and I love your humor in your other posts also!

Linda @ A La Carte

Jane said...

Dear Jenny,
Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your pain, your faith, your hope, and your celebration. You are truly an encouragement to all of us...those of us who have experienced heartache and those of us who have prayed for recovery and restoration...and all those in-between. May this new year bring you and your family unbounded blessings.

Jane (artfully graced)

Yuppies Gone Homesteading said...

God Bless you and your family! May He hold you all tight and carry you through the most trying of times!

Thank you for sharing your story and non of us could possibly judge you!

Addiction is awful and so scary for those who watch our loved ones go through it. You feel powerless and afraid but God is in control. May your day's be filled with Hope of tomorrow, Breath.... and move forward into the future that God has in store for you and your daughter! God Bless

Anonymous said...

Jenny, This is Victoria S. and I just wanted to say, I love you. You are so special. I think of you often even if I don't write or go to the site much. You are one in a million. To LOTS of people.

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

amazing. please always pkw most of us are at work co workers can see the tears......

Sue said...

This is a very late comment, as comments go, but I do have to make it.

Your post touched a nerve, because I have walked that road, and I know the hope and heartache.

My youngest son will be five years sober in July. And he is in the process of applying to medical school.

Miracles do happen. And sometimes, they keep happening. I will be praying for both of our children. And everyone's children...