I went to visit my daughter last night. In the month since I've seen her, she's gained at least ten pounds, no longer looking emaciated and gaunt, her eyes were not dull but sparkling, her skin was glowing rather than blemished, and she was not cursing, but truly happy to see me.
I arrived to sit in the waiting room with a book and no expectations. I didn't want to look into the faces of the other mothers. I tried not to listen while they chit-chatted about this being their first time at family night. I tried to enmesh myself in my book, while they traded stories of new hope for the future.
We were escorted back into a meeting room, already occupied on one side by the clients. I smiled and waved to my daughter and then gave my full attention to the knowledgeable speaker who seemed very committed to her topic. I never turned around while the new parents asked about methadone and suboxone and the importance of changing persons, places, and things. I listened to the Al-Anon speech and how it can help loved ones feel more in control of their lives. I tried not to think about the previous 23 in-patient rehabs, where I had already sat in this same meeting. I remembered that I did feel less alone at the Sunday night Al-Anon meeting I attended and eventually helped run for years. My sweet deceased father came into my head, and I remembered how he drove my daughter to the methadone clinic for six years. I miss him so. As I sat there, I refused to remember the overdoses, watching my child being bound to a hospital bed while doctors administered narcon, and the toll that it took on her body. Nor did I think about the first time she was raped, how I vomited for two weeks after, only to have her tell me that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I tried to forget the empty drawer where my grandmother's silver was kept. I did get my car back after it was stolen, and I no longer have to take my purse into the shower. I have asked her to leave my house and taken her back too many times to count. And throughout these almost two decades, I have become a stronger and better person. I have learned to accept things in the present,without adding expectations in the future. I have learned to find happiness in small things and to feel the love and support of my family and friends. And most importantly, I have discovered and am thankful for a faith that God will watch over my child, and that He has a plan for her.
Tomorrow, my daughter will move to a half-way house. It is the same place where she began injecting heroin many years ago. She asked me about dinner for next week. I will go and hug her and smile.